It’s time to explore the wines of Veneto. Veneto is one of the three northeastern regions of Italy. Veneto, along with Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, combine to form Tre Venezie, which means Three Venices. According to Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, Tre Venezie is known for making “Italy’s most stylish, highest quality white wines, including some of the raciest sparkling wines,…[along with] a slew of fascinating reds.”
Veneto is possibly the most famous of all Italian regions due to its unique capital city, Venice. Unfortunately, Veneto got a hankering for commercialism pretty early on (in the 1960s), which led to the production of a lot of mass-produced wines for export. So most of its wines, especially those exported to the United States and Great Britain, are easy drinking and nothing to write home about. Nevertheless, there are a few wonderful wines that come from this region.
Here is a handy summary of the most popular native wines of Veneto:
|Soave||White||Garganega and Trebbiano||Most is mass produced and forgettable. Be on the lookout for “Soave Classico” or “Soave Classico Superiore”. When you find these, you’re likely to find a light, fresh, smooth and suave wine.|
|Valpolicella||Red||Mainly Corvina||This wine is made in a wide range of styles, from light and easy (and forgettable) to big and jammy and beautiful.|
|Bardolino||Red||Mainly Corvina||Light bodied with a lot of cherry notes, this wine is actually more pink than red.|
|Amarone||Red||Corvina||Big, bad, beautiful red made using the recioto method of picking the grapes late and then leaving them out to become partially raisined.|
|Prosecco||White (sparkling)||Prosecco||Dry and fruity. Uses the Charmat process instead of the Methode Champenoise process. In the first, the secondary fermentation happens in pressurized tanks. In the second, it happens in the bottles.|
The region also produces a number of non-native wines, including Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you’ve tasted any wines of Veneto, whether here or in Italy, I would love to hear about your experiences.