It's hard to believe that only 50 years ago it was difficult getting grapes to ripen even in the warmer areas of Europe. Today, the problem is reversed and grapes are getting too ripe. One of the ways to extract more flavor is to allow the grapes to dry in the sun for a few days. This reduces the amount of water in them and releases more flavor in the wine. The procedure is called Appassimento and is still very popular today.
Casa Marrone is located at the heel of the boot of Italy at its southwestern corner. The Romans called it "A-pluvia" meaning "lack of rain." This condition made it much easier to grow organically and fostered the drying process. The calcerous soil retains moisture, so the little rain that falls here isn't wasted by runoff. Marrone is in close partnership with Casa Botter, founded in 1928 by Carlo and Maria Botter and is now managed by the third generation.
The grapes here is an iconic mix of Southern Italian varietals. Montepulciano, Negroamaro and Primitivo (known as Zinfandel in California). These grapes are flavorful on their own, but when treated with the Appassimento method, they produce a rather large and lovely offspring. The fullness of the flavors here is almost overpowering. Heady aromas of black licorice, earth and cassis abound in the glass and deposit even greater impact on the palate. The finish seems to go on for minutes instead of seconds. Only powerful dishes will do like a charred rib eye or roast suckling pig.