Our newest wine tasting series, “Liquid History” started up in January when we explored wines from Northern Italy’s Piemonte Region. In February we will be focusing yet again on another great Italian wine region – the Veneto.
Veneto is the leading wine producing region of Northern Italy, and in recent years has even beat out two of the south’s megaproducers, Sicily and Apulia. There are many great classics of the region, including Amarone, which is considered by many Italian wine experts to be one of the greatest traditional red wines. However, the Veneto region has many other well-known exported wines including Soave, a white, and Valpolicella, a red.
Popular Wines of the Veneto Region
Soave, one of Italy’s best known exported white wines, comes from the hillside town of the same name in western Veneto. Traditionally, Soave is light and smooth, but in the early 1970s, the wine became popular for commercial use, and large volumes of Soave was produced from vineyards. Since then, Soave has not often topped the charts for Italy’s best wines, but despite all of the simple Soave that has come out of Italy, there are a few that stand out above the rest. Among them is Recioto di Soave. The Recioto method involves drying the “ears” (or the protruding lobes that gets the most exposure to the sun) of the grapes until the sugar is highly concentrated. The wine that results from this method can be very rich, and while it is only produced in small batches, it can be a surprisingly delicious wine.
Despite the cooler temperatures common in the Veneto region, Amarone is one wine that can easily stand up against the big, dense wines commonly produced from very ripe grapes in warmer and sunnier places. Similar to some of the best Soave to come out of Italy, Amarone is produced in the winemaking style of Recioto. Made mainly from Corvina grapes, the grapes chosen for Amarone are left to hang on the vine past the regular harvest. The grapes are then left to dry for three to four months, then crushed and fermented for four or five years before release, sometimes in new oak barrels to give the wine even more powerful flavors.
Touring the Veneto
While in the Veneto region, it can be very tempting to stay confined within the boundaries of Venice, but those who venture outside of the city will be rewarded with a rather unique experience. The beautiful, vine-covered hills stretch from the Austrian border to the eastern shores of Lake Garda. If you love sparkling wine, you do not want to miss the Prosecco wine route, or the Strada del Vino Prosecco. The landscape is beautiful, and the food, incredible. For those wine lovers who make the trip to Northern Italy, the Veneto region is not to be missed.
If you are interested in learning more about Veneto wines (or any other type of wines for that matter!), come to Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA. With over 3,000 labels from 16 different countries, our knowledgeable and well educated staff will help you to find your perfect wine. To learn more, read our blog, or come to one of our many educational wine tastings!