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The Wine of Veneto

Wines of VenetoThe Veneto’s most well-known still white wine is Soave, a designation that has been compromised through both viticultural and vinification methods and the enlargement of the zone. While it was originally a blend of Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave (both aromatic varieties), changes in DOC regulations permitted the introduction of a more mundane strain of Trebbiano (Toscano) as well as Chardonnay, thereby precipitating the widespread production of a fairly vapid wine. However, Soave bottlings that pair Garganega with Trebbiano di Soave tend to offer a substantive flavor profile. While Soave is not the only white DOC, the others, Lugana and Gambellara, primarily involve the same varietals. The former (which is shared with Lombardia), privileges Trebbiano di Soave, and some bottlings realize a substantive aromatic presence. With respect to the latter, Garganega exercises its dominance, as it represents a minimum of 80% of the blend. The category also includes several varietally labeled wines that are fairly simple in character. Valpolicella is, in many respects, the red counterpart to Soave, as its image has suffered from mass production.

However, unlike Soave, it operates a stylistic hierarchy: Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Superiore and/or Ripasso, Amarone della Valpolicella, and Recioto della Valpolicella generally comprise the grape trio of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Valpolicella Classico (Classico denoting a wine made in the inner, superior Valpolicella zone) is the simplest expression of the Valpolicella quartet. At the Superiore level, Valpolicella must achieve higher alcohol content, receive longer aging, and display more body and structure than the simple Valpolicella. To realize these qualities, many Superiore are treated via one of two techniques: “governo alla Toscana” or ripasso. Under the “governo alla Toscana” method, producers blend the finished Valpolicella with a small percentage of Amarone remaining from a previous batch. Others employ the ripasso method, enriching the Valpolicella wine through direct contact with (or passing through) the Amarone’s lees.
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Fantinel Prosecco Brut Extra Dry NV 750ml
Fantinel Prosecco Brut Extra Dry NV 750ml
Price: $16.00

This velvety, food-friend Prosecco matches elegant minerality and delicate tropical fruits with delightful floral aromas in a fresh, charming sparkler. Straw yellow in color, this classic Prosecco offers persistent perlage, bright acidity, and chalky minerals. Deriving from estate- grown Prosecco grapes (a varietal previously called Glera), this Prosecco is vinified in the in the charmat, or tank method, in which the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure. This versatile, delicious Prosecco can serve as an aperitif, a complement to food, or a palate cleanser, making it one of IWM’s favorite go-to sparkling wines.
Fantinel Brut Rose NV 750ml
Fantinel Brut Rose NV 750ml
Price: $19.80

Dry yet seductive, Fantinel Brut Rosé shows a pale pink color in the glass, where it sparkles with a really nice perlage that warms the palate. A burst of acidity gives it a fresh mouth-feel and hints of berries follow in this bright, dry, refreshing yet rich Rosé sparkler. Fantinel makes this Rosé in the charmat, or tank method, in which the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure. Crafted from Pinot Nero and Chardonnay, this wine is all about charm, cherries and berries, and nicely floral aromatics. Showing just the right balance and texture with an appealing lively long finish, this rosé sparkler makes appetizers, brunch or light fare sing.
Nicolis Valpolicella Classico 2014 750ml
Nicolis Valpolicella Classico 2014 750ml
Price: $19.99

Seductive scents of cherries and berries dance with eucalyptus, anise, black tea, cigar wrapper, and spice--this structured yet succulent Valpolicella practically grabs you by the ears and pulls you to the glass! Dark, juicy fruit mingles with earthy, smoky notes on the palate, where they’re joined by bitter almond and a hint of burned sugar, conveyed in a velvety palate that’s spiked with piquant acidity. A blend of 65% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, and the remainder Molinara, this wine ferments in temperature-controlled stainless steel and ages in large barrels for a classic interpretation of Veneto terroir and traditional winemaking.
Col Vetoraz Prosecco Valdobbiadene NV 750ml
Col Vetoraz Prosecco Valdobbiadene NV 750ml
Price: $21.99

This Prosecco offers a classic, delicate, refreshing profile that urges you to pour it early and often--much as Italians do for their friends and family. A delicate nose of peaches and pears leads to a dry, smooth and intense palate with subtle notes of white blossoms, orchard fruits, and a touch of toasted bread. Never overly sweet or yeasty, Col Vetoraz Prosecco refreshes the palate, complements a wide variety of foods, and turns any moment into an occasion. Located in Cartizze, one of the prime areas of the Valdobbiadene region of the Veneto, Col Vetoraz grows its grapes organically at about 1,300 feet above sea level on very steep hills in vineyard sites where the Prosecco, or Glera, grape has grown since 1838.
Begali Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2014 750ml
Begali Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2014 750ml
Price: $21.99

Fresh, complex, delicious and immediately enjoyable, this ’14 Valpolicella Ripasso layers its sweet red fruits with warm leather, loam, spices, espresso and a kiss of raisined fruits. Elegant and round, this artisanal wine is nonetheless vibrant; it’s a terrific exploration into its vintage and a great introduction to the family-run Begali estate. A Valpolicella Ripasso “passes” through the lees left from the estate’s Amarone, and this one from Begali (a blend of 65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella and the remainder other indigenous grapes) spends at least a year maturing in oak barrel, followed by time in the bottle before release.
Col Vetoraz Prosecco Valdobbiadene NV 1.5L
Col Vetoraz Prosecco Valdobbiadene NV 1.5L
Price: $49.99

This Prosecco offers a classic, delicate, refreshing profile that urges you to pour it early and often--much as Italians do for their friends and family. A delicate nose of peaches and pears leads to a dry, smooth and intense palate with subtle notes of white blossoms, orchard fruits, and a touch of toasted bread. Never overly sweet or yeasty, Col Vetoraz Prosecco refreshes the palate, complements a wide variety of foods, and turns any moment into an occasion. Located in Cartizze, one of the prime areas of the Valdobbiadene region of the Veneto, Col Vetoraz grows its grapes organically at about 1,300 feet above sea level on very steep hills in vineyard sites where the Prosecco, or Glera, grape has grown since 1838.
Begali Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2011 500ml
Begali Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2011 500ml
Price: $54.99

A frankly voluptuous wine, this opulent dessert wine uses partially dried grapes, just as an Amarone does, to achieve its intense, palate-staining full body, but unlike an Amarone, it’s approachable early and it’s sweet. Dark and seductive, Begali Recioto della Valpolicella Classico offers a bounty of juicy plums, brambly blackberries and sweet figs, all laid upon an herbal-inflected bed of cinnamon, star anise and sandalwood. Velvety and rich, yet spiked with tongue-piquing acidity, this luxurious wine is made for slow sipping, accompanied by cheese, chocolate or pastry. A blend of 65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella and the remainder other indigenous grapes, this wine spends a year in barrel, followed by at least six months in bottle before release.
Giuseppe Quintarelli Primofiore 2012 750ml
Giuseppe Quintarelli Primofiore 2012 750ml
Price: $59.99
Currently Unavailable

A ripe, low-production vintage in the Veneto, 2012 gave the Quintarelli estate limited but very healthy berries for its wines; this expressive, satisfying, weighty and accessible Primofiore embodies the velvetiness and opulence of the year. Juicy, succulent red and black fruits dance with notes of cola, cigar wrapper, spice, dried rose petals, and fruit compote in this elegant, rich wine. Full-bodied and voluptuous, the estate’s Primofiore is a blend of 50% Corvina, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc, which all finish ripening in wooden boxes before fermentation and aging in Slovenian oak. Primofiore, which means “first press,” gets the runoff juice of the first-run Amarone, adding depth and complexity. The rich ’12 Primofiore allows enthusiasts a first taste of this banner vintage.
Begali Amarone Classico 2012 750ml
Begali Amarone Classico 2012 750ml
Price: $69.99

Juicy red and blue fruits dance with Christmas cake, melted chocolate, forest floor and spice in this nicely structured, classically styled ’12 Amarone Classico. Complementing its sweet fruits with savory truffle and earth, this wine delights in its opposites, and its velvety mouth-feel swaddles the palate with pleasure. A terrific value alternative to Quintarelli, Dal Forno and Bussola, this Amarone is a blend of 65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, and the remainder indigenous Veneto grapes. After drying in boxes for about three months, the grapes macerate in temperature-controlled stainless steel, then age for about three-and-a-half years in botti and tonneaux, followed by six months in bottle before release. Begali produced just a few hundred cases of this Amarone.
Begali Amarone Monte Ca Bianca 2010 750ml
Begali Amarone Monte Ca Bianca 2010 750ml
Price: $79.99

Raisined fruit mingles with apple skin, warm saddle leather, underbrush, crushed minerals, cocoa powder, and baking spices in this elegant, energetic cru Amarone. Structured yet caressing, this ’10 cru Amarone glides across the palate, scattering chewy tannins as it builds to a lingering, bright finish. There’s no question that this Amarone will be even better in a decade or more. This wine's exceptionally rich mouth-feel is plush, opulent and satisfying, making it an extraordinary value for its price point. A blend of 40% Corvina, 35% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, and 5% of the hard-to-grow Oseleta, the grapes for this wine sit and dry in boxes for about three months before vinification; after fermentation, the wine ages in botti and barriques for about four years before bottling. Begali produces around 200 cases of its cru Amarone each vintage.