A group of us had a couple of bottles of Capitel de’ Roari one night during dinner at the old Arriva Ristorante in Warren, Michigan. The dinner was a classic spread of Italian dishes, from an antipasto salad and ending with tiramisu and canolis.
While the dinner was great, I want to discuss the wine. It is an Amarone della Valpolicella. Valpolicella is probably the second most popular wine in Italy and is found in abundance in America as well. It comes from an area near Verona. Valpolicella is known as a fresh medium body wine with a dry aftertaste. It is similar to the Bardolino wines also from the same area, but those wines are more delicate and paler than the Valpolicella.
The Amarone designation is for a unique wine making technique from this area. Select groups of grapes are laid out on tables to dry in the sun, until they become “raisiny.” This creates a wine that has much more nuance and character than the typical Valpolicella wine. Some wineries and blenders are known to let the wines mature in casks for up to five years before bottling. When the wine is ready if it ends up with its natural sweetness then wine is called Recioto Amabile and turned into a sparkling wine. If the resulting wine ferments into a dry wine it becomes a Recioto Amarone.
This process takes longer to produce, but I have never been disappointed with any Amarone wine that I have tried. If you try some, make sure that you tell your friends while you are enjoying the wine, the process that evolves. You will be held in awe for the moment as they take a second taste of the wine to discern some tastes that they may have missed the first time.