Amarone La Stropa
50% Corvina/20% Corvinone/20% Rondinella/10% Molinara- Croatina-Oseleta. The Amarone is named La Stropa for the same-named local tree called a "wicker tree" in English, whose twigs were historically used here in the heart of Valpolicella to bind the vine shoots to the pergola; Monte Dall'Ora has maintained that tradition, not only out of respect for history but for practical reasons--these natural ties are the strongest and most flexible in the face of strong winter winds blowing over this site from the north. This terraced vineyard of ancient limestone is home to the estate's oldest vines, which clock in at 50-70 years old, and is biodynamic farmed like the rest of estate.
Taking place generally in the first two weeks of October, the hand harvest for the Amarone is naturally the most meticulous of all. Only the most perfect, healthy bunches are placed into open-sided wooden crates, which are then stacked in the well-ventilated fruttaio to dry naturally for 4-5 months. When the bunches are deemed ready, they are placed in wooden vats where they are foot-trodden three times per day for about 10 days; it usually takes about 10-15 days for fermentation to kick in. The vats contain 70% grape mass (skins and seeds) and 30% juice, so the process is a slow and rigorous one. The maceration lasts for about a month in Slavonian oak botti with manual punchdowns. Aging takes place in 500-liter French oak demi-muids for 4 years, followed by a year in bottle.