Sensational Lake Garda is home to Valpolicella wines
How can you possibly go wrong with a wine district whose name means “valley of many wine cellars?” Another no-brainer: its location is between the magical cities of Venice and Verona. Last, add to the equation that the stupendously beautiful Lake Garda is part of the wine region. Valpolicella is compelling on all of these levels, and many more.
Wines have been made in the Valpolicella district since the time of the ancient Greeks before the birth of Christ. In 1968 the region was awarded its own DOC (appellation) by the Italian Government. Since then, parts of the district have been bestowed a further award by the granting of a special DOCG to the area's Amarone wines. (Amarone, the region’s pricey flagship wine, will be discussed soon in a future article.)
Valpolicella is both a wine-producing district and a wine. Red is the dominant color. Reds are made from a combination of grapes, all mostly unknown to Americans. Corvina, the main varietal, is blended with other grapes such as Rondinella and Moninara. The most basic level Valpolicellas are light-bodied, lower in alcohol, and noted for their cherry flavor. Valpolicella Superiore wines, however, must be aged a minimum of one year in oak barrels. The Superiore is more complex and offers more structure along with more intense aromas of dried cherries. Often times the Superiore version is made using an old wine making method in which the aristocratic skins remaining from the area’s powerful Amarone wines are mixed in with Superiore must and undergo a secondary fermentation.
Both levels of Valpolicella wines frequently offer great quality/price ratios on wine lists. Equally important, these wines pair well with most foods. The Superiore is especially nice with grilled poultry and meats, and can stand up to pastas that use strong cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Wine-Knows will be in the Valpolicella district next year on its Northern Italy & Truffle Tour in early October 2018. Moreover, we’ll be staying on the historic estate of one of the area’s best Valpolicella and Amarone producers, Serego Alighieri (descendants of one of Italy’s most famous authors, Dante Alighieri). Availability on this tour is just two spaces. www.WineKnowsTravel.com.