The name of this structured Veronese red wine comes from the word “amaro”, meaning bitter, a word that immediately distinguishes it by contrast from the sweet Recioto della Valpolicella that it mistakenly arose from.
It was 1936 when Adelino Lucchese, the cellar manager of Cantina Sociale Valpolicella Negrar, noticed a barrel of Recioto that had been forgotten. The Recioto had by then “scapà” (escaped) and had become dry. A serious mistake, given that historically Recioto was (and is) a prestigious sweet wine! All the same, before dismissing it as a loss, Adelino wanted it to be tasted by Gaetano Dall’Ora, the current president of the cooperative that had been founded in 1933. Gaetano brought the glass of this unknown wine to his nose and immediately tasted it. The discovery was surprising. Genially inspired and inebriated by so many aromas and flavours, the president exclaimed: “This is not an amaro, it’s an amarone!” (amaro means bitter in Italian).
What had happened? In essence, the Recioto had been put in barrels and then forgotten and not decanted, so it continued to ferment until it became dry. The sugars had all turned into alcohol and had caused the wine to lose its sweetness, giving rise to a wine with complex and fascinating aromas, but with a dry taste, just the opposite of the sweet Recioto. Amarone, precisely.
A king had been born.