In 2014, throughout Italy the summer never quite got up to speed. Instead of grape-ripening sun, northern vineyards especially were covered in clouds and rain, a lack of light and warmth that hit red wine places like Veneto’s Valpolicella hard. With the cool dampness came vine damage, destructive downy mildew and flavor-changing botrytis, the “noble rot” that’s a boon to nutty, honey’d wines like Sauternes and to be avoided for most makers of Valpolicella’s best known wine, hearty Amarone — a fermentation not of fresh grapes but of ones that undergo appassimento, the Italian winemaking technique of months-long air-drying harvested grapes that dates back to at least Roman times.

Source: Amarone Is Italy’s Great Meditation Wine: Its New Release Is For Thinking Livelier