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Amarone has an image problem, says leading producer

Published:  03 October, 2022

The Amarone della Valpolicella category needs to embrace change and restore its former global cachet, according to Stefano Cesari, owner of Brigaldara winery in the Veneto region.

Speaking at a tasting of Brigaldara's excellent portfolio of wines in September, Cesari told Harpers that “Amarone is one of the great wines of northern Italy, but its image as an alcoholic monolith has undoubtedly damaged the wine's international reputation.”

He continued: “Consumers are chasing fresher, lighter wine styles – they may feel that they need 'help' to finish a bottle of Amarone. In addition, annual production of Amarone has increased too quickly over the years. Unfortunately, the Consorzio prioritises the needs of the major producers.”

However, Cesari added that Valpolicella Ripasso – a lighter variation on Amarone – was selling very well in key markets. “The only problem is that for every bottle of Ripasso sold, we inadvertently dent sales of Amarone,” he said.

Amarone della Valpolicella is made by fermenting the sugar-rich juice of dried (passito) red grapes. Permitted grape varieties include Corvina, Rondinella and Corvinone.

The tasting of Brigaldara's range showcased the incredible depth and concentration of top-flight Amarone.

However, with Brigaldara's Amarone della Valpolicella Classico label coming in at 16.5% abv, there is no doubt that some consumers may find the alcohol off-putting, despite the inherent balance of the wine.