Home to some of the great names of Italian wine, Veneto is a busy region of interesting DOC wines and quality minded producers.
The most famous wine in the Veneto is Amarone della Valpolicella, a rich, full bodied red famed for its production process. Corvina and Rondinella grapes are picked from the Valpolicella area and are left to dry for up to three months, leaving small but sweet wines. These are then pressed giving a much heavier wine that often surpasses 15% in alcohol. The best are great but there are plenty of pretenders.
It’s to the west of the region where there is plenty of value to be found. Bardolino in particular is a small red wine area on the edge of Lake Garda. Made from blending Corvina and Rondinella, it is a light and fruity wine that can provide plenty of exciting mineral quality.
White wines here generally come from the excellent Lugana DOC zone. Important names such as Zenato and Tomassi have invested here and the future looks very bight. The Turbiana grape variety produces tropical wines with interesting floral aromas. Custoza also offers great value white wines.
To the north of the region, around the town of Treviso, the rolling hills of the Prosecco growing area undulate their way towards the . The best Prosecco comes from the Cartizze hills, but there are a growing number of producers that are trying to create a more authentic Prosecco experience. Some are even producing a natural and unfiltered version.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG is the key appellation for premium Prosecco. Established in 2009, it delineates the original DOC territory, marking the area between the towns of Valdobbiadene in the west and Conegliano in the east. The hill of Cartizze is the most important site and produces wines labelled Superiore di Cartizze. The appellation’s Rive system has identified 43 distinctive vineyard plots that can be considered ‘cru’.
Soave Superiore is a dry white DOCG wine made from Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave grown in the hills just north of the town of Soave in North East Italy. It builds on the previously established Soave DOC but introduces new criteria to help maintain quality.
Created in 2010, Venezia DOC is a relatively new appellation designed to showcase the winemaking territory in the immediate vicinity of Venice. Here, calcareous, clayey, loamy, and gravelly soils can impart distinctive characteristics to wines produced from Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Merlot.
Ca’ dei Zago is a small family farm of 6.5 hectares in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene appellation producing Prosecco wines in the traditional Col Fondo style. Christian and Marika represent the 5th generation of the Zago family to farm their vines. Today the approach is biodynamic.
Colli di Conegliano covers still red and white wines made in the rolling hills of Conegliano, best known for its Prosecco production. The first official vintage of the appellation was 2012 and the wines can be made with a large range of local and international grape varieties.
Colli Euganei DOC is home to distinctive volcanic terroir. Reds are often produced using blends of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc while whites can be made using a number of varieties including Chardonnay, Manzoni Bianco and Moscato Giallo.
Lison-Pramaggiore is a DOC production area located to the North East of Venice. It was created in 1974 and today allows for white and red wines from a number of international grapes as well as Verduzzo and Refosco. The white Friulano for which the area was celebrated is best enjoyed through the breakaway Lison DOCG appellation.
Malanotte del Piave was granted DOCG status in 2010 after breaking away from the Piave DOC and today represents the best expressions of the red Raboso grape. At least 15% of the wine must undergo appassimento, and maturation must take place over at least three years before release.
Montello DOCG, or more specifically Montello Rosso DOCG was created in 2011 when the wines of the Montello e Colli Asolani DOC went alone. Produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Carmenère, these wines can be interesting, although there is not much of it and it’s not easy to find.
Montello-Colli Asolani DOC is a relatively old appellation, created in 1977, for white and red wines made in the hills around Montello and Asolani. A range of different grape varieties can be cultivated, and although producer preference is for still wines, traditional method sparkling wines can also be made from Chardonnay and, or Pinot Bianco.
Piave DOC was created in 1971 for wines produced around the Venetian town of Piave. The best wines from the local red grape Raboso Piave are now bottled under the DOCG Malanotte del Piave appellation, so the majority of Piave wines are now made from a combination of international grapes and other local names such as Verduzzo, Manzoni Bianco, Raboso Veronese.
Prosecco is one of the most famous sparkling wines in the world and can be found at various levels of quality. In general terms, the more serious wines are often found in the villages of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene while the more inexpensive wines are produced on the plains for Veneto and are bottled simply as Prosecco. The wines are light and crisp and range from dry to off dry.
Vigneti della Serenissima DOC, sometimes shortened to Serenissima DOC is tiny little appellation established in 2011. There is not currently any production here. In theory however it can produce sparkling wines from either Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and / or Pinot Nero.
Dal Maso is a modern winery based in the Gambellara DOC, where they also produce red wines from the Colli Berici DOC as well as sparkling Lessini Durello DOC. Under the ownership of Nicola dal Maso, together with his sisters Anna and Silvia, they have a growing reputation for making good quality wines.
Roberto Anselmi is one of the top producers in the Soave area of Veneto. In order to achieve greater flexibility to produce the style of wines he would like to make, the Soave and Valpolicella classifications have been dropped and his wines are labelled using the local IGP classification. Regardless, in Soave, his vineyards occupy some of the high quality cru site such as Foscarino and Croce.