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VALPOLICELLA DOC

The wines of Valpolicella enjoyed great fame in the time of the Roman empire. The poet Virgil had great enthusiasm for it. Valpolicella's fame has grown rather than lessened since then.

 The wine is made from Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes (not less than 85% of the total), supplemented with not more than 15% Rossignola, Negrara, Trentina, Barbera, or Sangiovese. Like its neighbour in Bardolino, Valpolicella is light ruby in colour, tending towards an intense granite red as it ages.

The bouquet is fresh and fruity, sometimes with herbal notes. The taste is smooth, fruity, with a touch of spice, and dry, with a touch of roasted bitter almond in the finish. There are also Classico and Superiore versions (the latter has 1 % more alcohol and has been aged for an additional year). Drinking temperature is 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C).

 

RECIOTO DELLA VALPOLICELLA DOC

The Italian for 'ears' is 'orecchi' and its diminutive is 'recie' which is the name also given to the top of a bunch of grapes, or in other words the part ofthe bunch that receives most sun. Recioto wine is made from selected grapes.

The bunch is cut in two with the lower part of the bunch being used to make ordinary Valpolicella and the upper part – the recie or 'little ears'- are kept separate for further ripening in the sun. The liquid in the grapes partially evaporates so that the concentration of sugars, aromatic, and flavour substances is increased. The result is a deeply-coloured dark red wine with seductive and powerful fruity bouquet that suggest conserved fruit, prunes, figs, and raisins etc.), that is filled with extract. The taste is full of flavour, sensual, very warm (minimum alcohol 14%), and overwhelmingly sweet. Drink at between 50 and 60.8°F (10 and 16°C), according to preference.

 

RECIOTO DELLA VALPOLICELLA SPUMANTE DOC

This is a dark red sparkling wine with an intense bouquet (see above), filled with extract. This wine has minimum alcohol of 14% and is for those who enjoy sensation, or for a strong and sweet sparkler to accompany a dessert that is far less sweet. Drinking temperature is 42.8-46.4 °F (6-8°C).

 

RECIOTO DELLA VALPOLICELLA AMARONE DOC

This wine is made in the same way as the sweet Recioto della Valpolicella, but this is a dry version with minimum alcohol of 14% alcohol and an additional two years maturing before sale. Not everyone will enjoy this strong macho wine but for those who have the opportunity to eat wild boar that has been slowly roasted (in the oven or on the spit) this wine will contribute to an unforgettable evening. Drink at 60.8- 64.4°F (16- 18°C).

 

BIANCO DE CUSTOZA DOC

This wine from the area around Lake Garda is relatively unknown. The many tourists who have drunk this wine and found it enjoyable have somewhat flattered its status. Whether all Bianco di Custoza is of the same quality is another question entirely. The wine can be made from a very broad range of grapes, resulting in many different types of wine that vary in taste different. The wine-makers can choose from Trebbiano Toscano, Garganega, Tocai Priulano (Welsch Riesling), Cortese, Malvasia, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, and Riesling Italico, either as single grape or all blended together. At its best this produces a fulsome and aromatic wine with plenty of juice, body, and freshness that has a slight bitter note in its finish.

 At its worst it creates an extraordinarily poor and tasteless wine. Hopefully you will be lucky. Drinking temperature is 46.4- 53.6°F (8-12°C) depending on the type and taste. There is also a Bianco di Custozza Spumante, made with the same grapes and hence with the same caution about quality.

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