Dried Grapes Seminar: Amarone and Beyond

Annette Scarfe MW

On the evening of 8 March 2017 MWs and students assembled for the first seminar in the new IMW headquarters.

The room was packed with standing room only for the helpers! We were honoured to have two specialist speakers on the panel, Andrea Cin from Masi and Mark Shannon from A Mano.

The seminar ‘Amarone and Beyond’ was a technical presentation and tasting covering factors which influence the appassimento technique, and an understanding of the kinetics of appassimento. It was fascinating to learn and understand how not only grape variety, but also the architecture of the canopy, viticultural operations and fertilisation have a key role to play. The characteristics of each specific grape variety were also explained. Andrea explained the detailed Masi research that has been performed over many years. Different grape varieties have been laid out in a controlled situation to study the kinetics of weight loss. He explained that the speed of appassimento was critical in determining the suitability of grapes for appassimento.

Andrea also shared Masi’s research on the ‘supports’ for appassimento including the impact of bamboo, plastic, wood and other supports. Climatic conditions and relative humidity were also discussed. In conclusion appassimento means, above all, studying the physical laws and biochemistry behind it!! We were privileged to have had an insight into years of study! Andrea then went on to explain why Masi had chosen both Friuli with Refosco and Argentina with Corvina to produce appassimento style wines. 

The tasting commenced with the fresh wines of Amarone and these were compared to the same varieties appassimento. Blends of both fresh and dried grapes were sampled along with finished wines with differing levels of appasimento. Additionally we tasted Refosco and Corbec (a blend of Corvina and Malbec) produced in Argentina.

Mark then stepped into the forum to explain why he uses appassimento in Puglia, and gave a detailed analysis on the glycerol and volatile acidity levels with fresh versus dried grapes.

The seminar ended too quickly and I think many of us would have stayed for further questions and explanations!

Thank you to our speakers, Events Officer Chloe Thompson and the IMW team.

Annette Scarfe MW