Flashcards in Veneto Deck (56):
Largest DOC producer. Climate moderated by the mountains in the north and the sea in the east. Important export wines all grown near Verona in the west of the region.
Located north of Verona. Corvina main grape variety, Rondinella and Molinari also permitted. Number of different styles. Basic wine is light and fruity from high yields in hot valley floor sites. Best wines produced from hillside sites, such as Valpolicella Classico DOC. Proportion of grapes can be dried before ferment (recioto) to increase concentration and complexity.
Amarene della Valpolicella DOC
Made entirely from recioto grapes. Wine is intense with a long finish. Many different styles dpending on many factors including level of drying, oxidation and botrytis. Traditional styles are port-like modern styles are more pure cherry with full body, sweet fruit on palate and long bitter finish.
Recioto della Valpolicella DOC
Made entirely from recioto grapes with fermentation stopped early. Wine is full bodied and sweet.
Ripasso della Valpolicella
Unpressed skins from Amazon and Recioto are added to basic Valpolicella. Re-fermentation follows giving the wine extra viscosity, tannins and complexity.
Cooler climate, vineyard area on the shores of Lake Garda. Same varieties as Valpolicella. Lighter, fruitier style. Rose of same varieties is also produced.
Bardolino Superiore DOCG
Same varieties as DOC but wine is much more complex with greater concentration.
Second best selling wine after Chianti. Quality improving considerably. Garganega main grape, flavours of almonds and floral or grapey notes when grown with low yields. Blends with Trebbiano di Soave and Chardonnay (not to account for more than 30% of the blend). Best wine from Classico region near Soave town on volcanic soil. Soave Superiore and Recioto di Soave have been promoted to DOCG status.
Bianco di Custoza DOC
Limestone hills located south-west of Lake Garda producing full bodied white wines from a blend of Trebbiano Toscano, Garganega, Frulano (previously known as Tocai Frulano, name banned in 2008), Malvasia Toscana, Riesling Italico (Welshriesling) and Cortese.
Colli Euganei DOC
Located in flat Padua are the isolated Euganei hills of volcanic origin. Nutrient rich soil suitable for viticulture. Substantial replant in the 1960s with international varieties such as Merlot.
International varieties dominant.
Merlot (made in a light, fruity style) and local grapes produced in non- traditional ways or in non- traditional blends.
Italy’s most productive wine region in the north east (see map under italy). It stretches westward to Lake Garda and northward to the Alps and the Austrian border from the terra firma behind the lagoons and city of venice, an important power in the wine trade of the Middle Ages whose legacy has shaped some wines in Veneto and even elsewhere. In the mid 1990s the volume of wine produced in Veneto overtook that of puglia and sicily, and in 2012 was more than 8.2 million hl/205 million gal. Much of this growth has been due to the runaway success of pinot grigio, followed by that of prosecco, although the entrepreneurial spirit of the producers, co-operatives, and large bottlers has also played a pivotal role. In theory, a significant proportion of Veneto wine is of good quality, with doc wine representing well over half the total. The reality is somewhat different. This proportion has been artificially inflated both by drastic enlargements of the DOC zones (to plains which were cereal-growing areas prior to the Second World War in the case of Valpolicella and Soave) and/or by sanctioning extremely generous yields which, even for DOCs and DOCGs, in 2012 averaged an exceptionally high 95 hl/ha. The resulting wines, although nominally of DOC level, are too frequently characterless. Good bottles of Bardolino, Valpolicella, and Soave are not difficult to find, however, and the corvina vine variety which forms the basis of Valpolicella, and garganega, the basis of Soave, are capable of making seriously interesting wines if grown in the right place: the hills on the 45 degrees 30 minutes of latitude which run eastward from Lake Garda, to the north of the fertile Adige river plain. Other hillside zones of real potential are scattered around the region and include the Colli Berici to the south; Breganze to the north of Vicenza, especially for Tai Rosso (grenache); the Colli Euganei to the south west of Padua; and the hillside part of the Piave DOC zone. Native varieties such as Friulano, Garganega, and Verduzzo are cultivated in these zones, as are imports such as Merlot and Cabernet, mainly Franc (brought to the area in the wake of the Napoleonic invasion in the early part of the 19th century). The Garganega-based Bianco di Custoza and Gambellara, two country cousins of Soave, the lightly sparkling Prosecco of Conegliano, and the Fior d’Arancio of the Colli Euganei (a fuller-bodied answer to moscato d’asti) round out the regional picture, a picture characterized by large quantities of pleasant, easy-drinking wines which seem to suffer from a lack of ambition and the devaluation of many of the DOCs, resulting in dumping and further erosion of quality. Individual producers throughout the region provide exceptions, especially those who show an interest in terroir rather than volume. The small Lessini DOC, producing traditional method sparkling wine from the Durella grape, was one bright spot in the mid 2010s. Veneto’s centre of academe is the experimental viticultural institute at conegliano.
Generally modest but attractive light red wine from the south eastern shores of Lake Garda in the veneto region of north east Italy. As in the other two important Veneto docs soave and valpolicella, the original production zone known as classico (Bardolino, Garda, Lazise, Affa, Costermano, and Cavaion) has been extended to a considerably larger zone whose wines are simply called Bardolino. The vineyard area of both zones combined is 3,000 ha/7,413 acres, producing some 240,000 hl/6.34 million gallons annually. Like Valpolicella the wine is made of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes, with the possible addition of up to 20% of any authorized variety. Merlot is often used to bolster alcohol levels to the official minimum of 11.5% (10.5% for straight Bardolino DOC) so that after an additional year of ageing it can be labelled Bardolino Superiore, a category that has docg status. The rosé version, either still or sparkling, is called Chiaretto. terroir seems to have rather less effect on this relatively simple wine than it does on Soave and Valpolicella, because large parts of the Bardolino zone, whether Classico or not, lie on a plain. But the determining factor of the wine’s general blandness are the high permitted yields of 11 tons/ha (or 80hl/ha). And yields even higher than this in vineyards trained on pergola are encouraged by the region’s many bottlers (some 100 in total) looking for bulk wine at the lowest possible price. Between 2002 and 2007 the local consorzio tried to improve quality by in-depth research into soil composition and clonal selection. But the proposed system of subzones had made little impact on the wines by the mid 2010s. Although Bardolino is undeniably light, Le Fraghe’s Bardolino is proof that freshness and modest alcohol is not necessarily boring.
Bianco Di Custoza
A straightforward dry white wine produced in the veneto region of north-east Italy in a wide stretch of territory extending south westward from the city of Verona partially overlapping the bardolino DOC zone on the shores of Lake Garda and immediately south of the lake. The total vineyard area had fallen to just over 1,200 ha/2,964 acres by 2011. The substantial presence of trebbiano Toscano grapes (constituting 10 to 45% of the blend), blended with garganega (20 to 40%), a local strain of friuliano known as Trebianello (5 to 30%), and a variety of other grapes (Riesling Italico, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnnay, Malvasia Toscana), tends to yield a rather colourless, neutral wine on the fertile soils of this zone. While substantial research in soil composition and mesoclimates was executed in 2010, resulting in the identification of ten subzones, this has yet to result in either innovation or an increase in quality.
Mainly red wine doc in the hinterland of Venice in north-east Italy. Like the neighbouring lison-pramaggiore, the Piave DOC embraces vineyards in the plain of the Piave River, and is demarcated by the pre-alpine Conegliano and Montello hills to the north and the flatlands of the river’s Adriatic delta to the south. The DOC is so large that it overlaps the DOCG Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Colli Asolano, and the DOC Montello—so large that it accords little attention to terroir aspects. This is overwhelmingly merlot territory (some 4,323 ha/10.678 acres) with cabernet (principally Franc) accounting for an additional 1,852 ha. verduzzo and tai bianco account for the bulk of the white wine production. The wines, at their best, are fruity, fresh, and unpretentiously appealing; with permitted yields of up to 90 hl/ha for Merlot and over 80 hl/ha for Cabernet and Tai Bianco from the fertile soil, they seem destined to remain that way. The zone doubles as the DOCG Piave Malanotte, a potentially much more interesting red based on the local raboso grape of which between 15 and 30% of the grapes must be dried, arguably to counteract the grape’s tannic, high-acid character. But in the right hands this variety can produce high quality, long lived, complex red wines.
Dry white wine from the veneto region of north-east Italy. Like the neighbouring valpolicella zone, the Soave zone was expanded enormously with the creation of the Soave doc in 1968. At the time, both regions were enjoying an export boom, so production flowed off the small hilly zone onto the alluvial plain of the Adige River. The classico zone of mostly hillside vineyards first defined and delimited in 1927, is the source of superior Soave. The eastern part of the zone, in the commune of Monteforte d’Alpone, where the vineyards are planted on decomposed volcanic rock, produces steelier wines than those from the western part in the commune of Soave, where the higher percentage of limestone in the soil and the warmer afternoon sun gives fuller, more forward wines. By 2010 there were 3,319 ha/8,197 acres of vineyards on the plain, and these are responsible for the bulk of ordinary Soave. The quality-oriented producers from the hills have long struggled with the fact that their wines, no matter how good, are associated with these lower-priced wines. The real culprit responsible for insipid wines and Soave’s tarnished reputation is excessive yields, sometimes more than 15 tonnes/ha. It was hoped that the introduction of the DOCG in 2002 would deal with this situation, but instead of restricting the DOCG to the Classico hills, a general Superiore category was created, a half-baked compromise that included most of the produce of the omnipotent local co-operative. Maximum permitted yields for Soave Superiore DOCG are still high but are at least reduced to 10 tonnes/ha, and the minimum natural alcohol level is 12%. Confusingly, there are four official Soave denominations: Soave Classico DOC for the historical heartland; Soave Colli Scaligeri DOC, which includes all hillside vineyards outside the Classico zone; Soave DOC, which includes the plains, but is also an overarching DOC that producers can use for declassifying their wines; and Soave Superiore DOCG described above. All four can be seen on labels. In an effort to elevate Soave’s reputation, and align it with the current trend for single-vineyard wines, the whole region has been subdivided into 47 different subzones. Within each subzone, various single vineyards, or crus, have been identified, and most of them are located in the Classico zone. Their names may appear on labels. True Soave is medium bodied with fine acidity and a lively flowery aroma of white and yellow fruit, and garden herbs, taking on notes of chamomile and honey with age. Another potential improvement is that trebbiano Toscano has been excluded from both DOC and DOCG Soaves. This interloper was introduced to the area in the 1960s, when high yields were the driving force, and it soon displaced the local Trebbiano di Soave (which is, in fact, verdicchio). Today, Soave must be at least 70% garganega and up to 30% Trebbiano di Soave, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and/or the Sauvignon Blanc that has been used to add interest and body to wines from over-productive vines. When yields are controlled, Garganega can give wines of real class. A late-ripening variety, it has a thick skin that helps protect it against the autumn mists rising from the northern part of the Po Valley. Producers such as Pieropan, Gini, Pra, and Ca’ Rugate have illustrated the potential not only of Garganega but also of the Soave zone. Garganega is also the mainstay of the sweet recioto di Soave DOCG, a passito with a long local tradition made from raisined Garganega grapes.
Lively red wine from the veneto region in north-east Italy. Vines are grown in a series of adjacent valleys descending from the pre-alpine Lissini Mountains north of Verona down to the plains in the south. The Fumane, Marano, and Negrare valleys, with vineyards on hillsides rising up to 400 m/1,312 ft, form the historic nucleus and have their own DOC Valpolicella Classico with 3,325 ha/8,213 acres of vines. Between the Classico zone and the plains to the east lie the 433 ha of Valpantena vineyards on both hillsides and plains. The total area of vineyard given over to regular DOC Valpolicella is 3,587 ha. Valpolicella, like a number of other historic areas of Italy, saw its production zone greatly enlarged when it achieved doc status in 1968. It was extended eastward as far as the boundary of the soave white wine zone, and south onto the fertile plains on the northern edge of the Po Valley. Although the total Valpolicella zone is large and varied, in general soils are more calcareous and temperatures lower in the north and on the hillsides, in the Classico area, while soils on the plains are distinctly heavier and deeper and temperatures higher. The majority of quality-conscious producers’ vineyards are to be found on hillsides only. The name Valpolicella is derived from a mixture of Latin and Greek, as in ‘the valley of many cellars’. corvina has historically been regarded as the best grape of Valpolicella, being used to produce a wide range of styles, all from the same hills. The youthful wines resemble a good Beaujolais in that they can be enjoyed chilled and have, at their best, a delicious sour-cherry character. The fuller wines come from better sites on the hills, as do the recioto and amarone wines made from dried grapes. By the late 1960s, when the DOC regulations were drawn up, any pretence of quality wine production seemed to have been abandoned. Lesser grape varieties molinara and rondinella were allowed as part of the blend, and excessive yields were permitted. As a result, quality fell almost as quickly as the prices paid to growers for their grapes. By the late 1980s, many of the vineyards on the hills in the Classico zone were abandoned, as viticulture there became less and less profitable. Only those growers on the plains, where yields were several times higher than those from the hills, were able to make money. Consequently, the grapes from these prolific vineyards made most Valpolicella, and these were the wines that shaped—one might say tarnished—the image of the wine. Hillside viticulture was salvaged by Amarone, a wine with virtually no tradition and once considered a ‘faulty’ recioto that had fermented to complete dryness, and only commercially produced since the 1960s. As described in the amarone entry, there has been an explosion in total production this century. As the price paid for Amarone grapes is about three times that paid for regular Valpolicella grapes, the total area of vines for Amarone has increased enormously and there are plans to extend the region further. Efforts to prevent overproduction of Amarone by restricting the total amount of grapes coming from a single estate that may be dried from 70 to 60% have been shelved, not least due to pressure from the many co-operatives. The commercial success of Amarone has reduced average annual production of regular Valpolicella from 41 to 19 million bottles between 2005 and 2013. Meanwhile the production of Valpolicella ripasso, a normal Valpolicella run over Amarone skins, adding alcohol and extract to the wine, has soared from 7 million bottles in 2007 to more than 25 million bottles in 2013. Ripasso’s rapid growth is a direct result of Amarone’s popularity, as the volume of Ripasso obtained by this method may be double the volume of the Amarone that has been racked off before, while 15% of Amarone may also be added to improve its quality. With falling prices for both Amarone and the Ripasso marketed as a cheaper alternative, this policy may prove toxic in the long run. This concentration on only two styles has also led to the slow demise of recioto della Valpolicella. This truly historic wine is produced in ever-shrinking quantities because it is not seen as nearly as profitable by producers, and sweet wines can be a hard sell on the international market, while Amarone is rapidly turning into brand rather than a wine that reflects its origin. Some authentic Valpolicella can still be found, however, from the highly concentrated, almost elixir-like Amarone from Romano Dal Forno wines to the traditional long-lived Amarones from Quintarelli and the historic house of Bertani, as well as a handful of mavericks continuing to pursue terroir rather than volume, such as Ca’ La Bionda, Corte Sant’Alda, Meroni, and Monte Dall’Ora.
Powerful, red dried-grape wine in the DOC valpolicella in Italy’s north east. The wine, made of the same grape varieties as Valpolicella, consists of 45–95% corvina, 5–50% rondinella, and up to 50% corvinone in the place of Corvina. It may also contain up to 15% of any red variety that is authorized in the province of Verona. Strictly speaking, Amarone is a recioto scapata, literally a recioto that has escaped and fermented to full dryness when the intention was to produce a sweet wine. The yeast, already struggling with the high sugar content in the must, would normally stop working because of rising alcohol levels, and before all the sugar had been converted. Stylistically, Recioto della Valpolicella and Amarone are similar, but the latter must be dry with no more than 12 g/l residual sugar and at least 14% alcohol (but often more). The pleasant, bitter (amaro) aftertaste explains its name. Amarone is a style and its name must be followed by ‘della Valpolicella’ on the label. Amarone has been produced in commercial quantities only since the 1950s. From the 1980s it has been a roaring success, especially in Scandinavia, Germany, and the United States, and production soared from 8.5 to 14 million bottles between 2005 and 2013. During the same period the total Valpolicella vineyard area increased from 5,719 ha/14,125 acres in 2000 to 7,288 ha/18,000 acres in 2013. Producers are allowed to transform up to 70% of their total grape production into Amarone, regardless of the quality or provenance of the grapes within the dramatically extended Valpolicella zone, which has resulted in wide quality variation. Much more important for quality than the drying process is the provenance of the grapes. But proposals to restrict Amarone’s production to hillside sites, and/or reducing production on the plains, have not come to fruition. By law the grapes for Amarone must be dried at least until the beginning of the December after the vintage. The drying process results in a metabolization of the acids in the grape and a polymerization of tannins in the skins, which explains the richness of good Amarone. The wine should be made from selected superior whole bunches, which are dried or raisined in special drying lodges. Traditionally, the drying of grapes was restricted to the Valpolicella hills, above the autumn fog line, where thermal fluctuation warded off the development of botrytis. Grapes were spread out on mats or wickerwork shelving, or strung up from the ceiling or rafters. Today, however, most producers pick the grapes directly into plastic crates and dry them in a temperature- and humidity-controlled warehouse. This technical approach, which ensures minimal handling of the grapes, minimizing the risk of damage and consequent development of rot or mould, has resulted in cleaner, more balanced, but also rather formulaic wines, while encouraging the current industrial-scale production of Amarone. Traditionally, the wines were aged in large botti, although today barrique ageing is the norm, resulting in wines with a distinctly international style, but at the cost of originality. In the 2010s the pendulum started to swing back, away from heavy oak influence, and towards lower alcohol, and little or no residual sweetness. Good producers include Bertani, Quintarelli, Le Salette, Monte dei Ragni, Corte Sant’Alda, Ca la Bionda, Monte dall’Ora, and the idiosyncratic Dal Forno.
Is a qualitatively important, predominantly white wine, doc zone on the north eastern border of Italy with Slovenia. Collio did much in the early 1970s to increase Italians’ confidence in their ability to make fine white wine. Collio, a corruption of the Italian word for hills (see colli), is in the province of Gorizia (hence Colli Goriziano). Half of what was once a single wine zone was annexed in 1918 by Italy, with the border running straight through vineyards. The other half is now known as Goriška Brda (see slovenia). Within the region of friuli, it is the fourth biggest DOC in terms of area planted and volume of production after grave del friuli, isonzo, and colli orientali del Friuli, but its fragrant and lively whites, which account for 85% of total production, have created an image of quality for Friuli thoughout the world. Collio’s red wines, overwhelmingly from merlot and cabernets sauvignon and franc, tend to resemble loire reds, at times with an identical vegetal quality underlined by a certain lightness of body and texture. The territory itself extends across the hills from the Judrio River in the west—the former boundary between Austria and Italy and now Collio’s boundary with the climatologically similar Colli Orientali—to the Slovenian border in the east. Vines are planted on a calcareous marl alternating with layers of sandstone called ‘flysch of Cormons’ after an important township in the heart of the zone. After two World Wars had ravaged the zone, it rebuilt itself based on viticulture, which became even more important at the beginning of the 1960s when the share-cropping system was abolished and many growers seized the chance to buy vineyards and impose a vine monoculture. Pinot Grigio became the inevitable cash cow and was planted widely. Other international, mainly white, varieties, notably Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well the red Bordeaux varieties, followed suit and the early adoption of modern vinification techniques, particularly temperature-controlled fermentation, resulted in what were then Italy’s cleanest, most modern wines which found a ready international market. However, in the past Collio was a white wine made from local varieties ribolla Gialla, friulano , and malvasia Istriana, labelled Collio without the suffix bianco. Today nine different varieties are allowed in the blend, while an additional 12 white and four red varieties can be a suffix to varietally labelled Collio. Competition from other regions which eventually began to produce similar wines forced producers to reconsider their history. Several producers, particularly Edi Keber, began producing a trdaitional white Collio blend. Today, Collio’s vineyards are still dominated by Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay, but renewed interest in local varieties is unstoppable, while interest in Collio’s subzones has been triggered by the rediscovery of a 1767 document which includes a classification of Collio’s vineyards into nine different categories, showing that a sophisticated system of crus was in place in the 18th century. There are plans to introduce a new DOC category, Collio Classico, for the classic blend of Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, and Malvasia Istriana. A special bottle and capsule has also been introduced. See also slovenia, which is capable of producing some extremely similar wines. Before the Second World War, Collio extended much further eastward, and many knowledgeable producers—some of whom have continued to own and farm vineyards across the border in Slovenia—claim that some of these sites are among the very finest of the entire zone.
Town that is home to the main experimental viticultural station in the veneto region of north-east Italy. The Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticoltura, now called CRA-Vit (Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura—Centro di Ricerca per la Viticoltura), was established in 1923. One of its first directors was Professor Dalmasso, whose Dalmasso Commission made a significant report on the state of the Italian wine industry. His successor Professor Manzoni produced many crosses still cultivated today. In 1933, Conegliano became involved in combating adulteration and fraud in an area which was expanded in 1965 to include not just Veneto but also friuli. From 1986, the adulteration and fraud service became independent. At the same time, an experimental winery was established at Conegliano. A 9-ha nursery for an ampelographical collection of vine varieties had been established in 1951, and another estate of 20 ha/50 acres was acquired nearby in 1963. From 1967, the institute’s work was focused on viticulture, with four central units concerned with ampelography and vine improvement, biology and protection, propagation, and cultivation techniques. There are further units located around Italy and the institute is responsible for clonal selection, research into rootstocks, and an ampelographic collection of more than 2,000 vine varieties. Conegliano is home of the Italian national register for grape cultivars. Since 1999 it has been integrated in the national Agricultural Research Council (CRA) and is its centre of viticultural research. Conegliano’s influence extends all over Italy, not least because the oenological school, Italy’s first, founded in 1876, is there and trained many of the country’s producers and consultant oenologists. In 2001 its name was changed to Istituto Statale di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore G. B. Cerletti. Nowadays the Institute teaches oenology as well as viticulture in conjunction with the University of Padova.
Red grape variety grown in 2010 on 595 ha/1,470 acres, mainly in the Veneto region of north east Italy, particularly for valpolicella. Its wines tend to be high in acidity, light in colour, and prone to oxidation, so the variety is losing ground to corvina, rondinella, and international varieties in the zone.
Italian red grape variety grown in veneto, especially for Valpolicella. The vine yields profusely and is therefore extremely popular with growers but its produce is rarely sufficiently flavoursome to please consumers. Rondinella is not as widely planted nor as respected as its parent corvina veronese, with which it is usually blended.
Distinctive category of north-east Italian dried-grape wines, a historic speciality of veneto. The word derives from the Italian for ear, orecchio, because the wine was originally produced only from the ripest grapes in the bunch, from the upper lobes, or ears, although selected whole bunches have long been substituted. The most common forms of Recioto are sweet red Recioto della valpolicella and the rare sweet white Recioto di soave and Recioto di gambellara. Recioto della Valpolicella, like its dry counterpart amarone , is produced from 45–95% corvina, the great native grape of Valpolicella up to half of which may be replaced by corvinone, and 5–30% rondinella, with up to 25% of the international varieties authorized in the province of Verona. As for Amarone, these grapes are raisined during the late autumn and winter months after the harvest in special drying rooms equipped with air conditioning and humidity control to avoid the development of botrytis which can lead to premature oxidation (although more traditional producers tend to embrace the complexity that botrytis under more natural drying conditions can add). Like Amarone it is produced in the Valpolicella doc zone which has been divided into a classico subzone and a larger zone whose wines are simply called Recioto. As for Amarone, docg status was achieved for Recioto della Valpolicella in 2009. The wine is a decisively sweet one as the grapes need by law to be dried until at least 1 December following the harvest. The white Recioto di Soave must be made from at least 70% garganega and a maximum of 30% trebbiano di soave, Pinot Bianco, and/or Chardonnay (although quality-oriented producers tend to eschew the last two which are generally included to compensate for lack of flavour and alcohol in grapes from high-yielding vineyards). Recioto di Gambellara must be 100% Garganega. All three wines can represent some of Italy’s finest sweet wines, but due to sluggish demand, and the mediocre quality associated with some dry Soave and Gambellara, the number of producers willing to sacrifice time and labour to produce these wines has been declining, while Valpolicella producers now definitively favour the much more lucrative Amarone.
Italian term meaning literally ‘repassed’, for the technique of adding extra flavour, and alcohol, to valpolicella by re-fermenting the young wine on the unpressed skins of amarone wines after these dried-grape wines have finished their fermentation in the spring, and racked off. Regularly aged in new barriques to add a sweet note of vanilla and often with residual sweetness, Valpolicella Ripasso became a roaring success as a cheaper alternative to Amarone, with production rising from 7.5 million bottles in 2007 to more than 25 million bottles in 2013. By law the volume of ripasso obtained by this method may be double that of the Amarone that has been racked off before, while 15% of Amarone may also be added to improve its quality. This marked increase in the volume of Ripasso has been at the expense of straight Valpolicella, which decreased in the same period from 35.9 million bottles to under 20 million in 2013.
2nd BC: viticulture flourishing under Romans -> Veneto has the oldest winemaking tradition in the Northeast oMiddle ages: important power in the wine trade via Venice port
1950s: rediscovery of the Amarone style of winemaking
1980-90s: increasing popularity of Amarone (production trebled between 1972 & 2000)
1990s-today: rise to the top
Veneto- Climate and Weather
Mild to cool continental climate moderated by Lake Garda to the west and Adriatic sea in the east. Cooler in the foothills to the north.
Cooler in the foothills of the Alps and warmer
Hot summers (23C July avg), mild winters with frost rare
Veneto- Topography and Soil
Protected from harsh climate by the Alps in the North and moderating influence of Lake Garda in the west o The best sites are on south facing slopes, mid-altitude hills and valley sides
Morainic gravel near Lake Garda to dolomite residual gravel with alluvial deposits in the fertile central plains
Soave Classico: volcanic soils
Late ripening small-berried but thick-skinned grape (- > better for drying)
Prone to high yields
Usually dominant variety in Valpolicella and Bardolino
Produces light coloured w high acidity, a light to
medium body, medium- alcohol, sour cherry & bitter almond notes
Corvina’s offspring; local native
Neutral flavours but good yielding, resistant to
Used for colour & body in Valpolicella blends
Long believed to be linked to Corvina
Highly regarded grape used in the Amarone and
Recioto as it has loose bunches and large berries
Local native grape with hi acidity, light in colour and prone to oxidation
Traditionally blended in Valpolicella but losing ground
Can be blended with Merlot
Dark tannic native grape mainly in Piave
Veneto- Other Red Grapes
Vigorous, productive late ripening semi- aromatic white grape
Same DNA as Grecanico Dorato from Sicily
Often complemented w Trebbiano or
In fertile flatlands of Soave -> thin neutral
If yield contained -> fine, wines with high
acidity & delicate apple, pear flavours
Italy’s #6 most widely planted white grape
Ugni blanc in France
Toscano: workhorse grape with hi productivity
and little flavour
Most planted grape in Italy w presence in
every single region
Veneto- Prosecco/ Glera
Late ripening white grape
Produces still, fizzy and sparkling wines w
typical soft peachy flavours
Veneto- Trebbiano di Soave
Aromatic grape related to Verdicchio
Used in Soave blends and Lugana whites
Veneto- Other White Wine Grapes
Chardonnay, Tocai Friulano, Sauv Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio
73,000ha – 2nd largest area under vine (after Puglia)
Valpolicella: high trained, high yielding Pergola systems are being phased out in favour of French guyot trainings
Key hazards: hail, unpredictable rainfall and drought
Valpolicella: Light red with usually no ageing released a few weeks after harvest
Amarone: Grapes harvested in October w preference to bunches with grapes not too close to each other to help air flow
Grapes are dried on straw mats or temperature controlled chambers for 3 months.
The appassimento has 3 main effects:
1. Concentrates the juices within the grape
2. Increases skin contact of the grapes
3. Metabolises the acids with in the grape and creates a polymerisation of the tannins in the skins
The wine is then fermented to dryness and aged in large French/Slovenian oak before release, min 5 years after harvest
Valpolicella: wine partially aged in contact with the lees and unpressed grape skins of the Amarone or Recioto - This contact triggers a 2nd fermentation that gives wine deeper colour, more alcohol and complexity
Alternative technique using partially dried grapes for less bitter tannins and more phenolics (e.g. Allegrini)
Recioto (della Valpolicella DOCG / di Soave DOCG): Named after the ear-shaped top part of grape cluster that were traditionally picked separately as they were
riper and made richer, sweeter wines Today, grapes are taken to special drying rooms (ventilated attics or temperature controlled) for 4 months.
Then, the must is not fermented to completion leaving residual sugar - 40 to 80% Corvina, 5 to 30% Rondinella and up 15% other grapes.
8.5m hl/yr production #1 or #2 producer with Puglia
DOC represents 25% of total and makes Veneto the largest DOC producer in Italy. This has been helped by the enlargement of DOC zones and generous yields allowed (e.g. Soave, Valpolicella) oSoave + Valpolicella = 40% of Veneto’s DOC production
Large proportion produced by large cooperatives (e.g. Cantina di Soave). Key producers:
- Allegrini - Valpolicella
90ha for 1m bottles/year; Signature wines: La Poja (100% Corvina), Amarone; La Grola
Helped raise the profile of Amarone; wide range of wines and ventures in other regions (Tuscany)
-Pieropan - Soave
Family-owned business with 60ha vineyards in the Soave Classico area (Calvarino, oak aged La Rocca) - Does not use the Soave Superiore as alcohol requirement does not fit elegant wine style.
Amarone: 67 & 76 for the legendary vintages; more recent top vintages: 2000, 2001, 2004.
Veneto- Valpolicella DOC/ Valpolicella Classico DOC (R)
‘Valley of many cellars’ located north of Verona
Zone extended eastwards with DOC status in 1968. These hot valley floors produce basic wines.
In the Monti Lessini foothills, the Classico DOC produces better quality wines & accounts for 40% of production
Traditionally made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara but Molinara less and less used. Possibility to
have some grapes dried before ferment to increase concentration and complexity
Valpolicella Superiore: min 1 year ageing and 12%abv
Veneto- Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG
Traditional wines are port-like; modern styles are more fruit-forward w full body, sweet palate and long bitter finish
The DOCG only allows a certain proportion of grapes to come from the non-Classico area.
Veneto- Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG
DOCG granted at the same time as Amarone in 2009.
Very sweet wines (dried 1 month longer by law) that tend to have some oxidised notes
Very small portion of Valpolicella’s total production w 5,000hl/yr so usually come at premium prices.
Ripasso della Valpolicella DOC
First made by Masi in the 1980s. DOC since 2009.
Area running along the chain of morainic hills directly to the east of Lake Garda; cooler climate
Classico zone is located on the south-eastern steep shores of Lake Garda and represents 45% of production
Bardolino are made Corvina and Rondinella but are quite different to Valpolicella because:
- they contain less Corvina (-> less body and structure) and more Rondinella (more neutral flavours)
- the permitted yields in Bardolino tend to be higher
Bardolino Superiore DOCG
Bardolino with min 1% more abv and min 1yr ageing before release for more complexity and concentration
Eastern extension of Valpolicella area; 80kms from Verona
Climate influenced by mists that flow from the Po valley in the Autumn (Garganega’s thick skin makes it more
resistant to these vs. Trebbiano Toscano)
Classico: area in the hillside vineyards around Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone w better exposure, less fertile
soils i.e. limestone and also volcanic rock for more full-bodied wines (e.g. Pieropan, Suavia) oThe plain is made from more fertile soils for lighter more neutral wines
Soave DOC requirements:
- Min 70% Garganega and up to 30% Trebbiano di Soave and max 15% Trebbiano Toscano
- Yields max 14t/ha
Soave Superiore DOCG: less Trebbiano Toscano in blend, lower yields allowed, higher abv required
80% of the 6 million cases sold every year are produced by Cantina di Soave, the local cooperative oIndependent quality-oriented producers e.g. Pieropan, Gini have decided not to use the DOCG as rules
around alcohol do not fit the fine wine style from Classico area.
Improving quality after focus on competing with Pinot Grigio in the 80s-90s oRecioto di Soave was granted a DOCG in 98.
Bianco di Custoza DOC- 1,400ha
Fertile soils directly south-west of Lake Garda shores
Colourless, neutral whites from blend of Trebbiano Toscano (20-45%), Garganega (20-40%) and Friulano (5-
30%) plus Malvasia Toscana, Riesling Italico and Cortese
High yields and production largely controlled by 2 cooperatives
Colli Euganei DOC
South-west of Padua; flat except for Euganei hills made of volcanic origin (nutrient rich soils)
Replanted with international varieties (mainly Merlot) in the 1960s
Large area between the Adriatic and the hills of Prosecco; north-east of Venice; east and north-east of Treviso
Mainly planted with red international varieties, mainly Merlot and some Cabernet Franc
The best wines are fresh and fruity.
Produced throughout the region of Veneto
Usually for light, fruity Merlots or non-traditional wines or blends.
DOC in the veneto region in north-east Italy, mainly for the international varieties for which demand is waning, and increasingly in need of redefining itself in a more Italian, indigenous context. Wines of real interest are produced from Bordeaux varieties, but tai bianco, the local vespaiola for the botrytized or dried-grape sweet white speciality Torcolato, the red marzemino, and the rare Gruaja, probably related to Valpolicella’s negrara Veronese, could add some distinction to the DOC. Maculan put Breganze on the map in the 1980s by focusing on quality instead of mere quantity by lowering yields, introducing modern winemaking equipment, and using barriques. Several estates followed his example, but the region as a whole receives little attention from the international market.