Veneto wine region

The north-eastern Italian region of Veneto is one of the most important wine producing regions in Italy.  Although not the largest in area, it produces more wine than any other.  It’s the home of Prosecco, Soave and Valpolicella, three very familiar Italian wine names.
Prosecco is a DOCG sparkling wine made from the grape Glera.  It has enjoyed immense popularity lately as an affordable, everyday alternative to Champagne.  Prosecco is generally dry and can be fully fizzy (spumante) or lightly fizzy (frizzante).  Most of it is made by the tank method, where the second fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks and the wine is then bottled under pressure.  Consequently it lacks the toasty autolytic flavours of bottle-fermented wines like Champagne and is known for its upfront primary fruit flavours of apple and pear.  The best region for Prosecco production is Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, just north of Venice.
The white wine Soave comes from a region to the east of Verona.  Much of it is fairly neutral, but the best examples from hillside sites can be excellent food-friendly whites akin to fine unoaked Chardonnay but with a distinctive almond flavour.  Gargenaga is the main grape of Soave, supported by Trebbiano di Soave (a.k.a. Verdicchio).
North and west of Soave is Valpolicella, the only well-known red from this largely white-wine region.  Corvina is the main (and best) grape, but all Valpolicella is a blend, usually including Rondinella and Molinara.  Everyday Valpolicella is a light, fresh, fruity red with a distinctive sour cherry flavour.  More serious versions are made in the higher-altitude vineyards of the Classico zone to the west of the region.  The highest-prized versions of Valpolicella are the sweet Recioto and the dry Amarone, made from grapes that have been part-dried before fermentation to produce much more concentrated, tannic and ageworthy wines.
Apart from these famous DOCs, the region produces huge amounts of everyday wine under the IGT Veneto designation, especially Pinot Grigio and Merlot.

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