Amarone

Amarone della Valpolicalla, most commonly known as Amarone, is a rich Italian dry red wine made from partially dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara varietals. The name, Amarone, in Italian literally means "The Great Bitter" distinguishing it from the Recioto produced in the same region which is sweeter in taste. 

Amarone is made by harvesting ripe grapes in the first two weeks of October, carefully choosing bunches having fruits not too close to each other to provide air flow, and allowing the grapes to dry, traditionally on straw mats, a process that is called appasimento or rasinate (to dry and shrivel, in Italian), which concentrates the remaining sugars. Modern Amarone is now produced in special drying chambers under controlled conditions which minimizes the amount of handling of the grapes for, with Amarone, the quality of the grape skin is a primary concern as that component impacts the tannins, color and intensity of flavor of the wine. The length of the drying process, typically 120 days, causes substantial reduction in the weight of the three varietals. Following drying in early winter, the grapes are crushed and go through a dry low-temperature fermentation process for 30-50 days, at the end of which the wine is then aged in barriques made from either French, Slovenian or Slavonian oak. 

Two variations of Amarone: (1) If the fermentation process is stopped early, the resulting wine will contain residual sugar and produce a sweeter wine known as Recioto della Valpolicalla, which can also be used to produce sparkling wine. (2) Ripasso is an Italian wine produced when partially-aged Valpolicella is placed into contact with the lees of the Amarone, including the unpressed grape skins, and, since the lees still contain a good deal of sugar, the Valpolicella undergoes a second fermentation, resulting in wine that is more tannic, deeper in color and containing higher levels of alcohol. 

The end result of the tedious process produces an Amarone that is a very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with very little acid and an alcohol content easily surpassing 15%. Amarone is rarely released until five years after the vintage. Wwhether consumed young or old, however, this wine requires breathing to allow the complex flavors to open up; thus, it is best to decant an Amarone at least an hour before serving. 
Amarone pairs well with very flavorful Italian dishes that can match its power, such as braised red meats like osso busso and beef bourguignon, and rich red wine sauces. Do not match Amarone with most seafood, light meats such as chicken or pork, and citrus or cream sauces.
Cheeses that go well with Amarone include Gorgonzola, Lancashire, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Roquefort, Shropshire and Stilton.