Opera, Spritz, romantic holidays in Venice or Verona, somewhere around the corner, you had a glass of local wine and fall in love with it immediately. Veneto wine region, in the northeast corner of Italy, is probably where a wine lover gets to know Italian wine from the very beginning.
Veneto wine region is smaller than Tuscany, Piedmont, Puglia, and Sicilia, but it produces more wine. It is well covered by plain land and valleys. To the north, there are the Alps which bring cool air and pure mountain springs. To the south, the beautiful Adriatic Sea channels in from the Romantic city, Venice. Lago di Garda and “little string” Adige River extend till its neighbor region, Trentino. The hills and valleys fill up wherever they can find a spot.
Amarone, Pinot Grigio, Soave, and Prosecco, those must-know Veneto wines push the Veneto wine region to the top in Italy, as the biggest production region in Italy.
Amarone, with the famous “Appassimento” wine making technique, represents a unique style of highly concentrated, powerful, and long ageing potential wine. Pinot Grigio and Soave, one is named after the grape variety, the other is after its village. Both are the two-signature dry and refreshing white wines from the Veneto wine region. Prosecco, made mainly with Glera grapes, is the most accessible sparkling wine. From Brut to off-dry, drinking alone, or making a cocktail, it simply makes you happy.
However, the Veneto wine region has much more than this. What it is offering “hiddenly” might not make it the Veneto wine region you know.
Already known Amarone and Soave, Veneto wine region says, you might not!
Valpolicella and Amarone is the light-and-heavy combo of Valpolicella village in the Veneto wine region. However, in the center of Valpolicella, the local winemakers are making amazing wines with international blends (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Pinot Noir,… you name it). Zymé is one of those “weird” wineries. Its founder and winemaker, Celestino Gaspari, learned and worked along with Giuseppe Quintarelli (yes, the ultra-famous Quintarelli you are thinking) for decades. Yet, when it was his time to shine, he expressed his talent and passion through his amazing IGTs. A blend of 15 grapes cultivated and selected accordingly to each vintage, each sip gives you another “doubt” of what’s inside a 750ml bottle.
Many know Pinot Grigio and Soave are simple white wine. However, few top producers from Soave can show you the true face of the Garganega grape. Thanks to the owner of Pieropan, Andrea, who has shown me the complexity of the aged Soave wine, I had a vertical wine tasting from two Soave Classico territories with different soil types, harvest timing, and ageing conditions. A 2010 Soave DOC La Rocca threw me straight to a bucket of flower, honey, dried apricot, and nuts. It is purely “medication”.
Lago di Garda and Valdadige of Veneto wine region has these lovely guys
When talking about the Veneto wine region, we might overlook its northwest side, where lays Lago di Garda, Monte Bardo, and Adige River. Bardolino from Lago di Garda is more known as the lightest red wine in Italy. It has something recalling the Valpolicella wine, but much lighter and fresher, almost like a Rosé. Some called it Italy’s “Beaujolais”.
Along Monte Bardo and Adige River, Valdadige is the name of the endless valley. The mountains are soaring into the clouds, but I can barely open my eyes from the sunlight reflection of the Adige River, even in winter. I visited Roeno, a boutique winery squeezes in between the mountain and riverbank. They have shown me Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling. It was like an afternoon tea with honey and fruits in a flower garden.
Veneto wine region has Moscato?
We know Veneto wine region offers tons of Prosecco every year, but you might have never tried a bottle of Moscato from there. Colli Euganei is a mini DOCG region in central Veneto with a volcano soil type. There, a two-hands-can-count number of micro wineries are preserving the ancient Moscato Giallo grape and making the different Moscato wines. The winery I visited a long time ago is Maeli and brought back a few bottles of 2018’s “Fior d’Arancio”. Last December I opened the last bottle of my stock, and I was wowed with its deeply developed honey, dried apricot, and marmalade-like characters in the bottle.
It seems unstoppable when talking about Italian wine, but let’s give it a pause. Now, you are in front of a different Veneto wine region, and that gives you a perfect excuse to go there again or for the first time.