Before discussing the possibilities of food and wine pairing in Valpolicella, and in particular Amarone, it is worthwhile to review some of the principles related to food and wine pairing. As mentioned in the article "Which Italian wine for which dish?", one of the points is to choose the wine that will be able to sublimate the dish without erasing it and vice versa, in short to find the balance. A very important notion is also the composition of the dish; the garnish, the cooking and especially the sauce that plays the role of binder between the dish and the wine. To be sure to create a beautiful match that will amaze your guests, let's first review what Amarone wines are in order to understand where their particular taste comes from and thus choose the appropriate dish.

Where does Amarone come from and what makes it special?

Amarone is a wine produced in the Veneto region, precisely in Valpolicella. Located east of Lake Garda, Valpolicella is one of the most famous wine regions in Italy, especially for its Amarone wines. Even if historically this wine is not the oldest wine produced, it is thanks to its fame that the region is now known worldwide. Born from a forgotten barrel of Recioto, the other flagship wine of the region; its name comes from "amaro", which means bitter. A wine called Recioto is a sweet wine whose fermentation has been stopped to keep residual sugar in the wine. Amarone wines, on the other hand, have a different process that gives them power and sweetness. They are produced from the Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes. When the grapes are harvested, they are put to dry in cool and airy places so that the grapes concentrate in sugar, this is called concentration by desiccation. Then the winemakers proceed to the fermentations. This drying step allows to obtain more concentrated wines, with an additional aromatic complexity. Their alcohol potential becomes higher. These wines are renowned throughout the Italian peninsula and age well.

What to eat with an Amarone wine?

When you open a bottle of Amarone, you need to match this often dense-textured wine with a dish that can compete on texture and aromatics. To an Amarone Classico from Bolla, choose a meat of character like a duck breast, roasted on the skin. A nice pairing is a hare à la royale, red wine sauce, chocolate. Choose an Amarone from Zenato and in particular the Riserva vintage. A powerful wine, whose structure and complexity will resonate with the rich and creamy dish. One time of the year is also very suitable for this type of wine, the hunting season. If you have an Amarone "Ca'Coato" from Antolini in your cellar, open it several hours in advance. On the cooking side, a roasted saddle of venison with roasted prunes and Jerusalem artichokes in a reduced red wine sauce. This wine, which develops aromas of black fruits, tobacco and licorice, is powerful and complex. It requires a dish with consistency but also unctuousness.

What Italian dish to serve with an Amarone wine?

As in all other regions of Italy, the gastronomy is as rich as the vineyards in Veneto. A classic pairing if you ever visit the region and stop in Verona is risotto with Amarone. This is a risotto made with a specific variety of rice from the region, the "Vialone Nano" which is grown in the surrounding rice fields. This risotto is simply washed down with Amarone before being served at the table. Another typical dish of the region is the "pastisada de caval". This is horse meat marinated in red wine with onions, carrots and herbs. The meat is then cooked for up to three days. The result is a meat that melts in the mouth, rich in flavor, and is traditionally accompanied by potato gnocchi. The regional agreement is still a sure value in gastronomy and these two dishes, rich in taste, are no exception. The consistency and creaminess of these preparations will be a wise choice to accompany this type of wine.

Which cheese to choose to accompany an Amarone wine?

With a wine full of character, you need a cheese that has just as much character. With a multitude of cheeses around the world, we have a choice. An Amarone is often a wine with aromatic power, a smooth texture and dense mouthfeel. To accompany it, a gorgonzola piccante will make a nice combination. The creamy texture of the cheese coupled with its powerful taste will resonate with the smoothness of the Amarone. Blue-veined pasta such as English stilton, Swiss St. Gallen blue cheese and French Roquefort cheese also pair well.

You now know a little more about these wines and the gastronomy that can accompany them. Never lose sight of the fact that the notion of pleasure remains the most important element. So, please yourself first.

Find all our other articles on Amarone:

What are the best Amarone wines? explains it all!
How is Amarone produced? explains it all!
Our tips for aging Amarone wines