For gourmet travellers, there are regions of Italy that awaken the senses only by saying their name. One of these is Valpolicella, a continuous sensory experience in a Veneto region where the vineyard reigns supreme, and the blends are the treasure of a millenary tradition, cultivated with passion. The culture of Veneto wine is also one that is never satisfied, and that in tradition it seeks the resources for continuous improvement, a constant search for the best.
Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Rondinella and other local grapes are the most widespread blends of this area and also in the “disciplinare” (the set of rules that regulate wine production within the designations of origin) ofAmarone, one of the typical wines of the region, labelled DOCG since 2019 and right in the middle of a continuous refinement by the Valpolicella cellars.
The Recioto “Scappato Via”
According to tradition, however, Amarone was not born out of research but out of an irrecoverable mistake. The name apparently came from the exclamation of a certain Adelino Lucchese, head of the Valpolicella social cellar, during the tasting of a forgotten Recioto. Recioto, a sweet raisin wine produced in the area, escaped (“scappato“) from the winemakers, who let the fermentation go too far. Around two years later, Lucchese was amazed when – while tasting this forgotten wine – he was expecting a bitter taste instead of sweet, and said “this is not bitter, it’s amarone!“.
It’s hard to know if the story is true or if the Venetians just want to give a note of color to one of the most successful inventions of winemaking in the cellar. Even today, the variability of the DOCG blend percentages (always within the limits indicated by the disciplinary) is at the center of continuous experimentation with this rather young wine: Lucchesi’s exclamation dates back to 1936.
Sensory experience of Amarone tasting
The story of Adelino Lucchesi is often a cheerful story that accompanies the beginning of the heavenly sensory experience of tasting Amarone wine. The 15-16 degrees easily lead to oblivion, leaving room for the superb complexity of aromas and sensations on the palate. The winemaker explains that there are notes of cherry, black cherry, blackberry, coffee, chocolate, a unique fruity and spicy mix. Less expert wine lovers think of the green hills of Valpolicella, the bright colors and genuine emotions of the countryside, the cheerful company of the Venetians and their unmistakable dialect.
In Verona, a blind tasting experience really teaches you how to discover aromas, first by learning to recognize them enclosed in a box, and then by tasting the Amarone wine. A mix of surprise, discovery, curiosity and joy accompanied by a local sommelier is at the heart of this sensory journey.
Get lost in the rolling hills and cellars of Valpolicella
Valpolicella is traditionally divided into three areas. Tthe best known is probably the Valpolicella Classica, made up of five valleys, easily distinguishable thanks to the courses of the progni – small rivers that have their source in the Lessini Mountains – and the characteristics of the territory. From vineyards high on the hills of Valle di Sant’Ambrogio, exposed to the Garda climate, to San Pietro in Cariano, which delimits the classic area with the Adige river and is mainly flat, of alluvial origin. Cool currents characterize the Valle di Marano, to the north, with vineyards always looking for a southern exposure, rarely found by the more closed valley of Negrar, the one less exposed to the Garda climate.
Nella Valpantina, al centro della Valpolicella con vallate profonde, dominano gli ulivi e i terreni coltivati e nella valle del DOC, che sebbene sia dedita alla produzione di vini solo dagli anni ’70, è ora di primaria importanza nelle sue valli di Mezzane, Illasi e Cazzano di Tramigna.