The Veneto is a united federation of wine. In- dustrious and determined, this powerhouse region does not enjoy the same singular brand recognition as Tuscany or Piedmont, but it does offer numerous combinations of microclimates, indigenous grapes and wine traditions that hold their own in spectacular fashion. It is recognized for wines on opposite sides of the style spectrum from hearty reds to fragrant sparklers. United, these radically unique expressions are representative of what drives Italy’s global wine success.
No other region boasts such winemaking diversity in such close proximity. Its flagship bottle, Amarone, produced near Verona, is the result of a unique blend of grapes and an indigenous winemaking process. Thanks to appassimento (air-drying), the fruit loses significant water mass, resulting in distinctive power and concentration. That extracted density is also found in the other red wines of Valpolicella such as Ripasso.
Prosecco (made 100 miles away) is a lightly fragrant sparkling wine that personifies the easy, carefree spirit of Italy. It communicates that wine is for everyone and this message has been enthusiastically embraced around the world. The same is true of the Veneto’s important white wine (Soave) and rosé (Bardolino) production.
Geography helps explain why this region is home to so many individual pockets of wine tradition. The Dolomites stand tall at the back, blocking cold temperatures from central Europe. This ribbon of land is home to cities Verona, Vicenza, Padova and Treviso, distinguished by their wealth and entrepreneurial spirit. To the east, the mountains slowly succumb to the Adriatic, culminating with the Veneto’s crowning beauty: Venice.
Facts about Veneto:
In 1876, the first Italian enology school opened in the Veneto by decree of the Italian king, Vittorio Emanuele. It is the Scuola Enologica Conegliano G.B. Cerletti.
Many notable people in history were born in Venice, such as the playwright and notorious lover Giacomo Casanova, the explorer Marco Polo, and composer Antonio Vivaldi.
Ca’Dario is a palazzo constructed in the style of the Venetian Renaissance and is located on Venice’s Grand Canal. The series of curious deaths started when the structure was built in 1847.
Common Grape Varieties
Garganega: The basis of Soave, Garganega is well suited to volcanic soils and produces crisp, dry white wines with flinty aromas and flavors of citrus, honey and almond.
Glera: Formally known as “Prosecco,” vigorous Glera remains the basis for Prosecco DOC and DOCG still and sparkling wines. It is widely planted in the areas of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene near Treviso.
Pinot Grigio: Planted across northeast Italy (“Delle Venezie”), Pinot Grigio represents one of Italy’s largest exports. Trebbiano di Soave: A synonym of Trebbiano di Lugana, this white grape is used in smaller percentages in Soave wines.
Amarone/Valpolicella blend (Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara): These are the principal indigenous grapes used in Valpolicella reds including Amarone, Ripasso and Recioto dessert wine. They have large berries and thick skins needed to withstand appassimento.
Oseleta: “Little bird” takes its name for its small berry size. This structured red grape is arousing great interest among winemakers and is often added to Amarone.