Mid-summer, at a special dinner at the Beacon Court at Le Cirque Restaurant in NYC, a select group of editors, sommeliers, and oenophiles gathered to experience “The Wines of Veneto.” This region of Italy is one of the country’s most important wine-producing regions. with unique varietals that produce Veneto’s famous Amarone, Soave, Prosecco and more”. The dinner with wine pairings, sponsored by the Venetian Chamber of Commerce, was part of a two-day “Wines of Veneto road show” that included a series of wine tasting experiences for industry and consumers.
The great news for wine lovers, is that some great finds and bargains can be found in wines from the Veneto region of Italy, including Prosecco (Conegliano/Valdobbiadene), and Soave. The region produces 20 percent of all Italian D.O.C. wines out of the region’s 80 thousand hectares of vineyards.The Veneto region, is in the north-east of Italy, administratively divided into 7 provinces: Venice, Padua, Verona, Vicenza, Treviso, Rovigo and Belluno. Five of these are wine producing provinces (Venice, Padua, Verona, Vicenza and Treviso). According to the Wines of Veneto website, the wines produced there include: Arcole D.O.C.; Bagnoli D.O.C.: Bardolino D.O.C., Bardolino Superiore D.O.C.G., Breganze D.O.C, Colli Berici D.O.C., Colli di Conegliano D.O.C., Colli Euganei D.O.C., Colli Euganei Fior,’Arancio D.O.C.G., Corti Benedettine del Padovano D.O.C. , Custoza D.O.C., Gambellara D.O.C., Recioto di Gambellara D.O.C.G., Garda D.O.C., Lison – Pramaggiore D.O.C., Lison D.O.C.G., Lugana D.O.C., Merlara D.O.C. , Montello e Colli Asolani D.O.C., Prosecco Superiore Colli Asolani D.O.C.G., Monti Lessini D.O.C., Piave D.O.C., Piave Malanotte D.O.C.G., Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene D.O.C.G., Prosecco D.O.C. , Riviera del Brenta D.O.C., San Martino della Battaglia D.O.C., Soave D.O.C., Recioto di Soave D.O.C.G., Soave Superiore D.O.C.G., Valdadige D.O.C., Valpolicella D.O.C., Amarone della Valpolicella D.O.C.G., Recioto della Valpolicella D.O.C.G., Vicenza D.O.C.
* The main difference between a DOC and a DOCG is that the latter must pass a blind taste test for quality in addition to conforming to the strict legal requirements to be designated as a wine from the area in question
Italian wines range from sweet to dry, flat to sparkling, and in white to rose to red. My personal favorites are the dry whites and sparkling Proescco. I used to think all Prosecco was sweet, but I was served Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene Conegliano DOCG Brut at the dinner, which was not sweet, just crisp and fragrant and delicious! Not all the wines featured at the Le Cirque dinner are available in the United States (or at least, not yet) but that might inspire you to take that trip to Italy you’ve been dreaming about. The wines from the various Veneto regions, served at the dinner paired well with the sweet and savory dishes from Le Cirque:
TV Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene Conegliano DOCG Brut ; VE Lison DOC; PD Friularo Bagnoli DOC, VR Amarone della Valpolicella DOC, and VI Recioto di Gambellara DOCG
For those not very familiar with wine classifications, wine is categorized by price range as: Economy ($0.00-$2.99) , Popular ($3.00-$5.99); Premium ($6.00-$7.99) , Super Premium ($8.00-$9.99), Ultra Premium ($10.00-$14.99) and Luxury ($15.00+). You can find wines in many of these classifications in Italian wines. According to John Dunham of John Dunham and Associates, 80% of wine sold is below premium grade., therefore, most Americans have never tasted a premium wine or above from the United States, let alone from the famed vineyards throughout Europe. This isn’t always due to lack of money, but lack of knowledge. There are wines (and values) from Veneto to satisfy most every palate and budget.
A glass of wine is bottled sunshine, and a little red wine can be good for your health as well as your spirit.
If you want to learn more about the Wines of Veneto, visit the website.