The love for their land has inspired the Allegrini Family to enhance the potential of Valpolicella and its winemaking tradition. Choices informed by great foresight have seen Allegrini become one of the leading companies in Italy, and it is precisely in Valpolicella that the new generation of producers looks to Allegrini wines as an essential benchmark.
The innovations made by Franco Allegrini have guaranteed ideal storage conditions for the grapes destined to make Amarone and Recioto and thereby guarantee high quality standards. His ideas can be summarized in three fundamental points: the introduction of the use of barriques in combination with traditional Slavonian oak barrels, the revisiting of the consolidated Ripasso technique and substantial modification of the partial drying method (appassimento) with the ideation and creation of ‘Terre di Fumane’, the flagship of winemaking in Valpolicella.
After exploring various way to improve local winemaking techniques, Franco, together with his brother Walter, also progressively introduced important innovations in the vineyards: all-round experimentation with the Corvina grape, the most significant variety in Valpolicella and one of Italy’s most interesting autochthonous grapes. It can be appreciated in La Poja, the company’s ‘cult’ wine made with 100% Corvina. Over time, Trentino pergola, a traditional vine-training system used in Valpolicella, was replaced in the Family vineyards with different systems that enabled an increase in plant density per hectare.
The Terre di Fumane drying facility
Described by Cassiodorus in the fifth century, the drying process known as appassimento is one of the most delicate phases in the production of Amarone, as it was for its precursor, Recioto. During the long period of ‘active dormancy’ from the harvest until the beginning of January, the grapes lose from 40-50% of their original weight and undergo a fascinating and complex chemical transformation, which goes on to yield an elegant, velvety wine, with the unique aromas of raisined grapes.
The innovative intuitions of Franco Allegrini, supported by technical and scientific studies, have introduced substantial changes, making the current method of appassimento a real cutting-edge process. Franco was the mastermind and driver of the project to build the Fumane drying facility, a benchmark for winemaking in Valpolicella and the concrete outcome of a tenacious quest for excellence.
At the Terre di Fumane drying facility, the grapes are carefully monitored during autumn and winter; large fans promote the drying process by ensuring constant air circulation. During appassimento, the first four days are crucial: the stem gradually dry out, sealing the berry and drastically reducing the risk of mould developing. In addition to the loss of water and the consequent decrease in weight, the grapes undergo intense metabolic changes that substantially modify their organoleptic properties. In addition, it is precisely during the drying phase that a number of genes are activated that control the production of the unique aromas and fragrances of Amarone.