“Amarone is becoming fantastically popular (and cheap). Is it a problem?”

In a recent article on his BKWine Magazine, our good friend Per Karlsson deals the interesting question of cheaper Amarone della Valpolicella (mainly) in the Swedish market.

The point is that, due to the appassimento or ripasso technique (two different techniques that a #winelover has to learn to distinguish), almost any red wine can become sexier: velvety, sweeter sometimes, much more structured, fruity, powerful etc. In a word, more exciting. The perfect wine to impress everybody, don’t you agree? I mean, everybody who never tasted an authentic Amarone della Valpolicella before… because if you know this kind of wine, you also know that the technique is just a part of its success - this is not the moment to discuss also about this, though. 

Drying Valpolicella grapes - photo courtesy of Claudio Oliboni

Drying Valpolicella grapes - photo courtesy of Claudio Oliboni

Per Karlsson’s comment is quite appropriate, and we do agree with him perfectly. It’s a matter of producers’ choice: if they decide to make cheaper wines with appassimento technique in order to sell more bottles, if they like to focus on quantity (instead on quality), if they say that “more is better”, who are we to deprecate them? Of course, and from a very personal point of view, we strongly disagree with this kind of choice, because we do know that an authentic Amarone della Valpolicella (if it's made by an artisanal producer) cannot be cheap: it’s expensive to produce a really good Amarone della Valpolicella, there are costs of production that you cannot compress beyond a certain limit. You can do some cheaper choice, but the most important “ingredient” - the grape - must be the best you can have every year,  and to producing and drying it in the best conditions, you have to spend money in agriculture, technologies (in your winery), and in time for aging the wine adequately (and also time is money!).

We are pretty sure about a thing: those cheaper Amarone or Ripasso della Valpolicella - often good value for money - cannot be from small, artisanal wineries, but only from big brands, bottling companies, or cooperatives. The costs of producing those wines in fact are so high for a small winery, that it cannot sell its bottles at the price required by the monopoly of Sweden.

Am I saying then that those wines in the Sweden market are not good? Not at all! They are good for the price they cost  (well, so I hope...) . Again, it's a matter of choice...  and also of personal, economic availability.

Thus, no, maybe it’s not a problem if the cheaper Amarone della Valpolicella are coming on the markets.

Not yet, at least - on tomorrow, who knows? 

Consumer’s taste is changing so fast…