The local grape varieties of Valpolicella are very suitable for drying. Corvina grape, in particular, can dry very slowly, thanks to its thick skin that gradually regulates water evaporation. A slow dehydration of the berries is crucial to produce the physic and biochemical transformation that develops the polyphenolic content (the polyphenols are natural antioxidants) and enhance the aromatic potential of the grapes. One could practically thinks of berries like they were tiny barrels, in which a slow transformation process has already started.
After about a hundred days of this “berry evolution”, the bunches are destemmed and pressed.
The complexity of aromas of our Amarone will derive not only from the hard work in the vineyards, but also from the slow drying process and from a slow fermentation. After the pressing, the grapes start the fermentation in contact with all of the skins, in order to extract the aromas, in a very patient way. And here comes the slowness again.
This process lasts from thirty to sixty days, at low temperatures, so that all the sugar of the grapes can turn into alcohol.
During the fermentation, the gas produced by the yeasts push the skins towards the surface, thus creating a “cap”. In order to let the must extract all the aromas from the skins, it is necessary to use the “pumping over”, which means to push them down again by pumping some wine from underneath upon them. This procedure is patiently repeated every day or every two days.
After the fermentation is finished, we wait for a few days so that the new wine can “rest” in contact with the skins and then we “rack off”, which means to take the wine off the vat, leaving the skins in. These skins will be soon used to produce our Valpolicella Ripasso wine.