The Wine Region of Valpolicella

Dec 1, 2023by Andrew Lowry

Valpolicella, located in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, just to the east of beautiful Lake Garda, is renowned for its exceptional wines many of which can be a great value in America. With a rich winemaking history that dates back centuries, Valpolicella offers a diverse range of wines that showcase the unique terroir of the region. In this blog post, we will explore the various DOCs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and DOCGs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) of Valpolicella and delve into the requirements for making wine in each appellation.

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Valpolicella DOC

The Valpolicella DOC is the most basic appellation in the region. It covers a vast area and allows for the production of a wide range of wines. To be labeled as Valpolicella DOC, the wine must be made from at least 45% Corvina Veronese, 5-30% Rondinella, and up to 25% other approved red grape varieties. The remaining percentage can be made up of non-aromatic red grape varieties. The aging requirements for Valpolicella DOC wines are minimal, with no specific aging period mandated.

Valpolicella Classico DOC

The Valpolicella Classico DOC is a subzone within the Valpolicella DOC, encompassing the original historic winemaking area. The requirements for making red and white wines in Valpolicella Classico DOC are the same as those for Valpolicella DOC. However, the Valpolicella Classico wines are often considered to be of higher quality due to the unique characteristics (terrior) of the Classico subzone.

Valpolicella Superiore DOC

The Valpolicella Superiore DOC is a step up from the basic Valpolicella DOC. To qualify for this appellation, the wine must have a minimum alcohol content of 12%, undergo a minimum aging period of one year, and be made from grapes grown in the Valpolicella Classico subzone. The blend requirements are the same as those for Valpolicella DOC.

Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG

Amarone della Valpolicella is the most prestigious wine of the region. It is made using a unique winemaking technique called appassimento, where the grapes are dried for several months before fermentation. This process concentrates the flavors and sugars in the grapes, resulting in a rich, full-bodied wine. To be labeled as Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG, the wine must be made from at least 45% Corvina Veronese, 5-30% Rondinella, and up to 25% other approved red grape varieties. The aging requirements for Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG are a minimum of two years, with at least four years for the Riserva designation.

Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG

Recioto della Valpolicella is a sweet wine made from dried grapes, similar to Amarone. However, the fermentation process is stopped earlier, leaving residual sugar in the wine. To be labeled as Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG, the wine must be made from at least 40% Corvina Veronese, 20-60% Rondinella, and up to 25% other approved red grape varieties. The aging requirements for Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG are a minimum of two years, with at least four years for the Riserva designation.


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