Veneto - Valpolicella

The Veneto's true distinction in the world of wine is that it is the only region where any serious quantity of wine is still made using grapes dried to concentrate their sugar content. This was the only way the Greeks and Romans had of increasing the resulting wines' alcohol content, because distillation and therefore alcoholic spirit was still unknown. Such wines are described as Recioto, and may be red or white, dry or sweet. If all the grape sugar is fermented out to alcohol, such wines are also described as Amarone, or ‘bitter’, for Valpolicella grapes dried to yield a wine of perhaps 16% alcohol can certainly taste extremely intense (and should be sipped with care, ideally like port after a meal rather than swigged throughout a meal). The quality of Amarone di Valpolicella has soared in recent years and there are now a host of good producers to choose from.