Appassimento: Dried grapes, fresh flavour

Few will think of delicious wine when faced with juiceless, wrinkly grapes. But tasting a single glass will reveal that wine from dried grapes really does have its merits. The CADIS 1898 vineyard in Veneto specialises in the Appassimento style – more specifically the variant Leggermente Appassito.

Dried green grapes
Italian vineyards

What's it all about?

  • Appassimento: Wine from dried grapes
  • Leggermente Appassito: A clever variation
  • Best example: VOLERE, Wine of the Year 2024
 
White wine glass against the sun

The Italian word ‘appassire’ means ‘to wither’ or ‘to dry out’. And this precisely is the basic principle. After the harvest, winemakers dry their grapes on special racks in storerooms or in the open air. For a classic Appassimento, the process takes several months and is followed by fermentation and maturing in steel or wooden barrels.

And the result? The sugar content and aromas in the grapes become concentrated when the water evaporates. This creates full-bodied wines with unique flavour profiles and an intense bouquet. The best-known examples of this process are Recioto and – the ‘King of the Appassimento style’ – Amarone.

Italian tradition – international trend

Appassimento has a long history: even the Ancient Romans produced wine from raisin-like grapes. Its origin is in Veneto, more particularly the Valpolicella region. ‘These days, Appassimento is fashionable again so there are many attempts to copy the style,’ says Luca Sabatini, Export Director at the CADIS 1898 winery in Veneto. ‘But the original comes from our region.’

Since the end of the 1990s, CADIS 1898 has invested heavily in the manufacturing process. ‘Today, we are leaders in the region – with a potential for 5,000 tonnes of grapes that we select each year for the drying process,’ explains Sabatini. For VOLERE, the METRO Wine of the Year 2024, the winery uses a variation of the classic Appassimento style: Leggermente Appassito, a gentle drying.

 

Fresh and fruity innovation

In contrast to a typical Appassimento, the grapes for Leggermente Appassito are dried for just thirty days, rather than the usual ninety. This process enables the concentration of aromas, preserving superior freshness and fruitiness compared to extended drying periods. ‘The wines are perfectly balanced, elegant and complex,’ says Sabatini. ‘They also exhibit remarkable versatility, serving as an ideal accompaniment to a fine dining experience – suitable for dishes ranging from pasta to fish.’

‘VOLERE not only delights the palate but also offers excellent value for money,’ as affirmed by the wine expert from CADIS 1898. Furthermore, VOLERE stands out as a champion in terms of sustainability: ‘To dry the grapes, we don’t need any energy for heating or ventilation – just air, time and care.’ The team from CADIS 1898 has all sorts of plans: ‘Previously, dried grapes were predominantly associated with red wine. However, our aim is to make this style more popular for white wine, highlighting the capabilities of Leggermente Appassito in crafting unique wines.’

 

Wine of the Year 2024:  VOLERE

Vibrant colours, intense bouquet, fruity aromas: CADIS 1898 produces red and white VOLERE in the Leggermente Appassito style with the best grape varieties from Veneto, Corvina or Garganega. VOLERE Rosé is made from fresh Corvina and Merlot grapes. All three offer enchanting flavours. Red VOLERE will charm you with its fragrant nuances of ripe cherry and dark berry jam, accompanied by a subtle piquancy and liquorice. White VOLERE will delight your taste buds with striking notes of tropical fruits and ripe peach, in a bouquet of freshly picked roses. VOLERE Rosé is also reminiscent of this aroma and sets itself apart with a lingering finale filled with lightness. There’s no denying that these are an innovative trio for any wine list.

Volere Veneto Red wine

 

VOLERE RED WINE IGT CORVINA VENETO

Flavour notes: With fragrant notes of ripe cherries and dark berry preserves, accompanied by gentle nuances of spice and liquorice.

Volere Veneto White wine

 

VOLERE WHITE WINE IGT GARGANEGA VENETO

Flavour notes: Extremely fragrant notes of tropical fruits and ripe peaches, like a bouquet of freshly picked roses

Volere Veneto Rosé Wine

 

VOLERE ROSÉ IGT MERLOT CORVINA VENETO

Flavour notes: Light body and a lingering finish. The fresh impressions of a bouquet of freshly picked roses.

Research project:  An alternative to ice wine?

Ice wine is produced from frozen grapes. But there’s a problem. Climate change has led to decreasing frequency of the freezing temperatures needed to make ice wine. As an alternative to ice wine, researchers in Bavaria are testing wine made from dried grapes, and initial attempts look very promising. The wines produced in this way are fruity and exotic, and – thanks to their quality and golden colouring – have been given the Latin name for gold: ‘Aurum’.

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