Veneto is a substantial and increasingly important wine region in the north-eastern corner of Italy. Although smaller than Italy’s other main wine-producing regions, it still manages to generate more wine than any other, gaining recognition with such wines as Valpolicella, Amarone, Soave and Prosecco. With fruity red Valpolicella complementing its intense Amarone and sweet Recioto counterparts, Veneto is armed with a formidable red-wine portfolio to complement its sparkling Prosecco (an affordable and idiosyncratic alternative to Champagne) and refreshing whites from Soave.
Today more than 25% of the region’s wine is made and sold under DOC/DOCG titles. Just east of Lake Garda and north of Verona is Valpolicella: the fabled ‘Valley of Many Cellars’ produces half a million hectoliters of fruity red wine every vintage. In terms of production volume, Valpolicella is the only DOC to rival Tuscany’s famous Chianti. Immediately east of Valpolicella is Soave, home to the eponymous dry white wine which now ranks among Italy’s most famous products.
Garganega and Trebbiano are the key white-wine grape varieties here, while Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella are behind the vast majority of reds.International varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Nero have proved successful here, as has northern Italy’s flagship white Pinot Grigio.
In the north-eastern corner of the region sparkling Prosecco reigns supreme around the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Still wines are also made here (such as Lison-Pramaggiore), but the common factor which unites almost all viticultural zones in north-eastern Veneto is the Glera grape (typically known as Prosecco), and the foaming spumante and semi-sparkling frizzante wines it creates. Prosecco has grown exponentially in fame over the past decade as a cheaper and frutier alternative to Champagne.