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Veneto, in the northeastern part of Italy, is the largest wine producer in the country. The region is also known for being home to the tourist destination of Venice.
Wine from Veneto is widely varied, from the famous bubbly Prosecco and the once mainstream Soave to the now coveted Valpolicella and Amarone.
The vineyards around the Lake Garda produce wines of immense quality, while the shallow southern planes produce most of the Pinot Grigio and Merlot in Italy. Here’s all you wanted to know about the wines of Veneto.
North by northwest
The Alpine foothills take a hold of Veneto’s north. The Lake Garda, replenished by the river coming down from the Trentino region, creates a fabulous microclimate around Verona for both reds and whites of the most exceptional quality.
The southern part of the region is dominated by plains, vastly planted by the Glera grape variety used to make the sparkling wine Prosecco. Three-quarters of Veneto’s massive wine production is white wine, and although most of the wines are table wine quality, expert winemakers make good use of Veneto’s terroir to develop world-class wines.
Land of explorers and traders
Veneto’s earliest inhabitants were the Veneti people, and they were Rome’s powerful northern allies, but the alliance soon gave in to Rome’s thirst for power and the region was subjugated rapidly.
After brief occupations by the Francs and the Byzantines, the Republic of Venice was born. The commercial superpower gained lots of influence around the Mediterranean Basin only to succumb against Napoleon in 1797.
Eventually, Venice was unified with the rest of Italy, but its grandness remained. Today it’s not only a hub for tourism but a source of great-quality wine.
Graves and wines
Being the largest wine-producing region in Italy, it comes as no surprise that Veneto hosts 14 DOCGs, the highest tier of Italian wine law. These include Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG, Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG, Soave Superiore DOCG, and top-shelf Prosecco. The region is also home to 29 DOCs and a handful of IGPs.
Veneto produces 8.5 million hectoliters of wine every year in all colors and quality levels. The most planted grapes are Glera (24%), Garganega (14%), Merlot (12%), Corvina (10%), and Pinot Grigio (9%), but there are over 40 varieties scattered in the region’s vineyards.
The king of Veneto’s red wines is Amarone, a rare specialty of dry fine wine made with passified grapes. Muscular, sturdy, and aromatically layered with everything from plum aromas to chocolate, dried herbs, and liquorice. The complex bouquet makes it a charmer. Get to know Amarone with a bottle of Roccolo Grassi Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2015
The Valpolicella Ripasso, also known as ‘baby Amarone’ is delightful too. Ca’Rugate Valpolicela Superiore DOC “Campo Bastiglia” 2018 is an explosion of ripe red fruit and spices hard to forget.
You can’t talk about Veneto without mentioning Prosecco, the elegant sparkling wine that has taken the world by storm. Enjoy a bottle of Sacchetto Prosecco Brut “Fili” to see how good the bubbly wine can be.
Although most of Veneto’s wines styles enjoy popularity, there are still hidden gems for adventurer wine lovers to discover. Roccolo Grassi Recioto di Soave DOCG “La Broia” 2015 is a true masterpiece of a dessert white wine and only enjoyed by serious wine connoisseurs.
There’s more, lots more
Veneto produces so much wine, in so many styles, at all price points, and for every taste, that you could enjoy a unique bottle of Venetian wine every day, and it would take you years to know them all. Veneto has something for everyone and exploring its catalog is a real adventure.
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