All About Valpolicella

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Pronunciations – “Val-po-lee-CHE-lah

Valpolicella is a subregion or a zone of production of wine in the region of Veneto in Italy. It is very close to the city of Verona and Lake Garda, which influences the region as well. The wine of Valpolicella is made out of many grape varieties with many synonyms and it has a special tier system. 

The most known tier is probably Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG and it is the most expensive one. The appearance of the wines range from pale intensity ruby color in the lower tier ones to deep intensity ruby color in the top tier ones. The region of Valpolicella has a subregion called Valpolicella Classico, which constitutes the hilly area that is better for grape growing.

Grapes used for Valpolicella are Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara, Croatina.

Valpolicella Tasting Notes

Valpolicella Classico and Valpolicella Classico Superiore

Primary Notes – Red fruit (Red cherry, red plum, raspberry) 

Secondary Notes – Oak (Vanilla, cloves, smoke)

Body – Light to Medium 

Palate – Sweetness – Dry; Acidity – High; Tannin – Low to Medium;

Typical ABV% – 11-13%

Valpolicella Ripasso e Amarone della Valpolicella

Primary Notes – Red fruit (Red cherry, red plum) Black fruit (Black Cherry, Black plum)

Secondary Notes – Oak (Vanilla, cloves, smoke) MLF (Butter)

Tertiary Notes – with age develops leather, earth, meat, game, tobacco, coffee.

Body – Medium to Full bodied

Palate – Sweetness – Dry; Acidity – High; Tannin – Medium to High;

Typical ABV% – 14.5-16%

Recioto della Valpolicella

Primary Notes – Red fruit (Red cherry, red plum) Black fruit (Black Cherry, Black plum)

Secondary Notes – Oak (Vanilla, cloves, smoke) MLF (Butter)

Tertiary Notes – with age develops leather, earth, meat, game, tobacco, coffee.

Body – Medium to Full bodied

Palate – Sweetness – Sweet; Acidity – High; Tannin – Medium to High;

Typical ABV% – 12-13%

Valpolicella Styles 

There are many styles of Valpolicella ranging from still dry red wines to still sweet red wines.  They range from light bodied red wines to full bodied reds with residual sugar. The lightest in body would be Valpolicella Classico while the fullest in body is Amarone della Valpolicella. The sweet wines made in the region are called Recioto della Valpolicella. 


Valpolicella Classico is usually unoaked while the rest spend time in oak. Valpolicella Classico Superiore spends at least one year in oak while Amarone spends at least two years. 

Valpolicella Classifications 

Even though Valpolicella is a zone of production in the region of Veneto, the DOCGs tend to bear the name of that zone.
Starting with the lowest tier upwards we have:
-Valpolicella DOC

-Valpolicella Classico DOC

-Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC

-Valpolicella Ripasso DOC

-Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG

-Ripasso della Valpolicella DOCG

When To Drink Valpolicella 

Valpolicella wines can be paired with a range of foods since they are a range of styles. The lightest ones can be drunk every day and consumed even slightly chilled, with most white meats and lighter cheeses. The heavier, bolder styles go well with darker meat, such as turkey, duck, pork and beef for the heaviest style of Amarone. They pair well with cheeses too and the Recioto style pairs extremely well with dark chocolate. 

Valpolicella Serving Temperature –  54-56 ºF for the lightest styles (12-13 ºC)

        60-66 ºF for the heavier styles (15-20 ºC)

Best Years To Drink Valpolicella

The lighter styles of Valpolicella aren’t meant to be aged and should be consumed while young, with maybe 2-3 years of age. The heavier styles are good to age for at least 10 years and will benefit more from aging. 

Valpolicella Nutrition Facts

The lighter styles tend to have between 100-125 calories per glass and 4 carbohydrates while Amarone can clock around 224 calories per glass, which is almost a whopping 900 calories per bottle. 

Fun Facts About Valpolicella 

The Amarone and Recioto styles are made from dried grapes, which are dried indoors on mats. 

The process of appassimento or drying the grapes for Amarone or Recioto lasts for 100 to 120 days. The Romans had a wine called passum which they used to make from dried grapes.