Appassimento is the ancient Italian method of incorporating dehydrated grapes into the production of wine. The method has been passed down for centuries in Valpolicella, the premier grape-growing region near the city of Verona. Appassimento wines are direct descendants from the wines of the Middle Ages and the technique gives rise to rich, complex, and boldly structured wines unlike any other.
A time and labor intensive process, Appassimento requires rigorous and attentive selection of the best grape clusters. At Raffaldini Vineyards, clusters are gently positioned on custom-made drying racks that encourage airflow around each grape. The fully loaded racks are placed in a special drying facility known as a Fruttaio. Our two temperature and humidity controlled Fruttaios house the grapes until the desired level of dehydration is achieved. Typically anywhere from 20% to 30% of their original water weight is lost. This decrease in weight proportionately reduces the amount of wine produced.
Why dry the grapes and sacrifice production size? As the grapes lose water, their color, flavor, and aroma compounds are concentrated to levels rarely seen in fresh fruit. The resulting wine is typically bold with rich color, complex aromatics, long lasting finishes, and higher levels of alcohol. Appassimento also facilitates
tannin polymerization which gives the resulting wine a velvety texture and the potential for extended aging with proper cellaring. These are wines that transcend normal expectations and deserve the title vino di meditazione.
Raffaldini is the foremost practitioner of the Appassimento drying process in the United States and continues to dry more fruit than any vineyard in the country. As we further develop the use of this ancient technique, we are able to refine the drying process to be more specific to the grape varietal and now dry all of our grapes, including our whites.
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