We all love Valpolicella.
Since I was a kid, my parents boasted to their friends that their favorite wine was Valpolicella. They drank Valpolicella, not just for special occasions, but, for all occasions. In those days, the choice was somewhat limited versus today's crowded market.
Maybe my parents were on to something. As the years have progressed, the regard for Valpolicella has only grown. When the word, 'Amarone' is mentioned, everyone takes a pause in anticipation of sampling one of the world's most versatile wines.
Since my parents early Valpolicella days, the importance of authenticity for the consumer is important. To address that issue, the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella has adopted the 'RRR' certification process, a mark on the bottle will distinguish the authenticity of the bottles. 'RRR' stands for the 'Reduce Respect Retrench' project that certifies 'ethical vineyards'. What this means is that the vineyards receive certification after five years of work practicing sustainable vine growing and wine producing.
According to Olga Bussinello, Director of the Valpolicella Consortium, ' The Reduce Respect Retrench (RRR) certification was a necessary change to foster its spread even more and to reward the virtuous viticulturists who have followed the process in its pilot phase. This is the first certification of an area with an appellation 'startup' in Italy, shared and achieved with the support of local towns, partners in the project, which include 73% of the vineyard surface area in the Valpolicella appellation. Certifying an area entails understanding the landscape and that of the ecosystem, from resource management to safeguarding biodiversity, to the protection of a territory where professional viticulture and urbanization are side-by-side--which is just one chapter in the process.'
Christian Marchesini, Chairman of the consortium, adds to the conversation, by pointing out that, ' Consumers all over the western world demand even safer, higher quality and socially sustainable products. A territory like Valpolicella, which has outstanding viticulture and tends to export 75% of its wines, cannot gloss over features like this, which affect the value of the bottle of wine. We are certain that the market in the United States , the main country we send Valpolicella to, will be happy will be happy to receive bottles with our new sustainable area mark on them.'
61.8 Million Bottles Produced
$550 Million in sales
75% of bottles exported
2,347 grape growers
213 wine companies
97% of grapes used are indigenous varieties
The grape breakdow:
70.4% Corvina grape
21.1% Rondinella grape
5.5% other varieties
45.3% Valpolicella Ripasso DOC
32.3% Valpolicella DOC
21.9% Amarone DOCG
The U.S, Valpolicella Market Sales:
21% Valpolicella Ripasso DOC
14% Valpolicella DOC
10% Amarone DOCG
The Valpolicella region is located north of Verona. It borders Lake Garda to the west and is protected by the Lessini Mountain range to the east and the north. The Verona foothills, known as the eastern Alps, are to the south.
Most of the wines under the Valpolicella DOC are red, using mostly indigenous grapes, as mentioned earlier.
Ripasso is the most popular style.
Developed in the late 1980's and bottles first by Masi, the Ripasso style emerged. The technique involves using the pomace of leftover grape skins or using partially dried grapes and seeds from the Amarone fermentation and adding the remains during the Ripasso's extended maceration. This tends to boost the remaining yeast by adding better body, higher alcohol levels and smoothing the tannins, glycerine and some phenolic compounds
Much more in-depth information can be found at the Consorzio Per La Tutela website:
Philip S. Kampe