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“Hi Karen, I was in northern Italy recently and I heard the word “appasimento” several times. What does it mean exactly?”—Sarah K. (Albany, NY)

Hi, Sarah. Appassimento is the Italian word for the process of dehydrating harvested grapes by spreading out the clusters on straw mats or shelving or hanging them up in special, cool drying rooms. The process, which can take several months, raisinates the grapes and concentrates the sugars in them. Several notable wines of Italy’s Veneto region are made this way, including the dry wine amarone and the sweet wine recioto di Valpolicella.

—Karen

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