One hour drive from Venice, Verona and the Valpolicella is a perfect place to spend a day…
This historical and fascinating foothill area with its vineyard landscape is both magical and enchanting.
The hills are a patchwork of lush Veronese pergola vineyards, criss-crossed by lines of marogne, the dry-stone walls typical of the region.
Dotted here and there are cypress trees, ancient churches, age-old fountains and magnificent Venetian villas, all accompanied by the eternal gushing of progni (fast streams).
The etymology of Valpolicella remains uncertain but the favoured interpretation, based on val-policellae from the Latin for cellar (cellae), is ‘valley of many wineries’, and vine-growing among these hills has always been a way of life.
Fossil remains dating back to the Iron Age prove that the European vine, Vitis vinifera sativa, was cultivated here.
And Greek and Roman literature makes numerous mentions of winemaking activities in Valpolicella, testifying to the importance that wine production in this region had in those times.
Over the centuries, vine-growing expanded and became more specialised, mainly due to the area’s particular geographical relief, featuring valleys running south to north.
The area produces four wine styles: Amarone, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Ripasso and Recioto.
Although made with the same grapes (Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and other lesser varieties), their winemaking techniques are different. Valpolicella, a historical illustration of ancient farming rhythms, is a fresh, spontaneous and enjoyable wine; the soft Ripasso (‘re-passed’ over Amarone pomace) is soft.
The two passiti brothers, Amarone and sweet Recioto, are made from dried grapes. Amarone has stolen the international limelight with its splendid concentration, structure, elegance and unique complexities.
Not far from here are the offices of the Strada del Vino wine route, where you might be directed to Villa Mosconi Bertani in Arbizzano – arguably, the most beautifully sited villa in Valpolicella – here, Gaetano Bertani has the headquarters of his Santa Maria alla Pieve estate, complete with tours and wine shop (mosconibertani.it).
The historical Bertani company – founded in 1857 and an indisputable icon of Valpolicella – islocated in Grezzana (bertani.net). Its wines continue to act as absolute reference points by uniting tradition and innovation.
Would you like a tour to the Valpolicella valley?
Or book the tour by yourself here