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AMARONE, whose full name is Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone, is the Veneto's big red, its proudest wine.
A "dry cousin" of Verona's equally delectable Recioto, a glorios dessert wine that appears at the closing of most veronese feast, Amarone owes its distinct character to late-picked, loft-dried grapes. The name Recioto itself is derived from the dialect 'recia' (ear), since the wine was traditionally made from grapes which were most exposed to the sun and looked like a little ear.
Amarone is unique. The grapes to make it are absolutely indigenous and really taste of the soil on which they grow. It's a wine that can't be made elsewhere, unlike Cabernet and Chardonnay, which do well pretty much anywhere. Three grape varieties are used in the vinification of Amarone: Corvina, the Veneto's best grape, make up the bulk of the wine, with Rondinella and Molinara.
The grapes are picked when they are ripe and sweet, then spread out on racks where they dry, intensifying sweetness and depth in character. It is essentials that the drying process, whick take at least five months, is carried out in well-ventilated rooms, to avoid the formation of harmful mold. The calcareous soil of the Valpolicella area, is not an easy one in some spots, it's hard to grow grapes on, but the grapes that grow there are some of the best of Italy. If you know how to turn them into wine, the wine are splendid as is the color of Amarone. To make a truly superior bottle of Amarone are necessary eleven kilos (twenty-three pounds) of grapes. To compare, the Valpolicella is made with one kilo (two and pounds) of grapes. Once Amarone is bottled, it can be aged for up to fifteen years, and it really holds up beautifully. Alcool content: 12%.
Ideal temperature: Serve Amarone at 68 F.
Amarone pairing food: game, fowl, roasts, hearty meats with dried fruits and aged cheeses.

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