Thank you, again, to Darla Hoffmann, guildsomm user, and Peter Plaehn for your responses in consecutive weeks! Last week we great information covering Slope Influence, tune in if you missed out!
This week: Appassimento
What is appassimento? What are some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of the process?
Appassimento is the process of drying grapes, in order to concentrate sugar and extract, before fermentation. The drying period typically lasts several months, and can be done in special lofts (fruttai) with traditional wooden or bamboo boxes, or modern temperature-controlled facilities. The dried grapes can then be fermented to dryness or near-dryness (e.g., Amarone della Valpolicella), or with more sweetness and residual sugar remaining for dessert wines (e.g., Recioto della Valpolicella, Passito di Pantelleria). The resulting passito wines have complex dried fruit flavors, additional alcoholic warmth, and a round glycolic mouthfeel. Fermenting dried grapes with concentrated sugars can result in a very high-alcohol wine. Bunches must be carefully selected during harvest, ideally taking those that are loosely packed so that air can circulate freely around them during the drying period.