Valpolicella DOC is the basic wine produced in Valpolicella. It is made with the same blend of grape varietals as the Amarone and the Recioto: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, but unlike these two most famous wines that are made with dried grapes, for the normal Valpolicella only fresh grapes are used.
On a Valpolicella label you could find the word ‘Valpolicella Classica’ (or Classico), if the wine has been produced in the historical wine producing area, or only ‘Valpolicella’ if the wine is coming from the extended Valpolicella wine producing region.
The grapes for the Valpolicella are picked after the grapes for the Amarone have been selected. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality of grapes for the Valpolicella is not high, but that those bunches are not suitable to withstand the four months drying period that is necessary for the production of the Amarone.
Soon after harvest grapes are squeezed and fermented. The resulting wine is then bottled and released on the market so that you usually find on sale Valpolicellas of the previous year.
Even if few producers, in the pursue of a higher quality, are now experimenting the use of barrel ageing of even simple Valpolicella wines, most of the times basic Valpolicella is only left for few months in stainless steel tanks to let it stabilize before bottling it. Although, if properly stored, few Valpolicellas could last even ten years in a cellar, it is better to drink it within 5-6 years from the year written of the label.
Valpolicella is a simple, medium bodied wine with a very nice ruby color. Its main characteristic is the crisp acidity and the pleasant fruityness typical of Corvina, the grape varietal that contributes for up to 70% to the blend of all Valpolicella wines.
Valpolicella is usually an inexpensive wine and it has always been the every day red wine on the tables of the people of Verona. Still nowadays is the wine that more easily can be found in wine bars, osterias and restaurants around the town.
Valpolicella is a an excellent wine to pair with some Italian apetizers (antipasto) like salami, bruschetta (grilled bread with onion, tomato and olive oil), cured meat. It’s perfect with pasta dishes, risotto or even pizza and could be an interesting pairing with tasty, fat fishes like salmon, tuna or cod.
During the tastings that follows the visit in a winery during Amarone Tours, Valpolicella is usually the first wine to be tasted. During the tasting is always very interesting to understand how all Valpolicella wines, made with the same grape varietals, are a progression of the same style: from the basic Valpolicella to the more complex Superiore and Ripasso to finish with the Amarone and Recioto, the dessert wine.