The region of Valpolicello has been making wines since before roman times the name translates as “the valley of many cellars”.
The Romans developed a wine making process known as appassimento, for making sweet wines. The grapes were harvested and allowed to dry in the sun on straw mats. This turned the grapes almost into raisins, you lose the water but have a super concentration of sugar. The raisined grapes are then fermented and the yeasts would die off before all the sugar had been completely fermented leaving a sweet wine. Modern winemakers still follow these principles drying the grapes in lofts on trays and stopping the fermentation process manually.
Amarone goes through a similar process. Legend has it, that Amarone was discovered when a long forgotten winemaker was making Recioto, but forgot about a particular barrel. Instead of stopping the fermentation to keep the wine sweet. It kept going, until all the sugar was turned into alcohol. The resulting wine was very drinkable and was named Amarone “big bitter”.
Recoito is made less and less in the region as wine makers find it difficult to make, and it requires the best grapes from the best vintages and people don’t ask for it. So, the wine is becoming rarer and rarer, if you have a chance to taste a good one then grab it while you can. They will age well for up to 20 years.
The wine is splendid with pastries and cherry-based desserts, also if you love chocolate (especially bitter chocolate) you have to try it with Recoito. Or as Silvio Erbice says from Villa Erbice "it a great style of wine to sip and mediate about the passing day".