Valpolicella is the most famous wine district in north-eastern Italy's Veneto wine region. It's not hard to understand why, given the easy-drinking appeal of regular red Valpolicella, coupled with the prestige of its powerful and intensely flavored counterpart Amarone della Valpolicella. The valley even produces white wines – both dry and sweet – under the various Soave titles.
The grapes used to make Valpolicella are Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Corvina is generally regarded as the finest of the three, and is certainly the most traditional. Rondinella proved popular in the 1960s and 1970s because of its generous yields, while pale, over-acidic, oxidation-prone Molinara has declined dramatically since its early surge. Corvina remains the grape of choice for higher-quality Valpolicella, and particularly Amarone della Valpolicella, Recioto della Valpolicella and Valpolicella Ripasso. On warmer, well-drained slopes, Corvina produces wines with more body than is traditionally expected of Valpolicella, which explains the huge quality differential between regular Valpolicella from the plains and Amarone from the hills of the traditional classico zone.
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