Zanotti's Amarone is MADE WITH HEART!!
Everyday looking for something new and interesting is good for inspiration. Never imagined that I could have chance to participate in grape harvest!!! And unexpectedly, I did it at a wonderland, Valpolicella! This beautiful place is one of the important winemaking region at Northern Italy. The famous Amarone red wine is made at this area!!
One day of the end of September, I was invited by Mr. Zanotti, to visit their vineyards and experience the grape harvest. To be honest, I was so excited for this journey! Their vineyards are located at the area of Classical Valpolicella region. Their winery is family-run since 1860, for four generations already! That day was a super sunny day, I met Mr. Zanotti Diego, the director of the winery, at one of their beautiful vineyard. He was wearing a friendly smile and brought us to have a walk along the vineyards, showed us different types of grapes and explained to us the harvest process with some little secrets.
What I felt most excited was, I had opportunity to cut some bunches of grapes by my hands!!! After the explanation of Mr. Zanotti, I held the bottom part of a bunch of grapes, and I cut it, with my shivery hands. It seems not difficult to do. But, actually, the grape harvesting is not such simple, experiences are always needed to apply to every single step, to decide how to do it well. The grapes are harvested only by hand, with the decisive mind and all of the following wine-making steps are also doing manually.
After a week, I went to their winery to discover more about Amarone, and to taste it!! Zanotti winery is located at hilltop of Valpolicella, surrounded with great panoramic views. It would be the best way to taste Amarone in front of such beautiful scenery. I was sitting at the dinning area of the Zanotti winery, with a glass of ruby red, charming Amarone in my hand, listening how they make it. Their Amarone is so aromatic and well-balanced. Mrs. Zanotti also prepared us some slices of cheese, prosciutto and bread, which were the best matches with tasting wine. They told me a little funny story that surprised me a lot! Amarone was invented 70 years ago because a winemaker have done something wrong when making the sweet wine Recioto! The fermentation of a barrel of Recioto was overdone and unexpectedly, all the sugar inside was converted into alcohol. So, the wine was no longer sweet, but slightly bitter, stronger and more alcoholic . They called it Amarone, in Italian it means " big bitter". Nowadays, this full-bodies red wine, which was invented from a mistake, dramatically becomes well-known wine throughout the world.
Mr. Zanotti dedicates a big part of his life on winemaking. Talking with him was just like reading a book with full of wine knowledge. From his words, you could feel that how passionate he is! He is always trying his best to do everything perfect for his wines. He loves to share his precious knowledge and experience to everyone. Recently, he is planning to organise some guided-tour and wine-tasting events for the public guests. Probably it will be started in the nearest future, would you wanna be one of their guests?
Exploring is a way of life! Don't forget to keep exploring, keep learning, and keep growing! Cin Cin (cheers), everyone!