This is a series of articles about Italian Wine regions: we will explain the region, the grapes, the wines and DOCG, DOC and IGT Appellations.
Veneto’s wines are some of Italy’s best known exports – the names of Soave, Bardolino and Valpolicella have long been associated with eminently drinkable Italian wines. Yet there is a lot more to this region, and indeed a lot more behind the names of its best known wines. With 26 DOCs and 13 DOCGs, Venice’s region has a substantial production of quality wine, as well as well-priced easy-drinking reds and whites bottled as IGTs.
Soave is made from Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave grapes grown in the hills between Lake Garda and the town of Soave in the western province of Verona. It has remained unshakably popular for its fresh, clean and crisp taste and food-pairing potential. Soave Superiore has its own DOCG and indicates a slightly stronger wine which has undergone some ageing. Inside the regular DOC, Soave Classico indicates that the grapes come from selected vineyards that are considered to be the best. Some sparkling versions of Soave are also produced. The popularity of Soave ranks it third in volume after Chianti and Asti, among Italy's classified wines.
The next most popular in terms of volume is Veneto’s Valpolicella. The easy-drinking red blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes has historically been intended for early consumption. One of Italy’s most interesting wines is a product of these three grapes, the deep, dark Amarone della Valpolicella, recently promoted to DOCG status. Made from partly dried grapes in the vineyards north of Verona, it is a structured, complex and heady wine capable of great age that has gained a cult following among the wine industry’s elite. The ripasso method, involving the refermentation with the pomace (the remains of the grapes that have been already pressed), is perhaps one of the region’s greatest achievements in winemaking.
Bardolino is made from the same trio of grapes and is known for its delightful cherry scent and easy-drinking nature. As Bardolino Superiore it has gained DOCG status. A pink Chiaretto version is also popular.
There are a number of DOCs on Veneto’s central hills. Wines from Gamberalla are similar to Soave, and those from Colli Berici tend to be single varietals made from Tocai, the Pinots, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Treviso, north of Venice, are the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene where the popular bubbly Prosecco is made using the Charmat method where the second fermentation takes place in large tanks.
White wines from Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Chardonnay are gaining in popularity and recent versions are responding well to oak ageing.
Veneto DOCG wine appellations:
Amarone della Valpolicella, Bardolino Superiore, Colli Asolani Prosecco or Asolo Prosecco, Colli di Conegliano, Colli Euganei Fior d’Arancio or Fior d’Arancio Colli Euganei, Conegliano Valdobbiadene or Conegliano or Valdobbiadene or Prosecco, Lison, Montello Rosso or Montello, Piave Malanotte or Malanotte del Piave, Recioto della Valpolicella, Recioto di Gambellara Classico, Recioto di Soave, Soave Superiore
Veneto DOC wine appellations:
Arcole, Bagnoli di Sopra or Bagnoli, Bardolino, Bianco di Custoza, Breganze, Colli Berici, Colli Euganei, Corti Benedettine del Padovano, Gambellara, Garda, Lison-Pramaggiore, Lugana, Merlara, Montello and Colli Asolani, Monti Lessini or Lessini, Piave, Prosecco, Riviera del Brenta, San Martino della Battaglia, Soave, Valdadige, Valdadige Terradeiforti or Terradeiforti Valdadige, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Ripasso, Venezia, Vicenza
Veneto IGT wine appellations:
Alto Livenza, Colli Trevigiani, Conselvano, Delle Venezie, Marca Trevigiana, Verona or Provincia di Verona or Veronese, Vallagarina, Veneto, Veneto Orientale, Vigneti delle Dolomiti or Weinberg Dolomiten