Italian Wine Regions - Quattrocalici
Table of Contents for the Veneto Region
The Veneto Wine Region
Main Article Contents
- 1 The territory and the wines of Veneto
- 2 Viticulture in Veneto
- 3 The History of Viticulture in the Veneto region
- 4 The grape varieties of the Veneto region
- 5 The wine production areas in Veneto
- 6 The Denominations of Origin of Veneto
- 7 The regional cuisine of Veneto
The territory and the wines of Veneto
In Veneto there are large mountains, alpine and pre-alpine ranges, extensive hill areas and an extensive flat area that covers almost 60% of the total surface of the region. The mountainous area covers 26% of the reason, while the hilly areas represent 14%. The presence of the mountain ranges and the vast plain area means create considerable temperature variations between summer and winter, which are mitigated near Garda Lake and in the coastal and flat area, particularly during the torrid summer season. Veneto contends the place as the first Italian region in terms of wine production (by volume). Among the wines produced in Veneto, worldwide famous are Amarone, Recioto, Soave, Prosecco, Valpolicella and Bardolino. One of the reasons for the great success of Veneto in the enological field is its heritage of native varieties, among which the white berry Garganega, Trebbiano di Soave and Glera and with black berry Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Raboso. The other reason is the territorial diversity, with areas characterized by alluvial or volcanic soils, with hilly or flat areas, which allow the production of wines of different types, from light and drinkable to more bodied and demanding ones.
Viticulture in Veneto
Veneto is the leading wine producer region in Italy in terms of quantity. Its vineyards cover an area of over 185,000 acres, 60% of which in the plains and 40% in the hills, with a limited percentage of mountain viticulture. In such a multifaceted landscape even the vine-growing methods follow in part the tradition (Pergola Trentina or Veronese, Belussi in the Venice and Treviso provinces and Capuccina in the Valdobbiadene area), while all most modern vineyards use Sylvoz and Casarsa.
The History of Viticulture in the Veneto region
The presence of vines in Veneto dates back to pre-Roman times even if only from the seventh century BC the first written quotations are available on the wines of this area, made by, among others, Columella and Pliny the Elder. The Acinatico was the passito of the Romans, ancestor of Recioto (of Soave, Gambellara and Valpolicella). After the barbaric invasions, viticulture in Veneto came to a stand until the rise of the commercial power of Venice, which on the one hand allowed the export of Venetian wines to other countries, but on the other also the import of wines coming from distant countries, like Greece and Cyprus. In the middle of the 1500s the wines from the areas of Treviso, Vicenza and Valpolicella started to become famous. The first studies about the characteristics of the land and the grape varieties that best suited it date back to the 1800s. Towards the middle of the 1800s, oidium, followed by peronospora and finally phylloxera meant another dark era for viticulture in Veneto. Those hard times also laid the foundations for the following rebirth of viticulture, even if the real recovery of enology began in Veneto only after 1950 and growers began to understand the strategic importance of quality, a process that gave the first results over the years ’90 and still continues today.
The grape varieties of the Veneto region
Moving from east to west, the areas of Colline del Garda Veronese and Valpolicella are characterized by the cultivation of black berry grapes such as Corvina, Rondinella and Molilnara, from which Bardolino and Valpolicella wines are made. Across the provinces of Verona and Mantua the area of Lugana, a white wine made from Trebbiano di Soave grape, locally known as Turbiana or Trebbiano di Lugana. Between the Lessini Mountains and the Berici Hills the Soave and Gambellara areas, known for white wines made from Garganega grapes. The Berici Hills are known for the red wines, from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tocai Rosso grapes. The latter is genetically close to Cannonau or Grenache. The foothill area of the Vicenza is also known for the native variety Vespaiola and the Torcolato di Breganze sweet wine. In the Padova province on the Euganean Hills, mainly international red grapes and Moscato giallo, with Moscato Fiori d’Arancio DOCG sweet sparkling wine. Tn the southern flat area the Friularo grpae, local name for Raboso Piave, typical of the Treviso province. Treviso is also the original wine area for Prosecco (a grape named now Glera), the most important Italian sparkling wine district, nowadays covering almost the whole north-eastern Italy.
The wine production areas in Veneto
The most famous red wines in the Veneto are those from Valpolicella, first of all Amarone. Amarone is produced with dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes, same as for Recioto. Unlike Recioto, however, Amarone is a dry wine. Amarone can be considered a wine derived from Recioto, where the fermentation was total, leaving only slight residual sugars. The technique of “ripasso” is used to give more body and softness to red Valpolicella. It consists in “repassing” the Valpolicella wine in the marc of Recioto or Amarone, so that the fermentation starts again, giving the wine more structure and aromas.
Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Montello-Colli Asolani
Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area and Montello-Colli Asolani area are worldwide famous for the production of Prosecco. The name was once referred to the grape variety but today it indicates a protected designation of origin (PDO) wine, while the variety has been renamed Glera (an old synonym of Slovenian origin) starting from 2009. The Prosecco wine is produced with the Charmat batch refermentation system, suitable for preserving the aromatic prpreties of the grape. The Prosecco Superiore of Cartizze takes its name from a locality near San Pietro in Barbozza, in the municipality of Valdobbiadene. The Prosecco Superiore of Cartizze area is a hilly strip of about one three hundred acres, entirely covered with vineyards. The area of Montello-Colli Asolani is also famous for its red wines based mainly on Cabernet, Merlot and Carmenère.
Soave and Recioto di Soave
Soave area is located near Verona further east of Valpolicella. Here the most famous white wines of Veneto are produced with the indigenous grapes Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave. The classical area includes only two municipalities, Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone with the best white wines of this DOC. The Soave Superiore typology is awarded the DOCG designation. Also the Recioto di Soave is a DOCG. It’s produced with Garganega grapes dried for about six months before vinification, giving a sweet wine with wide nose smell and notes of dried apricot, citrus and honey, perfect with dry pastries or as a meditation wine.
Colli Euganei, Colli Berici and Breganze
The Euganean Hills, in the Padua province give white, red and sparkling wines, of which the most interesting is the Fior d’Arancio, particularly the passito version, produced with Moscato Giallo grapes. The Serprino is a local clone of the Glera, produced above all as sparkling wine. The red wines of the Euganean Hills are generally produced with Merlot, Cabernet, Raboso and Barbera grapes. Other white wines are produced with Tocai Italico, Pinot Bianco, Moscato giallo, Garganega, Riesling, Sauvignon and Pinella grapes. The Berici Hills are known for the autochthonous Tocai Rosso grape, a local clone of the french Grenache. It has its highest expression in the Rosso di Barbarano typology. In Breganze, in the province of Vicenza, white and red wines are produced, and also the famous Torcolato, a passito wine produced with Vespaiola grapes.
Other Production Areas
Among the other important production areas in Veneto to be mentioned is Bardolino, whose wines are generally produced with the same grapes of Valpolicella, however with different results in terms of structure and intensity. The Bardolino Superiore was granted the DOCG qualification. Bianco di Custoza wine is produced with a blend of different grapes of which the most important are Trebbiano Toscano, Garganega and Bianca Fernanda, a local clone of Cortese. Gambellara, in the province of Vicenza, produces Recioto di Gambellara, a raisin wine from Garganega grapes and the rarest Vin Santo. Three DOC wine areas of Veneto are shared with Lombardy: Lugana, San Martino della Battaglia and Garda. Raboso is on the other hand the undisputed protagonist of the Piave DOC wine area. It is a grape rich in tannins and acidity, from which interesting and robust red wines are made.
The Denominations of Origin of Veneto
Moving from east to west, in the area of Colline del Garda Veronese and Valpolicella, Bardolino Superiore DOCG and the wines from Valpolicella, as Amarone DOCG. Lugana DOC is located between the provinces of Verona and Mantua. On the volcanic hills between the provinces of Verona and Vicenza the areas of Soave Superiore DOCG, Soave DOC and Gambellara DOC. The DOC Colli Berici is located just south of Vicenza, known for red wines based on international grapes and the authoctonous Tocai Rosso (Tai Rosso and Rosso di Barbarano wines). The area of the DOC Breganze is to the north of Vicenza, known for its red wines and a white one based on the Vespaiola grape. In the Padua area the Euganean Hills with the DOCG Moscato Fior d’Arancio, while more south in the plains, the Friularo di Bagnoli DOCG. In the Treviso province we the DOCGs for Prosecco (Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG and Asolo DOCG) and the Colli di Conegliano DOCG. At the borders with Friuli region the Lison DOCG, former DOC Lison Pramaggiore. In Veneto there alltogether 14 DOCG, 28 DOC and 10 IGT (see maps and tables below). To protect the agri-food products, 14 PDOs, among which we highlight the Veneto Euganeo-Berico PDO Prosciutto, the Sopressa Vicentina DOP, and furtehr 15 IGPs.
The regional cuisine of Veneto
Veneto owes its traditional cuisine to the Serenissima Vernice ancient Republic and to the variety of products that its businesses have contributed to spread throughout the territory. Among the appetizers we remember the sardine in saor (fried sardines with onion, seasoned with vinegar, sugar and accompanied with pine nuts and raisins) and the boiled granseola (crab served with garlic, oil and parsley) as well as the numerous PDO and PGI salamis. Among the pastas, bigoli (egg spaghetti) are served with traditional sauces such as arna (duck), sardea (sardines) or luganega (sausage). The Cansunziei are ravioli with pumpkin or spinach and cooked ham or chard served with melted butter or smoked ricotta. The sopa coada is a pigeon pie with a rather dry consistency, so much so that sometimes it is accompanied by a cup of boiling broth to be consumed separately or poured over it. Many rice dishes including risi e bisi (boiled rice with peas), rice and cabbage soup as well as many risottos. Great variety even among the main courses, frequently accompanied by the ever-present polenta (boiled cornmeal cream). Other fish recipes are Bacalà alla Vicentina (Vicenza-style cod, cooked with oil, milk, garlic, anchovies and onions) and stewed cuttlefish while among the meat dishes we the faraona in tecia (stewed chicken) the Venetian liver (with onions , oil, butter, salt and parsley), the torresani (pigeons) on the spit and the pastissada de caval (horse stew) of the Verona area. There are also many vegetables and the cheeses with denomination of origin, among which we the white Aparagus of Bassano dop, the Asiago and the Monte Veronse dop cheeses, and many others. Among the desserts the famous Pandoro di Verona, the fritòle (pancakes) the Venetian Galani (fried chatter sprinkled with sugar) and the zalèti (cookies from cornmeal and raisins).