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What's in an amarone juice bucket?

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Bts

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I'm thinking of ordering an amarone juice bucket when the itialian juice comes in, but I'd like to get a better idea what I'd actually be ordering since amarone and fresh juice seem mutually exclusive. I can't imagine they're making juice fro from traditional partially dehydrated grapes, especially since the the buckets arrive in october and the drying process is supposed to take till newyears. I could see them taking valpolicella juice(same grape varieties as amarone) and either (A) vacuum dehydrating 30% of the water out. (B) chaptalizing the heck out of it or (C) just slapping an amarone label on it. Anyone have any idea? Even a brix reading form a previous year, if anyone's got it, would rule out one of those options. If I had to guess I'd go with the vacuum dehydrating option. That would justify the higher price, I assume they're already doing this for juice that's going into kits, and I've done a fairly palletable faux-aramone form a partially rehydrated cheap valpolicella kit. I'd love to get some confirmation though.
 

sour_grapes

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Excellent question! I have always wondered this myself. Sorry that I don't have any insight....
 

mainshipfred

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It is a good question and good thoughts. I just took a quick look at a few Amarone kits and they don't specify the vintage date. The only one I made was a 23 liter Mosti and the labeled 2016 vintage wasn't available until March 2017 so that would allow for the drying. But your points are well take and in my opinion it's the same for any kit in you really don't know exactly what you are getting.
 

Ajmassa

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To sell juice or kits claiming to be amarone is just deceiving. Regardless of what they ARE doing, I think it’s safe to say we know what they ARENT doing. Apessimento method has to be used- needing a large % more fruit than any other- but prices are only slightly higher than Valpo juice.
And even still, amarone is not amarone until the drying method and fermented then something like 20 months on oak before technically classified as amarone.
If they really went the extra mile with appessimento then I think we’d know about it (big selling point) and the juice would be much more expensive. You should make both so we can see how they differ and which corners are being cut.
Juice pail particulars in general are a mystery. Trust no one!
 

Bts

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Yea, I'm not a stickler for tradition as long as it tastes good and is affordable enough to put up a few cases and drink them on a fairly regular basis. I've had a few commercial amarones and non-amarone appassimento wines, and the ones that were not from Veneto, or had some merlot in the mix were pretty great too. Even my faux-amarone(cheap fonta kit with something like 2/3 the normal water) tastes like an amarone, albeit a very young one that's still a tad rough around the edges. Removing the water from the juice rather than from the grapes seems like a pretty reasonable modern alternative that'll get you pretty close for under forty bucks a bottle that you'd pay for the real deal. I'd bet that the vineyard in Italy makes well under half the cost of a juice bucket since refrigerated transport/storage and profit for middle men can't be cheap. If 6 gallons of juice in Italy cost, say, $25 then 8 gallons should only cost like 8 bucks more, and all the non-vineyard costs are the same. I'm thinking that if the buckets are concentrated valpolicella juice, then calling them amarone juice is technically incorrect but pretty reasonable. I'm also thinking that fermenting them on a lug or two of lightly pressed merlot or sangio skins ripasso style might give a pretty good result. Not 100% authentic, but pretty good for under $2.50 a bottle. I guess the only way to know is to try it :)
 

Ajmassa

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Everything said is based off assumptions. IMO It doesn’t seem likely they would make a juice that’s priced to make them less $$ than others.
Eh maybe it’s just me tho. I’d be cool if they just changed the name to maybe “Amarone style Valpolicella”
 

winojoe

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All the Amarone juice buckets and kits are "Amarone Style". You will find remnants of raisins in the juice to help simulate the Amarone style.

To get an authentic Amarone juice would be outrageously expensive.
 

Bts

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remnants of raisins in the juice to help simulate the Amarone style.
I didn't know that. So they are making some sort of effort to get the flavor closer to the mark than just plain Valpolicella. Thanks for the info, that's encouraging.
 

Ajmassa

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I didn't know that. So they are making some sort of effort to get the flavor closer to the mark than just plain Valpolicella. Thanks for the info, that's encouraging.
This is the problem with juice buckets I think. Because I didn’t know that either. And I find it interesting. And curious to learn more. To an outsider, the only known info is the bucket is labeled ‘Amarone’ - not ‘Amarone style’, and is a few bucks more than Valpo juice.
I went on a mission for juice info once, but ended with more questions than answers. Regarding sugar, acids, tannins, maceration, flash détente extraction, yeast, water removal - anything at all.
The most helpful piece of info I found was about acids. And the Toro brand does not adjust with tartaric. It is balanced, but not in proportions typical of grape wine, so TA levels are misleading. But after AF and MLF- they somehow end up in good ranges.
 
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Bts

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flash détente
Well that was an interesting rabbit hole :) Yea I had to give myself a crash course in acid adjustment when I got my first juice bucks...and in the case of one bucket a case a crash course in mercaptans and disulfide :/ They're a lot less easy and reliable than kits and I've been less than impressed with the reds, though that may be because I'm new at this and my oldest are still a bit shy of a year. Still, I'm not sure I can let a harvest go by without ordering something, even if I'm not sure what's in the bucket and I've got 2 kits on deck.
 

Ajmassa

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Still, I'm not sure I can let a harvest go by without ordering something, even if I'm not sure what's in the bucket and I've got 2 kits on deck.
Let’s not get crazy now! Not making wine this season was never one of the choices!
It’s tough to compare kits and juice pails. Their timelines are much different. You should notice the juice wine having a much stronger nose/bouquet than the kit wines right away. But can be a little (lot) raw when young. But once past that young rough period can be damn good.
Couple years ago I found a discarded bottle of cab from juice - was almost 4yrs old. Blew me away! Best wine to date. Really spoke volumes as to what some age can do.
Flash detente is some pretty wild stuff ain’t it ?
 

Bts

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Yup, Flash detente is pretty interesting stuff. Amazing what they can do with technology these days. Guess I'll have to keep making kits to drink now and juice pails to age, at least till I can get a few of them into the 2 or 3 year range.
 

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