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Silence of the lambs

What Wine Did Hannibal Lecter Drink in the Novel?

Thomas Harris’s novel, The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological horror piece that made its way to the silver screen in 1991. The novel was first published in 1988. The film adaptation was a hit. But did you know that in the novel, Hannibal Lecter drank a different wine?

Hannibal Lecter does not drink Chianti with the census taker’s liver in the original novel of “The Silence of the Lambs,” but rather Amarone. It is often paired with offal, similar to liver and other hunted game.

What is Amarone?

Hannibal Lechter is quite the gourmand. However, his meat preferences were a little extreme, but his wine choices reveal accurate oenophile instincts. The film adaptation of the novel Silence of the Lambs does not give him due credit. 

They dumbed down his passion for fine wine to a more commonplace wine, Chianti. His true love was a much darker red Amarone Della Valpolicella.

Amarone Della Valpolicella, or simply Amarone, is produced in Italy’s Venitian region. Originally, the Valpolicella name had only one legal region or DOC. These wines are made from the grapes Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara. However, two sub-groups emerged: Recioto, a sweet dessert wine, and Amarone, dry red wine with a lot of body.

Both of these wines are made from grapes that have been rack-dried to bring out their flavors. These two were granted their DOCs in 1991. The land area covered by these three DOCs is the same, but the wines produced are very different.

Amarone is Italy’s fourth most famous wine, after Chianti, Asti, and Soave. This fine wine has tobacco and fig flavors and pairs well with game and ripe cheese. Of course, Hannibal had his fava beans. While some styles can be extremely bitter. (Source: Wine Intro)

Why Did They Change the Amarone to Chianti?

The producers in Hollywood decided to change it because Amarone was not as popular, and they were concerned that moviegoers would not understand he was referring to wine. They were most likely correct. Even in Italy at the time, Amarone was not a hit outside of the Veneto region where it is produced.

In the book, Hannibal refers to it as a big Amarone, which is an accurate description of most Amarones. They are frequently large and powerful wines because they are made from grapes that have been left in special drying chambers after harvest for up to four months, until January or February. 

As a result, a significant amount of water evaporates from the berries, and the juice contains significantly more sugar and the substances that give the wine body and aromas. The end result is a remarkable aroma concentration and an equally remarkable alcohol content. That is also why an Amarone can feel a little overwhelming at times.

That is not the case with this Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Doc by David Sterza, a small winery with an excellent track record for quality and dependability. With 16% alcohol by volume, there is no doubt that it is big. However, it also has an unexpected freshness on the palate, with a complex bouquet that includes rich, spicy aromas and fresh fruitiness. So this is a wine that is both robust and gentle. (Source: Accademia Vino)

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