A day in the Province of Verona

Located in the Northeast of Italy is the Veneto Region, famous for the canals of Venice, the architecture of Palladio and the home of Romeo and Juliet. Comprised of seven provinces, five of them produce wine: Verona, Vicenza, Padua, Treviso and Venice. The Veneto Region is also responsible for producing 20% of all Italian D.O.C. wines. In fact, there are a total of 25 D.O.C. wines and 11 D.O.C.G. wines from within the Veneto region.

The province of Verona is where some of the more recognized wines come from, including Soave, Valpolicella and Amarone.

The Soave area is the largest in Europe, with 6,500 hectares planted. Made with at least 65% Garganega and up to 30% Trebbiano di Soave, Soave is a fragrant, fresh, medium bodied wine.

Valpolicella is the name of the area made up of three valleys crossed by the Negrar, Marano and Fumane rivers. Valpolicella is made with the varietals Rondinella, Molinara, and Covina and produce a fruity and acidic medium-body red wine.

The term “recioto” comes from “recia” (Venetian dialect for “ear”). To make recioto, the grapes selected are from the “ears” of the bunch which have had more exposure to the sun. The grapes are hung or placed on mats to dry until April. Traditionally this style was used to make a passimento style wine such as Recioto della Valpolicella D.O.C.G., as the grapes are dried and the fermentation is stopped so that the wine remains sweet. However in 1933, during the recioto, the fermentation did not stop and the result was a bitter (amaro) wine that was called Recioto Scappato (“the recioto that got away”). However this mistake turned out to be extremely popular as it resulted in an intense, full-bodied elegant red wine with notes of cherry and spices and was renamed Amarone in 1939. Today Amarone is one of the most sought after wines in the world.

Bardolino, made with Corvina and Rondinella grapes, is the red wine from the hills of Lake Garda and is a light, fresh wine with bright cherry notes. In 2001 the D.O.C.G. wine Bardolino Superiore was the first red wine in the Vento Region to receive the D.O.C.G.

Azienda Agricola Coffele
Located in the heart of Soave, Coffele is run by siblings Alberto and Chiara Coffele. Producing primarily white wines, Le Sponde 2009, a Recioto di Soave made of 100% Garganega, received the high honor of tre bicchieri.

Azienda Agricola Monte Tondo
Monte Tondo has been producing wines from their vineyard in the hills of Soave for three generations. The modern winery and tasting room was built 11 years ago and welcomes guests daily with appointment. Monte Tondo also opened Farm Soave, a agriturismo where guests can spend the night in the small medieval town of Soave.

Casa Vinicola Sartori 
Surrounded by vines, olive and cherry trees, Sartori is located in Valpolicella. With a strong tie to the place and their history, Sartori produces exclusively Veronese wines – Valpolicella, Soave, Bardolino and Bardonlino Chairetto.

Cantina Valpolicella Negrar
Made up of 200 grape growing members located on the hillsides of the Valpolicella Classico region, the Cantina is the biggest Amarone producer but also produces varietals, such as Soave and Bardolino. The top label is “Domini Veneti” and makes up 30% of the Cantina’s production.

Cantina F.lli Zeni
Zeni Winery dates back to 1800s when Faustino and Ernesto Zeni established a winery in Bardolino, along the shore of Lake Garda. Run by Fausto, Elena and Federica who took over after their father Gaetano passed away, they have continued the family tradition of making a variety of premium quality wines from native varietals

La Bottega Del Vino

Hotel Giberti

Originally published in Food and Beverage International Wines of Veneto:
A region to be discovered (November 2011)