Veneto is a large region in the north-east of Italy, encircled to the north by Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia and bordered to the west and south by Lombardy and Emilia Romagna respectively. The Italian wines of the Veneto region reflect all facets of the wine world, from the most neutral Pino...
Veneto is a large region in the north-east of Italy, encircled to the north by Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia and bordered to the west and south by Lombardy and Emilia Romagna respectively. The Italian wines of the Veneto region reflect all facets of the wine world, from the most neutral Pinot Grigio to the great dry Soave wines for the whites, or from the umpteenth Merlot to the world acclaimed Amarone della Valpolicella. It is the largest DOC/DOCG wine producing region in Italy with 29 DOC and 17 DOCG.
Wine production has been attested in the Veneto region for several millennia. With the Etruscans giving way to the Romans, Veneto became the 10th and last Roman region to be conquered in 264 BC. It was already a wine-growing hub exporting its wines to all the provinces of the Empire. A thousand years of the Republic of Venice would not change this, the regions of Verona and Piave fed the taverns of Venice and the merchant ships on the Mediterranean. Napoleonic intermittently, Veneto was mainly Austro-Hungarian for most of the 19th century, opening up new export markets and increasing its fame in Europe. In 1963, the DOC system was officially established in Italy, and Veneto was to rush like no other region to gain recognition for the quality of its prestigious wines.
Veneto is a land of geographical contrasts. Its border with Austria to the north gives it the benefit of the influence of the mountains and its many Alpine rivers (Adige, Brenta, Piave), its wide coastline on the Adriatic Sea regulates the overwhelming continental temperatures that prevail on the long Po plain. The immense Lake Garda makes the Verona area suitable for the production of elegant white and rosé wines. The best vineyards are to be found on the countless hills that criss-cross the area on soils composed mainly of siliceous glacial marl.
The Veneto region produces every type of wine possible and imaginable! The vineyards on the plain saw their production intensely mechanised and absorbed by the powerful cooperatives. The numerous IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) represent regional appellations that can produce wines from native grape varieties, international grape varieties or ambitious experimental blends. The smaller DOC appellations produce equal proportions of white and red wines of high quality and complexity, with their best historical sites often obtaining DOCG and « Classico status».
The greatest red wine of the Veneto region is without doubt Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG. Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara grapes are used for its very special preparation: it is a wine of passerillage (appassimento) normally intended to produce a sweet wine, the Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG, a wine known and appreciated since the Roman Empire. A forgotten barrel saw its yeasts finish the dry fermentation and created this extraordinary wine: dark, powerful, high in alcohol, viscous, extremely fruity.
Modernity will be found further east, ambitious winegrowers have planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot on volcanic soils and the results are more than convincing, rivaling in class with the greatest wines of Bordeaux and California.
Garganega is the grape variety responsible for the greatness of one of Italy's best dry white wines, the Soave DOC. Its exoticism and power are admirably complemented by the freshness and delicacy of Trebbiano di Soave. The best examples come from the DOCG Soave Classico.
Prosecco is certainly the best known Italian sparkling wine in the world, ahead of Emilian Lambrusco and Lombard Franciacorta. The production area of Conegliano is located in the Province of Treviso, 60 kilometres north of Venice. Made from the Gléra grape variety, according to the Charmat method (second fermentation in pressurised stainless steel vats and not in the bottle as in Champagne), Prosecco is a superbly fruity wine, from dry to slightly sweet, excellent from aperitif to dessert.
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