Deconstructing Valpolicella.


Valpolicella wines that originate from a delimited area within Veneto, have been produced for centuries.

They are made using corvine Veronese, molinara and rondinella grapes, of which corvine is considered to be the best.

Valpolicella has tow sub-regions – Valpolicella and Valpolicella classico, which was the original delimited area, and when demand increased it was extended to include areas on the planes, that yield less flavourful grapes.

Over the years several quality levels were invented these being – Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Valpolicella Classico Ripasso, Amarone della Valpolicella, and Reciotto Della Valpolicella.

The legislation allows for Valpolicella Classico wines to be made from yields of 12 tones/hectare, with a minimum of 12 per cent ABV and 23.5 grams of dry extract per litre.

Superiore wines must show 12.5 per cent ABV and 26 grams of dry extract per litre.

Amarone grapes are hand harvested and dried on specially designed trays in well ventilated rooms fro three to four months thus concentrating their flavour and increasing their sugar content. The composition of the amarone blend must be corvine Veronoese 40 – 70 per cent, rondinella 20 – 40 and molinara 5 – 25. More expensive amarone wenes contain more corvine Veronese grown on specially selected vineyard plots. Approximately 8.6 million bottles of amarone are produced annually.

Amarone wines yield 33 hectolitres of wine per hectare (five tones of fruit) must have a minimum of 14.5 per cent ABV and 30 grams of dry extract.

Amarone wines are always dark in colour, powerful, full bodied, age well, are intense and possess levels of flavour along with long aftertaste,

Reciotto della Valpolicella is a special category that is exclusively made using the upper lobes of the grape bunch.

They are sweet, intense, well balanced and supremely suitable for complex desserts. Small amounts of sparkling reciotto are also produced.

Many small valleys within Valpolicella have been identified to yielding very flavourful grapes, and small quality oriented wineries draw fruit from them. Campolongo di Torbe, Mazzano, Fumane are some of the more famous single vineyard amarones, some of which can go up to 16.8 per cent ABV.

Standard Valpolicella wines are always light, and go with light foods. They seldom age well and are consumed within a year or two of harvest.

Classico level wines can age well for three to four years pending vintage quality, and amarone 15 and longer.

Standard and classico Valpolicella wines go well with roast lamb, risotto with pine nuts, roasted mushrooms, polentas, pizzas, pastas, roast pork loin of pork, medium rare grilled steaks, and aged hard cheeses.

There are several specialized wineries including co-operatives, The following are considered reputable and quality conscious: Fratelli Tedeschi, San Cassiano, Giuseppe Camapgnola, Zenato, Tommasi, Farina, Venturini, Masi.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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