Wines of the Valpolicella
Valpolicella is one of the best known Italian wine names and over the past few years there has been a sharp upturn in the quality of these wines.
The Valpolicella heartland, a series of four valleys north of Verona, is ventilated by air currents from Lake Garda and the Po Valley.
The wine is made from a three plus grape blend of which Corvina and Rondinella are the most important. Versatile in style, Valpolicella can as easily be made for drinking as a young, fresh, vibrant red or as a fuller, rounder, long aged wine. Either way Valpolicella has a clear red-cherry fruit with spice, pepper and a slightly amaro or medicinal edge.
But what about Amarone and Ripasso?
Amarone is a highly traditional wine made from the same grapes dried for around three months after picking, crushed and fermented slowly to dryness. Amarone retains the cherry characteristics but is far stronger in alcohol. Amarone may appear sweet on the palate at first despite the wine being dry.
Producers are increasingly turning their attention to producing a wine style called Ripasso halfway between standard Valpolicella and Amarone by allowing the standard Valpolicella to ferment on the lees of Amarone. As for Recioto well that’s a sweet wine story for another time…