There’s no better place in the world to explore wine—especially near Valentine’s Day—than Verona, Italy. Verona, of course, is where Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet. It’s also surrounded by world-class wine regions. Valpolicella is probably my favorite, and is home to some amazing wines, made in three basic styles: Valpolicella, Ripasso and Amarone. Just saying the names sounds romantic.
Valpolicella is typically made from a combination of four grapes: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara. Valpolicella is a light- to medium-bodied red, but like all Italian wines, it pairs excellently with food. Try some Italian meats and cheeses with Valpolicella as an appetizer.
Ripasso has a fuller body, because the leftover must from a recent Amarone fermentation gets added to (or passed over, thus “ripasso”) the base Valpolicella wine. This process adds body, flavor and tannins not found in Valpolicella. Ripasso is perfect with hearty winter stews.
Finally, Amarone. This wine, like the other two, is made from the same grapes. After harvest, the grapes are put on straw drying mats and left until January. Moisture from the grapes evaporates during this time, leaving behind flavor-packed, raisin-like grapes. Amarone is fully fermented, making a very robust dry wine. It’s great with pasta and red sauce made with Italian sausage.
And if you’re looking for white wine, Soave is your choice from Veneto. Amore, Ciao!
Andy Carl is a local wine expert—the Woodbury Wine Wizard—whose recommendations appear each month in Woodbury Magazine.