Guide to the Wines of Veneto

When it comes to Italian wines, the Veneto region is a true treasure trove of quality vineyards. Located in the northeastern part of Italy, this region boasts some of the most famous and beloved wines in the country. It is known for its diverse landscape, from rolling hills to stunning lakes, which create the perfect conditions for growing grapes. The wines from Veneto are loved for their sophistication and versatility, and they have a rich history that dates back centuries.

The Veneto region has been producing wine since Roman times and was one of the first areas in Italy to start exporting wine. It is situated between the Dolomite mountains to the north and the Adriatic coast to the east, creating a diverse set of microclimates that are ideal for growing a wide variety of grapes. The most cultivated grape variety in the Veneto region is the Glera grape, which is used to make the famous sparkling wine, Prosecco. Apart from Glera, the Veneto region is also home to some other indigenous grape varieties such as Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, which are used to produce some of the most iconic wines of the region. Let’s take a closer look at some of the famous wines and grape varieties of the Veneto region.

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Valpolicella is the most famous red wine produced in the Veneto region. It is made from a blend of three local grape varieties: Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. These grapes are grown in the foothills of the Alps, which create a unique microclimate with warm days and cool nights, perfect for producing complex and vibrant red wines. Valpolicella can range from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied, depending on the grape blend and aging process. They usually exhibit notes of cherry, raspberry, and spice, with a slightly bitter almond finish. The basic Valpolicella blend is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes, such as tomato-based pasta dishes, grilled meats, and aged cheeses. Specifically delicious with a beautifully prepared osso buco.

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Another famous wine from the Veneto region is Amarone della Valpolicella. It is made using the same grapes as Valpolicella but with a different winemaking process called appassimento. This method involves drying the grapes on straw mats before pressing, resulting in a more concentrated and powerful wine. Amarone wines are full-bodied with notes of dried fruits, dark chocolate, and tobacco. They are known for their intense flavors and high alcohol content, making them a perfect accompaniment to hearty dishes like risotto, roasted or grilled meats, and stews. We would recommend a slow-cooked wild boar ragu and grilled lamb chops dusted with good extra virgin olive oil and rosemary for a heavenly pairing.

For lovers of sweet wines, the Veneto region also produces Recioto della Valpolicella. Made from the same grapes as Amarone. Recioto is a sweet and fortified wine that is often referred to as “the father of Amarone.” The grapes used for Recioto are left to dry for a longer period, resulting in a sweeter and more concentrated wine. It has a deep ruby color and aromas of dried fruits, figs, and spices. Recioto is a dessert wine that pairs well with chocolate, fruit tarts, and aged cheeses. The Veneto region also boasts some fantastic white wines. Soave is perhaps the most famous. This wine is made from the Garganega grape, which is known for its high quality and crisp acidity. The Garganega grapes are grown in the hilly areas of Soave, giving the wine a unique minerality. Soave wines are typically dry, with flavors of peach, pear, and white flowers. They are perfect for summer sipping and pair well with seafood, salads, and light pasta dishes.

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For a special treat, pair a bottle of Soave Superiore with a plate of creamy burrata cheese drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a luxurious and indulgent experience.

Lastly, no discussion of Veneto wines would be complete without mentioning Prosecco. This beloved sparkling wine has taken the world by storm. Made from the Glera grape variety, Prosecco is known for its light and effervescent character, with flavors of fresh green apple, pear, and citrus, and a crisp acidity that makes it a versatile option for any occasion. Prosecco wines range from the dry and brut styles to the sweeter and more aromatic versions, offering something for every palette, even for the most discerning wine connoisseur.

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Prosecco is a fantastic wine for celebrations and gatherings, as it pairs well with a wide range of appetizers, seafood dishes, and light desserts. The refreshing bubbles and fruity notes in Prosecco complement the salty and savory flavors in dishes like oysters, fried calamari, and bruschetta with tomatoes and basil. For a festive and fun pairing, serve a chilled bottle of Prosecco alongside a plate of fresh fruit, cheese, and charcuterie for a delightful and indulgent treat.

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For wine lovers traveling to Italy, visits to vineyards in Veneto can be set up by a variety of travel agencies. One of the most unique vineyard experiences in Veneto would be in Venice with Classic Boats Venice. The specific wine-tasting experience offered by Classic Boats Venice gives guests a chance to visit vineyards in the lagoon of Venice while traveling on a luxurious vintage boat. Guests have a chance to try exceptional wine from winemakers on the islands of Sant’Erasmo and Mazzorbo. If guests desire, the team from Classic Boats Venice can also prepare for a sommelier to come on board to give a Veneto wine tasting with Cicchetti parings. This experience with Classic Boats Venice would top the list of all vineyard experiences in the region.

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If you are staying longer in Venice and looking for a real wine tasting experience in the city with expert local sommeliers, check out ‘Vineria All’Amarone’. This lovely restaurant, bar, and wine shop in San Polo has everything for Veneto wine lovers. ‘Vineria all’ Amarone’ offer unique wine tasting experiences coupled with a fantastic explanation by an expert from their team along with parings of their delicious cicchetti.  Along, with an amazing selection of wines and incredible food menu in their cozy restaurant, ‘Vineria all’Amarone’ also has a beautiful private room for wine tastings and a wine shop boasting the biggest selection of Veneto wines we have seen in Venice. From small local vineyards to bigger ones, ‘Vineria all’ Amarone’ has it all for the wine afficionado.

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The wines of the Veneto region in Northern Italy are a true reflection of the rich winemaking heritage and diversity of the area. If you are ever in Italy you must make a stop to this dynamic region and try some of these outstanding wines.

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By JP Morselli

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