Vineyards of Amarone grapes (red wine of Valpolicella Valley, Northern Italy) during summertime, before harvesting / Getty
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Italy’s northeast region of Veneto is home to many charms. From gondola-lined canals of Venice to the cobblestoned streets of picturesque Padua, there is a lot to fall in love with. Included in that, of course, is the region’s array of red wines.
Amarone is undoubtedly the best-known, as its bold, rich style has won the hearts and palates of many. Made exclusively in the Valpolicella area north of Verona, these reds are produced using the appassimento method, in which grape bunches are dried in wooden crates or bamboo racks up to 120 days. The process results in plush, full-bodied wines that show incredible concentration and depth.
The major grapes in Amarone are Corvina and Corvinone, with small additions of others like Rondinella. This mix is also used in the wines labeled Valpolicella and Valpolicella Classico, which are produced in the same area as Amarone but are not made from dried grapes. These wines are lighter in body, with juicy plum and berry flavors and soft tannins. Often well-priced, these reds make the perfect accompaniment to casual weekday fare like pizza, pasta and barbecue.
To round out the range of reds, there are also wines labeled under the Veronese appellation. These can be made from a host of grapes—from those used in the Valpolicella wines to Merlot, Sangiovese and more—and can be produced in any area within the Veneto region. They often provide great value and easy-drinking pleasure.