North-eastern Italy’s Veneto region produces some of Italy’s finest wines. The Valpolicella wine zone bears fruit to a few different types of Valpolicella wine. Lighter, easy-drinking refreshing varieties like Valpolicella Classico fly off the shelves and are regarded as the perfect summer red to consume.
Fuller blends which undergo special ageing processes like Valpolicella Armone are infamous for their dryer, more bitter flavour. All Valpolicella wine varieties are highly regarded as good quality wines which make for delightful dining and social experiences.
What is Valpolicella Wine?
Valpolicella refers to a red wine denomination where 5 different DOC/G wines are produced from the same vineyard using the same grape varieties. Valpolicella, Meaning “the valley of many cellars” holds varieties of Corvina, Rondinella and Corvinone, all of which are autochthonous to the area.
Second to only Chianti and Montepulciano, Valpolicella is the first Italian appellation by value. The region’s revered red wines boast a variety that spans four styles: Sweet Recioto, exuberant Valpolicella, spiced Valpolicella Ripasso and the dry Amarone. Approximately 64,000,000 bottles are made across the 5 DOC/Gs.
Where is Valpolicella Wine From?
In Northern Italy’s foothills of the Alps and surrounding the sublime valley’s of the Lessini Mountains, lies a 240-square-kilometre area. Valpolicella Wine is specially grown just South of these mountains. The climate of the area is essential to the production of grapes. The vines which produce quality, light wines rest in soil that is rich in limestone, clay and calcareous.
The hills reach an exceptional 396 meters feet above sea level which naturally assists to shelter the vines from hot Mediterranean summers. Wine produced on higher grounds tends to be richer in alcohol and more balanced in notes than wine which grows from the lower end of valleys.
The Valpolicella wine region is among some of the most prestigious winemaking regions in Italy. Aside from the rolling hills decorated with vines the region is also home to quaint hamlets and villages.
How Is Valpolicella Wine Made?
In order to make the wine, the winemakers from the region start by picking the ripe grapes from the vines. The grapes are then dried through an ancient process of allowing them to hang from rafters or dry on mats. This process takes place during January.
For Valpolicella, this takes around two weeks – enough for a lively character and lighter colour. For Valpolicella Superiore it may take as long as three weeks to extract more flavour and colour. The shrivelled grapes are then ready for vinification.
Fermentation is stopped before all sugars convert to alcohol. These wines made with fresh grapes include Valpolicella Classico and Valpolicella Superiore. However, Armone, which is the dry red blend of the Valpolicella selection, is made by allowing those same grapes to ferment fully in temperature-controlled rooms. This helps to give Armone the famous bitter taste that is attributed to earning it DOCG status. Armone’s high alcohol content can be attributed to this process. The pricier versions of Valpolicella get an oak-ageing treatment before sale.
What Does Valpolicella Wine Taste Like?
Valpolicella hosts brilliant tasting notes of sour cherry, chocolate, pepper, cinnamon, and almonds. Offering aromas of herbs and cherries on the nose, Valpolicella Wines offer fairly high acidity, low tannins and a medium body. Valpolicella wine is a lighter tasting wine with simple scents of fruit.
Is Valpolicella Wine Dry Or Sweet?
Valpolicella is a youthful, easy-drinking dry red wine. It is richly fruited and bold. Armone, A certain type of Valpolicella which is aged further than other variations is both dry and bitter tasting. Sweeter Valpolicella, such as Recioto Della Valpolicella is also made and enjoyed by those who prefer sweeter variations of wine.
How Do You Drink Valpolicella Wine?
Valpolicella Ripossa and the Armone blend in particular are best enjoyed at temperatures between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius. A standard/universal red wine glass suits the medium-bodied feel of Valpolicella wines superbly. Valpolicella’s decanting time is around 30 minutes and will rest well in your wine cellar for more than 10 years.
What Food Do You Pair Valpolicella Wine With?
The younger and lighter blends of Valpolicella tend to pair beautifully with seafood dishes, salads and pastas like gnocchi. These more simplistic variations are also suitable to drink with roast chicken or a burger. Whereas a dryer and heavier blend like Armone pairs better with a delectable medium-rare steak.
Valpolicella’s slightly tannic and acidic flavours is what makes it an ideal pair with steak. Aged cheeses also pair wonderfully with Armone and Ripasso styles. Recioto Della Valpolicella, the sweeter variation, also pairs well with a dark chocolate dessert.
When Should You Drink Valpolicella?
The standard Valpolicella and Ripasso blends are usually best enjoyed in the first five years after their release. Vibrant Valpolicella with its refreshing notes of herbs is best enjoyed a little chilled. Valpolicella blends holding ageing power such as the infamous Armone benefit from more than 10 years in the bottle as they improve further with age.
As Armone matures, its chocolatey notes grow more prominent and the bitterness melts gently into aromas of figs with an additional subtle note of fresh tobacco. Valpolicella Classico is also regarded as the perfect wine for the summer time. It is also a great wine to serve to friends that usually only drink white wine because it has a very light and refreshing character.
Is Valpolicella A Good Wine?
Valpolicella is a good quality wine to drink. The standard variations are easy-drinking with fresh and fruity aromas to enjoy whilst the more well-aged blends such as Armones have a fuller body with a more bitter taste to enjoy.
Coming from Northern Italy and undergoing unique and ancient processes to reach their final form, you will be enjoying an authentic wine rich in flavour and history.
What Wine Is Valpolicella Similar To?
Other Italian wines which go through a similar creation process include Dolcetto and Nebbiolo, which also embody a rich yet easy-drinking red wine experience to enjoy.
What Is The Best Valpolicella Wine To Buy?
Choosing the most suitable Valpolicella to purchase depends on your personal taste. If you enjoy a lighter, summer wine then this is the best wine for you. However, if you enjoy a heavier, fuller-bodied wine then Armone is the best choice to go with.
If you prefer a balance of somewhere in the middle as well as a sweeter taste then Ripasso is an excellent choice. Ultimately, all forms of Valpolicella are good quality and easy to enjoy.
Jump To a Section Below
- What is Valpolicella Wine?
- Where is Valpolicella Wine From?
- How Is Valpolicella Wine Made?
- What Does Valpolicella Wine Taste Like?
- Is Valpolicella Wine Dry Or Sweet?
- How Do You Drink Valpolicella Wine?
- What Food Do You Pair Valpolicella Wine With?
- When Should You Drink Valpolicella?
- Is Valpolicella A Good Wine?
- What Wine Is Valpolicella Similar To?
- What Is The Best Valpolicella Wine To Buy?