Don’t worry you haven’t been transported back to the desolate Yorkshire moors nor will Kate Bush be leaping out of the screen to lament Heathcliff…for it is ‘Withering’ not ‘Wuthering’ heights we are to speak of.
Most recently at Crush HQ we have noticed an exciting resurgence in the popularity of wine styles utilising the Appassimento technique. We are particularly thrilled by this because we have recently added to our fantastic Gorilla range with an Appassimento style red called ‘Reservation’, but for those of you new to hear of this technique let me explain a bit further…
Traditionally this technique has been most notably used by the fabulous winemakers in the Veneto and is most commonly associated with Valpolicella Ripasso or the revered Amarone. The process itself involves harvesting the ripe grapes during the first half of October and then laying the bunches to dry. Traditionally on straw mats or bamboo racks called ‘Arele’, these days romance has given way to practicality and most wineries use plastic crates ‘cassette’.
The length of time the grapes are left to dry is totally dependent on each producer by is often around 120 days – so not a quick process! As the grapes dry and shrivel the remaining sugars and flavour within the grapes becomes exceptionally concentrated and once crushed and fermented the resulting wine is deep, dark and brooding. Styles of wine produced in this way range from the the dry, full bodied styles of Amarone that bring game and meat dishes alive through to the sweet Recioto wines ideal to pair with blue cheese and desserts.
Other cool climates, such as Canada, have also adopted this technique as a way of improve both wine quality and increasing capacity to overcome erratic weather challenges. If you can get to the ICCWS on the 28th May Dr Debbie Inglis from Brock University, Canada, will be discussing the benefits of Appassimento technique.
Oh and if you were wondering ‘Appassimento’ literally translates as ‘withering’ – see what we did with the title?
Gorilla Reservation is made from hand selected grapes grown just outside of Salento and takes full advantage of the intense heat of Southern Italy to ensure the concentration of flavours is at it’s maximum. Without being overtly heavy this wine would make an exceptional accompaniment to the grilled and roasted red meats over the BBQ months as well as a warming accompaniment well into winter…