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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90 points Wine Spectator: Rich hints of tarry smoke, coffee liqueur and licorice snap accent the baked cherry and fig cake flavors of this expressive, medium- to full-bodied red. Lightly chewy, aromatic finish. Drink now through 2023. (2017) ...

WS 90
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Righetti Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Capitel de' Roari 2013  (#331611)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 6 available
$16.95
$20.00
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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

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$13.95
$17.00
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92 points James Suckling: Aromas of sliced green apple and lemon with stone and mineral undertones. Medium to full body, fresh acidity and a clean and bright finish. A go-to Soave as always. Drink now. Screw cap. (10/20/17) ...

JS 92
V 91
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Inama Soave Classico Vin Soave 2016  (#331160)

Other White Wines from Veneto, Italy

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available

This is Righetti s reserve Amarone. Well-balanced with dark fruit flavors, earth and meaty components. Aromas of black cherry and prunes joined by beefy and earthy notes. Moves along the palate nicely with a mix of dark and dried fruit with some meatiness on the finish. Elegant but exhibiting good… ...

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Righetti Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Capitel de' Roari 2012  (#326935)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$15.95
$20.00
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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

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
$34.95
$40.00
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Robb Report: The house of Giuseppe Quintarelli is one of Valpolicella s most legendary producers. They don t release a Riserva very often, and when they do, it s something quite extraordinary--like the 2007 vintage, already the stuff of legend. It has 'dried fruits with a rich, velvety mouthfeel… ...

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Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2007  (#331280)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 2 available
$1350.00

92 points Monica Larner (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Vigneto Giardino Rive di Colbertaldo Dry is a delightful wine that fulfills all the promises of this informal Italian sparkler. This wine pleases all the senses thanks to bright aromas of peach and pear with light… ...

WA 92
WE 90
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Adami Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Giardino Rive Colbertaldo 2016  (#331218)

Vintage Sparkling Wine from Prosecco DOCG, Veneto, Italy

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

Known as the Master of the Veneto, Giuseppe Quintarelli makes some of the world s most sought-after wines. His Bianco Secco Ca' del Merlo is a blend of Chardonnay, Garganega, Sauvignon Blanc and Trebbiano. Gambero Rosso called this wine robust, mouthwatering. ...

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Quintarelli Bianco Secco Ca' del Merlo 2016  (#331295)

Other White Blends from Veneto, Italy

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available

86 points Wine Enthusiast: Fun and refreshing, this frothy sparkler opens with scents of spring flower and white stone fruit. The lively palate doles out creamy white peach and green apple alongside fresh acidity. Alcohol 11%. (Dec 2016) ...

WE 86
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Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821 Brut NV  (#328435)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Veneto, Italy

1.5L Magnum | Pre-arrival, 1 available
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92 points Monica Larner (Wine Advocate): The Masi 2012 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera is a plump and rich wine that portrays the opulent characteristics of this hot vintage. Dark blackberry is followed by sweet tobacco, baking spice, tar or resin. This beautiful Amarone glides… ...

WA 92
WS 91
W&S 90
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Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera 2012  (#330745)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

750ml Bottle | In stock, 8 available
WA 92
WS 91
W&S 90
$47.95
$80.00
Save $32.05 (40%)80.00
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Transparent garnet in the glass, this rare pure Corvina from within the Valpolicella zone is redolent of Bing cherries, orange peel, white chocolate, potpourri, and star anise. Brisk on the attack yet velvety in texture, it conveys suggestions of violets, lavender, and citrus peel notes wrapped… ...

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Monte Tondo Corvina Veneto 2015  (#328574)

Other Red Wines from Veneto, Italy

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

88 points Wine & Spirits: A crisp Prosecco with scents of almonds and rising bread dough, this feels luscious on the palate. Its rich marzipan sweetness cleans up in a tart green apple finish, balanced for aperitifs. (Aug 2014) ...

W&S 88
WE 87
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La Marca Extra Dry Prosecco di Conegliano NV  (#307602)

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

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$14.95
$17.00
Save $2.05 (12%)17.00
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