Valpolicella: characteristics and wines of this extraordinary region - Vianello Wines

Valpolicella Classico and Surroundings: Everything you should know about this Wine Region and its Products


Valpolicella Classico and Surroundings: Everything you should know about this Wine Region and its Products

Valpolicella Classico is one of Italy’s most renowned red wines. Have you ever wondered about the origin of its name and what distinguishes this region and its wines?

Our blog post provides all the essential information that you, as a specialist retailer or a major customer, should know. Sometimes, sharing a bit of the story behind the wine can enhance the customer’s experience.

From Valpolicella classico to Valpolicella Valpantena

“Valpolicella,” nestled at the base of the Veronese Prealps, is characterized by a picturesque landscape of rolling hills and serene valleys. This area is renowned for producing the most important red wines in the Italian wine tradition, including Valpolicella Superiore DOC, Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore DOC, Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG, and Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG. Each of these wines possesses a unique character, meriting a closer examination to truly appreciate their splendor.

The Etymological Origin of Valpolicella

The precise origins of the name “Valpolicella” is not completely clear. One interpretation traces back to the original term “Vallis Polis Cellae,” meaning “valley of many cellars.” This interpretation highlights the region’s deep-rooted wine culture.

Other theories propose that the name derives from ancient Greek, translating to “land of many fruits” or “land of wonders.” These interpretations emphasize the richness and value of the region, its fertility, and bountifulness, factors that still continue to contribute to the production of top-quality wines. 

Regardless of the name’s exact roots, it resonates well with the exceptional wines of the area and adds a touch of history when engaging with customers.

Characteristics and Peculiarities of the Valpolicella Area

The Valpolicella region, spanning 240 square kilometers, is largely hilly and encompasses 19 municipalities. This includes five in the traditional “classico” DOC zone and 14 in the expanded DOC area. The wine-growing zones are historically categorized as follows:

Valpolicella Classica: Dating back to the 5th century BC and cultivated since the 1st century BC, this is the oldest wine-growing region. It stretches from the foothills to the valleys intersecting the Lessinia plateau from north to south. All Valpolicella classico wines originate from here.

Valpolicella Estesa: Formed due to the eastward expansion of Valpolicella Classica to cater to growing national and international demand, this area includes valleys with similar features to the Classica region. These valleys include Valpantena, Val Squaranto, Valle di Mezzane, Val d’Illasi, and Val Tramigna.

The region’s climate is mild and temperate, with Lake Garda’s influence ensuring gentle temperature fluctuations. In the hills, temperatures are higher with more significant fluctuations and frequent rainfall.

The soil varies greatly across different areas, influencing the unique characteristics of the wines:

  • The mountainous area of ​​the Lessini Mountains features sedimentary rocks and limestone soils.
  • The hilly belt in which most vineyards are located, with fine, gravelly deposits of sedimentary rock.
  • The alluvial valley floor boasts diverse soils, ranging from loamy and clayey in some parts to loamy and stony in others.

Valpolicella Wines: Fresh and Strong in Character

Valpolicella wines are traditionally crafted using a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grape varieties. Corvina forms the predominant component, harmoniously balanced with the other varieties.

The wines produced by the Bennati winery adhere to this tradition.

What Characterizes the Different Valpolicella DOC Wines?

Valpolicella wines, crafted in the classic style, are known for their freshness and fruitiness and are typically enjoyed young. Notable examples include the Valpolicella DOC from the Cornalè line and the Valpolicella Superiore DOC from the Bennati winery.

The “Superiore” designation in Valpolicella wines signifies a higher quality, achieved by meeting numerous stringent quality criteria.

These criteria give rise to exceptional red wines that are fruity, soft, and elegant. A prime example is the Valpolicella Superiore DOC – 100° Anniversario from the Bennati winery, embodying the finesse and quality of superior Valpolicella.

The Valpolicella Wine Specialties

Valpolicella wines are also renowned due to some special creations unique to the Valpolicella region. These include the premium wines Amarone, Ripasso, and Recioto, known for their intensity, full-bodied nature, and fruitiness.

Each of these three red wine specialties is defined by its unique production process. Amarone is notable for its intense aroma, achieved by drying high-quality grapes. Ripasso undergoes an additional fermentation process on the pomace used for Amarone production. Recioto, often referred to as the “grandfather of Amarone,” is essentially a sweeter version of Amarone.

Casa Vinicola Bennati, a traditional winery, has been producing exceptional Valpolicella wines and specialties since 1920.

A must-have in their collection is the Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG, which impresses with its harmonious blend of delicacy and strength, along with its rich, intensely fruity aromas.

Among our bestsellers is the Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore DOC, affectionately known as Baby Amarone. It is celebrated for its intense cherry aroma rounded off by hints of vanilla and cocoa. This wine offers an outstanding price-performance ratio and taste experience, making it a favorite in specialty retail stores, fine restaurants, and wine bars.

If you’re interested in exploring our Valpolicella wines and considering them for your selection, don’t hesitate to contact us. Click here and get advice without obligation.

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