YEAR: 2012 VARIETAL: Corvina-Rondinella-Molinara APPELLATION: recioto della valpolicella REGION: Veneto COUNTRY: Italy STYLE: Sweet Red
Between the historic town of Verona and the southern shores of Lake Garda, lie the rolling vineyards of Valpolicella. Here they make four styles of red wine, all made from a blend of three local grapes: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, with Corvina usually in the majority. Small quantities of other red grapes occasionally get a look in too, but the “Corvina blend” is the main game.
In addition to this trio, many of the wines utilise partial drying of the grapes. These semi-dried or partially raisined grapes serve to concentrate flavours and tannins at the expense of water, and is done by drying the bunches on special racks over the cool, dry winter months before pressing in early spring of the year following harvest.
The most famous style of wine produced from the partially dried grapes is of course Amarone, a big, rich, notionally dry red wine that often nudges 15% alcohol - or even more. Lesser known, but equally good is this dessert wine version called Recioto. Made from the same grapes but with fermentation stopped halfway through to retain some sweetness, think of it as a lighter, less alcoholic version of Port. Accordingly, it is excellent with stronger cheeses and berry based desserts, but also chocolate - always a tricky food match!
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