The British summer has well and truly arrived, a little wetter than the average, so it’s even more reason to escape and go in search of the sun and enjoy a glass or two. We’ve partnered with our friends at Virgin Wines, where they’re taking a look at our popular wine regions. In this post, we’re focusing on Veneto, a popular region in North Italy, known for number of wines. So with the help of Virgin Wines, let’s take a look at each one.
Veneto has shot into wine fame in recent years, thanks primarily to two wines that very few people are still unfamiliar with – Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. Both continue to take the UK market by storm and are showing absolutely no sign of slowing any time soon.
You’d class the ascent of both as a ‘wine trend’, that unpredictable thing that all buyers want to predict. But with the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear to see why they took off – both styles are light, fresh, easy-going and easy to understand. Wines that deliver impact, but remain simple and appeal to a broad base of consumers.
That’s not where wine style starts and ends in Veneto though. Far from it. They produce some very famous wines at the other end of the spectrum. Rich, deep reds with lots of oak barrel ageing and the ability to age in bottle for decades. Amarone della Valpolicella for one. A wine made using grapes whose sugars have been intensified by a drying process, and result in a red wine with deep colour, firm structure and intense fruit and spice. Because of the production process they tend not to come too cheap, but they very rarely disappoint even at the elevated price tag.
Valpolicella is also home to a lighter style of reds. And at a much more ‘every day’ price. Reds made with the same varieties as Amarone (primarily Corvina and Rondinella) but without that drying (and expensive!) process can produce medium-bodied, fragrant reds with refreshing acidity and a great match to light, tomato-based dishes – not uncommon in Italy!
Another white wine of Veneto that is not uncommonly seen in the UK’s wine aisles is Soave. Made with one of Veneto’s most planted grape varieties, Garganega, the quality level can vary dramatically. But don’t let the £3.99 supermarket stuff put you off, there are some seriously intense and interesting Garganega whites out there, Soave and otherwise.
These are some of Veneto’s most iconic wine styles, but it barely scratches the surface. There’s no better way of getting under the bonnet than visiting the region and hunting for those wines yourself. Wine tasting and evaluating is, after all, a very subjective business! And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a prettier place to meander around than Veneto. The beauty of Lake Garda, for example, attracts thousands of visitors every year.