Veneto is a region in Northeastern Italy that has a wide range of wines and styles that you probably have tasted and enjoyed, but never knew where it came from. When people say “Chianti“, you probably think Tuscany, but if someone says “Prosecco” or “Amarone“, does Veneto jump to the tip of your lips? Veneto makes a range of wonderful wines, and I hope with this article and my recommended wines from the Vancouver International Wine Festival, that you will be on your way to loving their wines.
As I mentioned you get both sparkling and still wines from Veneto. Prosecco DOC is made from the white indigenous grape called Glera. It is an easy sipping wine, made to be consumed in most cases soon after you buy the wine. It is not made the same way with the second fermentation in bottle, like Champagne, rather it uses large metal tanks for the second fermentation, which provides the bubble, then the Prosecco is bottled from the tank. The wine is typically light bodied, dry to off-dry, with flavours and aromas of citrus, flowers and stone fruits.
Valpolicella is the next group of wines that you get from Veneto. It has different categories of quality, as shown below:
- Valpolicella Classico,
- Valpolicella Superiore,
- Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso,
- Amarone della Valpolicella, and
- Recioto della Valpolicella.
These wines are all made from up to three different indigenous grapes: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Corvina grapes give their wine blends a fresh and delicately bitter cherry character. Molinara contributes acidity to balance out richness in a blend. It also contributes bright red fruit flavours and floral notes. Rondinella, having a high sugar content is often used in higher percentages in the making of Recioto, the dessert wine produced in Valpolicella. The Classico and Superiore are lighter bodied, lower tannin red wines that go well with many dishes, including pizza, burgers, and roast chicken. Stepping up in body and intensity your get the Ripasso style, which is made by a second fermentation of the grapes along with the once fermented grapes made from the full-bodied Amarone wines. If you want a big wine, then Amarone is for you. It is made from grapes that are partially dried, concentrating their sugars and flavours. Amarone is built to last. 10 years in your cellar are not a problem for Amarone. If you find one you like, you may want to buy a few bottles. It is full-bodied with flavours of dried fruits, dark fruits, high acidity and high tannins. Enjoy with full flavoured dishes, such as a roast, a stew, braised meats, ribs, or strong aged cheeses.
Let’s take a look at some of the wines of Veneto that I enjoyed at the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
My Veneto Wine Picks
Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco NV. The wine has a light intensity nose of flowers and citrus, with a hint of lime in the background. Dry, with medium plus acidity and light body. Aggressive, medium sized, creamy bubbles. Citrus, apple, a hint of lime, and some lemon rind on the palate. Rating:
Cesari Ripasso Bosan Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC 2010 – Nice ripe red fruit nose. Dry with higher acidity on the palate. Red fruit, red apple flavours, with spiciness from the mid palate to the finish. Mouth watering acidity on the finish. Rating:
Masi Agricola Brolo Campofiorin Oro 2011 – Very aromatic with ripe cassis and black fruit aromas. Dry, medium body with dark fruit and medium tannins. Rating:
Masi Agricola Riserva Costasera 2009 – Smoky, meaty, dark chocolate on the nose. Ripe dark fruit and cocoa flavours. Off dry. Fine tannins. Rating:
Monte Del Fra Amarone 2009 – Very ripe purple and cassis fruits along with some herbs on the nose. Fuller body, off dry with nice mineral streak through the wine. Very fruity with purple fruit flavours, together with some dried herbs. Hints of apples, cherries and some spice. Dry finish wine fine tannins. Rating:
Cantine Giacomo Montresor Valpolicella DOC Ripasso Capitel della Crosara 2013 – Light nutmeg, roses and red fruit aromas in the glass. Medium body, dry, with red fruit, and oak on the palate. Rating:
Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2012 – A nice nose of dark fruits and spice. Medium plus body, dry with dark chocolate, dark fruit and some tarriness on the palate. Rating:
Tenuta Sant Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella Selezione Antonio Castagnedi 2012 – Very aromatic purple fruit nose. Fuller bodied, round with ripe purple fruit and raisiny fruit flavours. Off dry. Rating:
Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella 2011 – Smoky, flinty nose. Full body, smoky, mineral and firm tannins. Quite fruity, with red and black fruit flavours. Rating:
Zenato Azienda Vitivinicola Cresasso Veronese IGT 2009 – This wine has had some grapes that have had the appassimento method of drying the grapes before fermentation. Light cherry and vanilla aromas. Fuller bodied. Silky with dark chocolate, dark fruit, and lesser amounts of red cherry, herbs, and vanilla. This wine opens up nicely with decanting. Rating: