The wines of Valpolicella can be called legendary. They are produced in one of the four most famous wine regions of Veneto and are the pride of Veronese winemakers. The success of the Valpolicella wines is explained by the creation of a new type of production, which is based on the use of dried grapes. The grapes are dried on the bamboo cane mats (arele) and are kept in a well ventilated dry place for 90 - 110 days, after which it decreases in weight and changes its biochemical composition.
The Valpolicella DOC areas are located in the vicinity with Verona in the valleys between the river Adige and the hills of Verona. There is dominating the red clays and white calcium-enriched soil. Due to diverse microclimates in these areas are produced both young and more seasoned sorts of wine.
There are several categories of Valpolicella wines, which depend on the plant site: Valpolicella, Classico and Valpantena. Classico means that the grapes were grown in the most ancient “classical zone”. The wines of the Valpantena category have the same name with the area of growing grapes. There are also wines, which are controlled by the origin (DOC). They include Valpolicella, Valpolicella Superiore, Rechioto della Valpolicella and Amarone della Valpolicella.
The Valpolicella wines are made from red grapes. The main sorts are Corvina, which has a strong aroma with notes of cherry (its share in the amount of wines can be from 40% to 70%) and less fragrant Rondinella (its share is about 30% - 40%). Also are used the sorts of Molinara and Barbera, but in much smaller quantities (their content is allowed no more than 15%). A small share in the production of Valpolicella wines holds the Dindarella, Negrar, Kroatina, Sangiovese and Rossignol sorts.
The simplest wine is called Valpolicella. The next one in the hierarchy of the wines is Valpolicella Classico. The Valpolicella Classico and Superiore wines are less acidic and are characterized by a high content of alcohol. They should have the ripening of not less than 14 months. "Superior" means that the wines have a more favorable location providing specific conditions for the ripening of grapes.
The dry wines Amarone della Valpolicella and sweet Recioto della Valpolicella occupy a more higher level in the hierarchy of the quality. For their manufacturing are used dried grapes. They have a soft velvety taste and spicy aroma, in which can be distinguished the notes of cherries, irises and violets.
We should also mention such wine as Amarone della Valpolicella. This fortified dry red wine is characterized by a bright garnet color and spicy flavor. This wine should be ripened at least two years.
Valpolicella wines are well combined with a large variety of dishes such as pasta, soups, risotto, red meat and cheeses. They can be served during the entire process of eating.