What is Appassimento wine?
Appassimento is a wine style that has captured the imaginations of many wine drinkers and introduced a number of wine cynics into the fold. Essentially, the appassimento method is the drying of grapes OFF the vine. Grapes are harvested and literally laid on the floor to dry. This can be done in the sun in reliably hot, sunny climates or in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms for extra safety and speed. The result? Water evaporates which concentrates sugar, acids and flavour in the grape to give it an extra whack on the palate.
Where can I find Appassimento wines?
The answer is really limitless. Anyone with the budget to build a temperature controlled drying room and a vineyard has the ability to make these wines, but the nation most famous by far is Italy. Yes, there are obvious ones like the appassimento’s of Valpolicella, but Italian wine regions follow this method all over. From Moscato Rosa, often found in Trentino, to Recioto di Soave and Vin Santo, this method is great for dessert wines, reds and whites seeking that little bit of flavour boom. Majestic wine even stock a Chilean example of the style – more on that soon.
My top picks for Appassimento Wines
Christian Patat Appassimento is a name I hear time and time again when people talk about appassimento. An Italian showstopper and one of Naked Wines’ bestsellers by some margin, this will leave even the haughtiest connoisseur happy. It is, simply put, a big wine. Rich, smooth, bold and full of dark fruits, this is the ultimate wine for warming the soul.
Negrar Il Viaggio Appassimento is a great example from Majestic. In keeping with the style, it is rich and textured with plummy, dark fruits abounding. Where it differs is in the more complex side of the flavour spectrum with violet nuances.
Nero Oro Appassimento. Another from Majestic (and not the last), it is fair to say they stock the best around for this style. When I worked at Majestic this was a customer favourite and it is easy enough to see why. Plush and silky in nature with a full body and, again, floral nuances. Damson, cherry, violet and blackcurrant all intertwine beautifully to make this disappear from your glass in seconds.
Nero Oro Grillo Appassimento. Nero Oro strikes again, but this time, unusually, with a white wine in this style. The Grillo grape is a Sicilian speciality and shines when produced with the drying method: some are dried on the vine, some in the sun. Expect honey and exotic dried-fruit notes with great acidity. It is fantastic.
Mayu Carmenere Appassimento. The last wine to get a mention here is again from Majestic. This one is the Chilean one I mentioned earlier from the Elqui Valley which has vineyards stretching 5000 feet above sea level and 300 days of sunshine per year. Extreme. Not only that, but Carmenere is Chile’s signature red grape and the first in the world to be made like this. Firm and luscious with plum, fig and pepper notes, it is a rich wine elevated by the subtle sweetness.
Updated 4th January 2024