Veneto, Italy, WINE

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In Italy's northeast, Veneto straddles the figurative line between the culturally Germanic north and the Roman center and south of the country. It ranks behind Italy's other major wine regions in terms of both geographic area and importance, yet it supercedes them all in terms of production levels. Throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century, Veneto has quietly but steadily ramped up its standards of quality, and with that has come an increase in prestige among aficionados and collectors.

The main driver of this qualitative advance has been the Valpolicella sub-region, which offers an array of red wine styles to please just about any palate. While standard Valpolicella DOC wines tend toward the lighter side, as fruity, everyday drinkers, quality conscious winemakers have begun using a variety of methods in the cellar which gave rise to the various stylistic terms now found on many of the region's labels. More selective site sourcing of fruit and restricted yields have helped differentiate Valpolicella Classico from the less geographically distinct, mass production areas of the region. The ripasso and passito winemaking methods have also lent sophistication to the basic blueprint of the wines. The latter of the two is the foundation for the region's greatest wines, those of the Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG. This designation requires the grapes to be dried before pressing, in order to concentrate the sugars, tannins, and phenolics. The results are worlds apart from basic Valpolicella, with heady, dense, almost sweet profiles and the structure to age gracefully for many years. The Valpolicello Ripasso DOCG denotes wines that have undergone a second fermentation in contact with used passito skins, which creates, in effect, a lighter, more approachable Amarone style of wine. Quality can still vary, but in a general sense, these styles have seen nothing but steady improvement over the past two decades or so.

The Veneto is also home to significant white grape cultivation, and the most famous style is arguably the world's most popular sparkling wine for volume consumption. Prosecco was once a catch-all term used liberally all over Italy, but since 2009 the name has been protected by DOC regulations and quality has consequently risen. Three DOCG sub-zones of Prosecco are now recognized, the finest of which, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, produces attractive, refreshing spumante and frizzante wines that offer great enjoyment for the price. Still white wine production in the Veneto is highlighted by the wines of Soave, made from the Garganega grape and perhaps Italy's most famous white wine DOC. As with red Chianti, production volume was such that in order to differentiate quality levels, separate DOCGs were formed with Superiore and Classico representing the apex and middle tiers, respectively.

Veneto has had its fair share of hurdles to overcome, notably indigenous varietals that require some degree of technical manipulation in the cellar, as well as broadly general geographic designations that require tightening. But the region is here to stay, and its recent track record suggests that there are only better things to come down the road.

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92 points James Suckling: A very classic Soave with fresh-peach and candied-citrus notes. The balance between moderate acidity and creamy ripeness on the medium-to full-bodied palate is spot-on. Bright, slightly mineral finish. Screw cap. (11/25/18) ...
JS 92
DE 90
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Pieropan Soave Classico 2017  (#333795)

Other White Blends from Veneto, Italy

92 points James Suckling: A very classic Soave with fresh-peach and candied-citrus notes. The balance between moderate acidity and creamy ripeness on the medium-to full-bodied palate is spot-on. Bright, slightly mineral finish. Screw cap. (11/25/18)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 10 available
95+ points Ian D'Agata (Vinous): Fully saturated inky ruby. Superb nuance and lift to the aromas of raspberry, kirsch, violet, licorice pastille and sweet spices. Wonderfully sappy and energetic in the mouth, with outstanding energy and lift to its red and darker fruit, floral and mineral flavors.… ...
V 95
WS 94
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Bussola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Vigneto Alto TB 2009  (#332954)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

95+ points Ian D'Agata (Vinous): Fully saturated inky ruby. Superb nuance and lift to the aromas of raspberry, kirsch, violet, licorice pastille and sweet spices. Wonderfully sappy and energetic in the mouth, with outstanding energy and lift to its…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$169.95
$200.00
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Light straw color. Fine, elegant, clean and intense aroma, dry flavor with pleasant green apple aftertaste. Lively, and easy to drink. Excellent as aperitif, hors d'oevres, seafood salads and fish dishes. Perfect with white meats and light meals. ...
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Campagnola Pinot Grigio Veneto 2016  (#330689)

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italy

Light straw color. Fine, elegant, clean and intense aroma, dry flavor with pleasant green apple aftertaste. Lively, and easy to drink. Excellent as aperitif, hors d'oevres, seafood salads and fish dishes. Perfect with white meats and light meals.

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
90 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: Bright, savory and so easy to drink, this charming red opens with a fragrance of freshly picked red berries and baking spices. Reflecting the nose, the fresh, polished palate doles out wild cherries, strawberries, cinnamon and white pepper framed in… ...
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Le Fraghe Bardolino 2016  (#332756)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

90 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: Bright, savory and so easy to drink, this charming red opens with a fragrance of freshly picked red berries and baking spices. Reflecting the nose, the fresh, polished palate doles out wild cherries,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$13.95
$17.00
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90+ points Ian D'Agata (Vinous): Bright pale straw. Green apples, pears and freshly cut flowers on the nose and palate, with complicating hints of powdered stone and ginger. Offers beautiful balance and a soft fruity mouth-feel while remaining energetic and focused on the long and creamy finish.… ...
V 90
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Jeio (Bisol) Prosecco Superiore Brut DOCG Valdobiadene NV  (#333490)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Prosecco DOCG, Veneto, Italy

90+ points Ian D'Agata (Vinous): Bright pale straw. Green apples, pears and freshly cut flowers on the nose and palate, with complicating hints of powdered stone and ginger. Offers beautiful balance and a soft fruity mouth-feel while remaining…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
Gran Passione is an appassimento style wine made from 60% Merlot and 40% Corvina grown in Italy's Veneto region, the area around Venice. Gran Passione has an intense purple color. It is full-bodied and rich with dark fruit flavors of blackberry and black cherry balanced by a solid structure due to… ...
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Gran Passione Veneto IGT Rosso 2017  (#332956)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

Gran Passione is an appassimento style wine made from 60% Merlot and 40% Corvina grown in Italy's Veneto region, the area around Venice. Gran Passione has an intense purple color. It is full-bodied and rich with dark fruit flavors of blackberry and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$11.95
$15.00
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Recioto made the Valpolicella region famous well before Amarone. The most perfect grapes are dried, creating this intensely flavored, long-lasting elixir that is one of the world’s finest 'closers.' This vintage-of-the-decade bottling is named in honor of Roberto Ferrarini, Giuseppe Quintarelli’s… ...
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Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella Classico A Roberto 2007  (#333670)

Dessert Wine from Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG, Veneto, Italy

Recioto made the Valpolicella region famous well before Amarone. The most perfect grapes are dried, creating this intensely flavored, long-lasting elixir that is one of the world’s finest 'closers.' This vintage-of-the-decade bottling is named in…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 2 available
91 points James Suckling: A firm and lightly chewy red with berry and walnut character and hints of chocolate. Medium body and a pretty finish. Drink now. (11/21/16) ...
JS 91
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Buglioni Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso il Bugiardo 2013  (#331467)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

91 points James Suckling: A firm and lightly chewy red with berry and walnut character and hints of chocolate. Medium body and a pretty finish. Drink now. (11/21/16)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$23.95
$28.00
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94 points James Suckling: A very rich and spicy nose of kirsch, sweet morello cherries, spice box, hazlenuts and vanilla beans with dried dark cherry cake and lots of cedar, too. Full body, sweet fruit, vibrant acidity, ripe and round tannins and a fruit-forward finish. Always excellent. Drink now. … ...
JS 94
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Dal Forno/Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2012  (#333510)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

94 points James Suckling: A very rich and spicy nose of kirsch, sweet morello cherries, spice box, hazlenuts and vanilla beans with dried dark cherry cake and lots of cedar, too. Full body, sweet fruit, vibrant acidity, ripe and round tannins and a…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
93 points James Suckling: What a delicious nose of brambleberries, vanilla, mocha-scented oak, spice box, plum liqueur, licorice and milk chocolate. Full-bodied and rich with plenty of dense fruit and fresh acidity that carries this to a long finish. Almost verges on too much but pulls back. Drink… ...
JS 93
WE 91
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Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2014  (#331669)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

93 points James Suckling: What a delicious nose of brambleberries, vanilla, mocha-scented oak, spice box, plum liqueur, licorice and milk chocolate. Full-bodied and rich with plenty of dense fruit and fresh acidity that carries this to a long finish.…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$18.95
$23.00
Save $4.05 (18%)23.00
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94 points Wine Enthusiast: Aromas of ripe stone fruit, hazelnut and tropical fruit emerge on this savory, structured white. Refined and full of flavor, the palate doles out juicy yellow peach, apricot and a hint of ginger, while almond lingers on the long finish. Alcohol 13%. (Feb 2018) ...
WE 94
V 92
WS 92
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Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca 2015  (#330715)

Other White Wines from Veneto, Italy

94 points Wine Enthusiast: Aromas of ripe stone fruit, hazelnut and tropical fruit emerge on this savory, structured white. Refined and full of flavor, the palate doles out juicy yellow peach, apricot and a hint of ginger, while almond lingers on the…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
$34.95
$40.00
Save $5.05 (13%)40.00
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Originally made as an accident, the sweet white wine made from botrytis-affected grapes (Garganega, Trebbiano, Saorin) has only been released a few times. The gem is only created in great vintages and is then banished (as the name Bandito suggests) for a decade or so before making an appearance… ...
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Quintarelli IGT Veneto Passito Bianco Amabile del Cere 2007  (#333664)

Dessert Wine from Veneto, Italy

Originally made as an accident, the sweet white wine made from botrytis-affected grapes (Garganega, Trebbiano, Saorin) has only been released a few times. The gem is only created in great vintages and is then banished (as the name Bandito suggests)…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
$465.00
$525.00
Save $60.00 (11%)525.00
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