Like so many of the world’s greatest innovations, Amarone’s creation was a fortunate accident rather than a precise experiment. For hundreds of years, Recioto was (and still is) produced in the Veneto region, a wine similar to Amarone but with residual sugar, making for a sweeter style. At the turn of the 20th century, producers began to fully ferment their Recioto to create a more powerful, complex wine that has ultimately become the treasured Amarone style of winemaking for the region. In recognition of its importance in the wine world, Amarone was granted DOC status in 1968, and starting with the 2010 vintage is now officially a DOCG region and wine!
The traditional grapes farmed are the Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Molinara. The grapes are harvested fully ripe but just a touch on the early side to retain acidity and substantially increase aging potential. Once harvested, the best traditional producers place their grapes on straw mats for over 100 days where the grapes lose over 50% of their water weight and drastically concentrate their sugars. The grapes are inspected and flipped daily (by hand) to avoid rot and mildew issues. After two years of barrel maturation, the wine is refined a minimum of 6 months in the bottle prior to release.
The Benedetti family has a proud Veneto wine heritage dating back to 1862. Their property lies just east of San Ambrogio where Valpolicella Classico’s famed steep-sloped vineyards lie at an average of 600 feet above sea level. The family’s original holdings are 22 pristine acres with an average vine age of 40 years old. They have always focused on making limited, small-production wines and have historically sold their fruit to such famed producers as Masi, Allegrini, and Zenato. They only employ traditional methods of production, from a complete hand harvest and sorting to the manual flipping of bunches on a daily basis for over 100 days. After fermentation, the wine spends 24 months in small French oak barrels. A true labor of love, it takes a whopping 23 pounds of fruit to make just one fantastic bottle of their Amarone!