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Pronounced Val-po-lee-chella. A renowned regional D.O.C. red wine produced in the western part of the Monti Lessini hillsides north of Verona in Italy’s Veneto region. It is named for the valley that is there. Ranked 2nd, following Chianti D.O.C.G., of total D.O.C. red wine produced in Italy.

Valpolicella “Superiore” wines contain a 1% higher alcohol content and are aged for a minimum of 1 year.

Valpolicella “Classico” are thought to be of the finest quality and are produced in the inner classico zone of the vineyards.

Valpolicella-Valpantena are wines that are produced in a distinctly separate zone called the Pantena Valley.

Blends: Produced primarily from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara.

Characteristics: Dry, sweet, at times sparkling, medium bodied red wine. Valpolicella can range from fruity to acidic and thin depending on production techniques and/or difficulties. The wines range from ruby red to purple in color and exhibit an aroma of grapes. Tastes may include those of sour cherries, almonds, anise, and a bit of spice.

Those wines made by a process referred to as “rispasso” tend to be richer and more full-bodied then those made by standard production methods. Wines made with the “ripasso” method do not display this fact on their label, they are not allowed. Rather, the consumer must research the producers to learn who makes Valpolicella in the “ripasso” style.

Ripasso wines are made by fermenting the juices using standard methods and placing those juices in casks that contain lees from a prior lot of Recioto Della Valpolicella Amarone or Recioto Della Valpolicella, a process that last 2 to 3 weeks. The end result is wine with enriched color, added tannins, and complex flavor.

Ageing: Can be drunk young but best when aged a minimum of 1 year (i.e. Valpolicella Superiore).

Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 60-65º F.

Food pairing: Poultry, veal, pasta with tomato sauce, pasta with meat sauce, and chicken with tomato sauce.

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