Amarone is the product of the ancient wine-making method called "appassimento" (drying of the grapes). At the end of September or the beginnning of October, the best clusters of grapes from the hillside vineyards are picked and placed in wooden boxes or on bamboo racks. The grapes are left to dry for 36 to 48 hours in rooms with controlled atmospheres (controlled humidity and forced ventilation) and then in large rooms in the old farmhouses in the hills until about the middle of January. There are large openings or windows to allow the free flow of air which is vital to the drying of the grapes.
By January the grapes weigh 35-40% less and have a naturally enhanced flavour and a higher concentration of sugar. Just the Corvina is attacked by botrytis ("noble rot"). After a delicate pressing and partial destalking of the grapes, they ferment for about 50 days in large Slavonian oak barrels at low, natural temperatures (natural cold fermentation). The wine is racked off its lees, and transferred into barrels of 30-40 hl where the alcoholic fermentation continues for a further 3-4 months, encouraged by selected "Saccaromices Bayanus” yeasts. In the meantime malolactic fermentation also takes place.
Once the wine is completely dry, it is again rached off its lees and then continues its aging for another 20 to 30 months, partly in large oak barrels and partly in small Allier and Slavonian oak barrels of 600 litres (maximum 3 years old). The wine is then filtered, bottled and aged in bottle for an additional 6 months or more before release.
Wine & Spirits(2007 Vintage) The entry-level 2005 Amarone Classico della Valpolicella Costasera is made in a fairly straightforward, fresh style, with perfumed bright red fruit supported by silky tannins. This harmonious red offers excellent depth and lovely balance. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2015. Masi is one of Veneto-s most historic houses. I was pleasantly surprised by this string set of wines, which far outpaces last year-s offerings.