Out of Italy, and Packing a Jolt
Good article from the NY Times about Amarone:
"CONTRARY to a widely held belief, big, powerful, almost monstrously concentrated wines are not a California invention. No, before the first California wines sent the alcohol meter reeling toward 17 percent, Amarone from Italy was setting the standard for dense, lush red wines that were routinely 15 to 16 percent alcohol.
But unlike some of those newfangled California wines, which have the comic, pumped-up character of professional wrestlers, a good Amarone has the more refined muscularity of a naturally robust athlete. It's a wine that you can't imagine any other way.
Amarone, or Amarone della Valpolicella, to give it its more formal name, is the flag-bearer of a special class of wines that are made from dried grapes. Amarone uses the same blend of grapes as Valpolicella, its lighter red sibling in the Veneto region: mainly corvina and corvinone, along with some lesser grapes like rondinella."