Appassimento and Ripasso – two related techniques

In these autumn days, our Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes are drying in the “fruttaio” (drying facility) of Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella.

It is a very important and delicate period for our company because these grapes will go on to become our most beloved (and award-winning!) wines – Amarone and Ripasso di Valpolicella DOC.

But what is the connection between the “appassimento” (drying) and “ripasso” techniques? Let’s see:

Appassimento: The ancient and artisanal drying technique that involves placing the best grapes to rest on racks or crates before they are pressed. In the following months (90 to 120 days), the grapes dehydrate and the sugars, aromas and polyphenols that characterize our famous Amarone concentrate in each single grape.

Ripasso: A technique that entails a double fermentation. The first fermentation turns the must into basic Valpolicella.  The second fermentation is triggered off by adding the skins left over from the Amarone production (but still rich of tannins, anthocyanins and polyphenols) to this basic wine. Valpolicella is therefore “ripassato”on Amarone skins, where it remains for around 15 – 20 days.

The results of these two wine-making techniques are two “related” yet different wines – Amarone, which ages for a minimum of 2 years in oak barrels becoming a complex wine, with a full body and a structure that expresses its full potential when sipped in meditative moments and paired with mature cheeses or braised meat. Ripasso, after ageing for a minimum of 6 months in oak barrels, becomes a wine with a good structure and aromatic complexity that needs to be paired with food of a certain character and a strong flavour. It also boasts a certain acidic consistency that makes it perfect for fatty dishes, as the acidity counterbalances the sweetish flavour typical of fat meats, for example. The ideal pairing is with red meat, especially grilled meat.

Have we sparked your curiosity?

Then it’s time to try our most representative DOC wines from Verona:

La Bastìa – Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG

Monterè – Valpolicella Ripasso DOP Superiore