Recioto Della Valpolicella is a sweet, unfortified wine DOC that was so named because only the ripest ‘ears’ (‘rece’ is Italian slang for ears ‘orecchie’) of each bunch of grapes were selected to make the wine.
Recioto is made using the same ‘appassimento’ process as Amarone but the fruit is left to dry for an extra month, thus necessitating the selection at harvest of only the very best bunches.
Once pressed, after at least 1st January following the harvest, the juice’s fermentation is arrested prematurely to capture the fresh, sweet primary fruit characters. The resulting wine is massively rich in dry extract and high in residual sugar but has a relatively modest alcohol level of around 12%.
The wine is then typically matured for 12 months in small French barriques. Recioto della Valpolicella wine should be medium-bodied with a beautiful, crushed velvet texture and a palate brimming with vivid, seductive black fruit and chocolate. Not surprisingly, only tiny quantities are made each year – a mere 2% of Amarone.