“Hi Karen, how is recioto di Valpolicella made?” —Andrew M. (Anchorage, Alaska)

Andrew, the sweet red wine recioto di Valpolicella is made using the appassimento method where the grape sugars are concentrated before the regular winemaking process. To do this, grapes are left for months to dry and raisinate, usually on mats or shelving in cool, dry lofts. The word recioto comes from “recie” in the Venetian dialect, meaning ears—a reference to the little lobes or “ears” on a grape cluster that usually get very ripe because they are the most exposed to the sun. When you see “recioto” on Italian wine labels, it usually indicates that the wine is sweet (as in recioto di Soave and recioto di Valpolicella).

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