- THE PRODUCTION of wine
The grape harvest
Grape harvesting begins after mid-September but may vary depending on the vintage. All grapes are harvested by hand, both those that will go into the drying process for the production of Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella wines and those harvested in canvas destined for the production of Valpolicella and Valpolicella Superiore.
The drying process
The grapes destined for the production of Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella are set aside in the fruttaio, that is, they undergo the drying process. In ancient times this was the attic of the winery or the barn of the house, today it is usually a well-ventilated room of the cellar, where it is possible to monitor the progress of the process by keeping temperature and humidity under control, so as to avert in the bud any attacks of gray mold (Botrytis cinerea). The grapes stay in the fruit cellar for a period of 100 to 120 days, during which they lose water and weight in a decidedly conspicuous way. In compensation, however, sugars and extracts are concentrated inside the berries. Among the many bio-chemical phenomena that occur during the withering process, we like to mention one in particular: the concentration of resveratrol, a substance naturally present in many plants, which is recognized as having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and which is well present in Valpolicella withering wines. In fact, according to some research, its maximum concentration occurs right around the fiftieth day of resting of the grapes.
The winemaking methodology is the same for both fresh and dried grapes. After destemming and crushing, the must enters the maceration stage, one of the salient phases of winemaking. It is during this stage that color and all polyphenolic compounds are extracted, which depends on the techniques adopted: pumping over, dèlestage, contact time. Fermentation lasts about a month and like all operations takes place under constant temperature control. Pressing is soft, so that only the richest part is extracted from each berry. Vinification is the result of a happy balance between tradition and innovation where grapes are vinified in a way that enhances the varietal characteristics of each.
The Ripasso Method
Ripasso is a wine that is made by a special oenological method. This method consists of pouring Valpolicella over the residual marc from the vinification of Amarone or Recioto. Becoming wine and marc remain in contact for about ten days during which a second alcoholic fermentation takes place
A fresh wine such as Valpolicella Fralibri is fermented in steel fermenters and aged in bottles. Our other, more complex wines, after fermentation are aged in 25 hl oak barrels for a longer or shorter period depending on the wine. This period of maturation plays a fundamental role for our long lasting important wines because there is micro-oxygenation with the stabilization of color and evolution of the aromatic component. A long period of aging embellishes Amarone Piovesole and makes it pleasantly polished. Refinement ends in the bottle: at least 9 months are needed to complete the formation of the bouquet.