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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95 points James Suckling: A beautifully crafted and focused red with dark-berry and walnut character. Full-bodied and very polished with a deep, silky tannin structure and a long, long finish. Drink or hold. (1/22/19) ...
JS 95
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Campagnola Amarone della Valpollicella Classico 2015  (#333936)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

95 points James Suckling: A beautifully crafted and focused red with dark-berry and walnut character. Full-bodied and very polished with a deep, silky tannin structure and a long, long finish. Drink or hold. (1/22/19)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 11 available
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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

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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
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92 points James Suckling: A very classic Soave with fresh-peach and candied-citrus notes. The balance between moderate acidity and creamy ripeness on the medium-to full-bodied palate is spot-on. Bright, slightly mineral finish. Screw cap. (11/25/18) ...
JS 92
DE 90
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Pieropan Soave Classico 2017  (#333795)

Other White Blends from Veneto, Italy

92 points James Suckling: A very classic Soave with fresh-peach and candied-citrus notes. The balance between moderate acidity and creamy ripeness on the medium-to full-bodied palate is spot-on. Bright, slightly mineral finish. Screw cap. (11/25/18)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
Bele Casel is a small, artisanal winery which makes its Prosecco with fruit grown in the subdistricts of Santo Stefano and Sacol, largely considered the best source of Prosecco in the Valdobbiadene region. 87 points Fine Wine Review: ...this is the closest I have come to the holy grail. This wine is… ...
FWR 87
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Bele Casel Prosecco NV  (#101814)

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

Bele Casel is a small, artisanal winery which makes its Prosecco with fruit grown in the subdistricts of Santo Stefano and Sacol, largely considered the best source of Prosecco in the Valdobbiadene region. 87 points Fine Wine Review: ...this is the…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
Originally made as an accident, the sweet white wine made from botrytis-affected grapes (Garganega, Trebbiano, Saorin) has only been released a few times. The gem is only created in great vintages and is then banished (as the name Bandito suggests) for a decade or so before making an appearance… ...
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Quintarelli IGT Veneto Passito Bianco Amabile del Cere 2007  (#333665)

Originally made as an accident, the sweet white wine made from botrytis-affected grapes (Garganega, Trebbiano, Saorin) has only been released a few times. The gem is only created in great vintages and is then banished (as the name Bandito suggests)…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 2 available
Recioto made the Valpolicella region famous well before Amarone. The most perfect grapes are dried, creating this intensely flavored, long-lasting elixir that is one of the world’s finest 'closers.' This vintage-of-the-decade bottling is named in honor of Roberto Ferrarini, Giuseppe Quintarelli’s… ...
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Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella Classico A Roberto 2007  (#333670)

Dessert Wine from Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG, Veneto, Italy

Recioto made the Valpolicella region famous well before Amarone. The most perfect grapes are dried, creating this intensely flavored, long-lasting elixir that is one of the world’s finest 'closers.' This vintage-of-the-decade bottling is named in…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 1 available
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

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,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
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87 points Wine Enthusiast: White flower and ripe pear aromas segue over to the racy palate along with tart apple and a hint of medicinal herb. It's crisp, with brisk acidity, while a note of bitter almond marks the close. Alcohol 11%. (Dec 2017) ...
WE 87
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Mionetto Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Luxury Collection NV  (#318591)

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

87 points Wine Enthusiast: White flower and ripe pear aromas segue over to the racy palate along with tart apple and a hint of medicinal herb. It's crisp, with brisk acidity, while a note of bitter almond marks the close. Alcohol 11%. (Dec 2017)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
$16.95
$19.00
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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

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)

1.5L Magnum | Pre-arrival, 1 available
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Light yellow color. Delicate and gentle nose of sweet field flowers: camomile, elder, iris. Minced palate with sweet almond aftertaste. Pairs well with risotto, white fish, and raw fish. Not yet reviewed; 2016 vintage rated 92 points by James Suckling: Aromas of sliced green apple and lemon with… ...
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Inama Soave Classico Vin Soave 2017  (#333093)

Other White Wines from Veneto, Italy

Light yellow color. Delicate and gentle nose of sweet field flowers: camomile, elder, iris. Minced palate with sweet almond aftertaste. Pairs well with risotto, white fish, and raw fish. Not yet reviewed; 2016 vintage rated 92 points by James…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
A medium-bodied, youthful wine that offers aromas and flavors of sweet plums, black cherries and dark berries. Food Pairing: First courses and risottos, red meats, roasts, white meats and poultry in general, toasted polenta with herring, mature cheeses. Tenuta Sant'Antonio's commitment to the… ...
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Tenuta Sant'Antonio Scaia Veneto IGT (Corvina) 2015  (#333684)

Other Red Wines from Veneto, Italy

A medium-bodied, youthful wine that offers aromas and flavors of sweet plums, black cherries and dark berries. Food Pairing: First courses and risottos, red meats, roasts, white meats and poultry in general, toasted polenta with herring, mature…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
92 points James Suckling: An extremely floral red with a wealth of blueberry, dried strawberry and orange peel on the nose. Full body, polished tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Always excellent. Drink now. (10/20/17) ...
JS 92
WE 90
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Masi Verona Campofiorin 2014  (#333714)

Other Red Blends from Veneto, Italy

92 points James Suckling: An extremely floral red with a wealth of blueberry, dried strawberry and orange peel on the nose. Full body, polished tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Always excellent. Drink now. (10/20/17)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$15.95
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