Veneto is a region where there are large mountain ranges, alpine and pre-Alpine, extensive hilly areas and an extensive flat area that covers almost 60% of the total area. The mountainous area covers 26% of the reason, while the hilly areas represent 14%. The presence of the mountain ranges and the vast portion of the plain means that there are significant temperature changes between summer and winter, mitigated near Lake Garda and in the coastal and flat area, particularly hot during the summer season. Veneto contends for the position of the first region of Italy in terms of volume of wine production. Among the wines that are produced in the region there are world-famous names, such as Amarone, Recioto, Soave, Prosecco, Valpolicella and Bardolino. One of the reasons for the great success of Veneto in the oenological field is its heritage of native vines, including Garganega, Trebbiano di Soave and Prosecco with white grapes, Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Raboso with black grapes. The other reason is the territorial diversity, with areas characterized by alluvial or volcanic soils, with hilly or flat areas, which allow the production of wines of different types, from light and drinkable ones, to more full-bodied and demanding ones.
Viticulture in Veneto
Veneto is the leading wine producer in Italy in terms of quantity and has a vineyard area of over 75,000 hectares, of which 60% is in the plains and 40% in the hills, with a limited percentage of mountain viticulture. In such a multi-faceted landscape, even the forms of vine cultivation partly follow the tradition (Pergola Trentina or Veronese, Belussi in the Venetian and Treviso areas and Capuccina in the Valdobbiadene area), while all the most modern vineyards have espalier systems with pruning type Sylvoz and Casarsa.
The wine production areas in the Veneto region
The most famous red wines in Veneto are those of Valpolicella, first of all Amarone. Amarone is produced with dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara vines, the same as those of Recioto. Unlike Recioto, however, Amarone is a dry wine. Amarone can be considered a wine derived from Recioto, where the fermentation was total, leaving only a slight residual sugar. The ripasso technique is used to give more body and softness to the red Valpolicella. It consists of “repassing” the Valpolicella wine in the pomace of Recioto or Amarone, restarting fermentation and giving the wine greater structure and aromas.
The area of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and that of Montello-Colli Asolani are world famous for the production of Prosecco. The name, once referred to the grape variety, today indicates a wine protected by a designation of origin, while the starting grape was renamed Glera (its ancient synonym of Slovenian origin) starting from 2009. Prosecco is produced with the Charmat system or Martinotti, or in an autoclave, suitable for preserving the aromatic qualities of the vine. Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze which takes its name from the homonymous town near San Pietro in Barbozza, in the municipality of Valdobbiadene. The Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze area is a hilly area of about one hundred hectares, entirely cultivated with vineyards. The Montello-Colli Asolani area is also famous for its red wines based mainly on Cabernet, Merlot and Carmenère.
Soave and Recioto di Soave
In Soave, near Verona but further east of Valpolicella, the most famous white wines of Veneto are produced, based on the native vines Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave. The classic area includes only two municipalities, Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone, from which come the best white wines of this DOC. The Soave Superiore typology is awarded the DOCG denomination. Even the Recioto di Soave is a DOCG, and is produced with Garganega grapes dried for about six months before vinification, producing a broad sweet nose with notes of dried apricot, citrus fruits and honey, perfect with dry pastry but also remarkable as a meditation wine.
Euganean Hills, Berici Hills and Breganze
In the Euganean Hills, in the province of Padua, white, red and sparkling wines are produced, of which the most interesting is the Fior d’Arancio, in particular the passito version, produced with Moscato Giallo grapes. The Serprino is instead a local clone of the Glera and is produced above all in the sparkling types. The red wines of the Euganean Hills are generally produced with Merlot, Cabernet but also Raboso and Barbera grapes. The other white wines are produced with Tocai Italico, Pinot Bianco, Moscato giallo, Garganega, Riesling, Sauvignon and Pinella grapes. The Berici Hills are known for the native vine Tocai Rosso, a local clone of the Grenache fancese, which has its maximum expression in the Rosso di Barbarano type. In Breganze, in the province of Vicenza, white and red wines are produced and the famous Torcolato, a passito produced with Vespaiola grapes.
Among the other important production areas we mention Bardolino, whose wines are generally produced with the same grapes as Valpolicella, but with different results in terms of structure and intensity. The DOCG status has been recognized at Bardolino Superiore. The Bianco di Custoza is produced with a blend of different varieties of which the most important are Trebbiano Toscano, Garganega and Bianca Fernanda, a local clone of Cortese. In Gambellara, in the province of Vicenza, Recioto di Gambellara is produced, a raisin wine made from Garganega grapes, in addition to the rarer Vin Santo. Three DOC Veneto wine areas are shared with Lombardy: Lugana, San Martino della Battaglia and Garda. The Raboso is instead the undisputed protagonist of the Piave DOC wine area. It is a grape rich in tannins and of remarkable fixed acidity, from which interesting and robust red wines are produced.
The regional cuisine of Veneto
The Veneto owes its traditional cuisine to the Serenissima and to the variety of products that its businesses have contributed to spread throughout the territory. Among the appetizers we remember the sardines in saor (fried sardines with onion, seasoned with vinegar, sugar and accompanied with pine nuts and raisins) and the boiled spider crab (served with garlic, oil and parsley) as well as the many PDO and PGI cold cuts. Among the first courses, bigoli (egg pasta) replace spaghetti and are served with traditional sauces such as arna, sardea (sardines) or luganega (sausage). The Cansunziei are pumpkin or spinach ravioli and cooked ham or chard (all l’ampampana) served with melted butter or smoked ricotta. The sopa coada is a pigeon pie with a rather dry consistency, so much so that sometimes it is accompanied by a cup of boiling broth to be consumed separately or poured over. With rice, numerous dishes are prepared including risi e bisi (rice boiled with peas), rice and cabbage soup as well as many risottos. Great variety also among the latter, frequently accompanied by the inevitable polenta (cream of boiled corn flour). The Vicenza-style cod (cooked with oil, milk, garlic, anchovies and onions) and the cuttlefish with the fish dish, while among the meat dishes we remember the guinea-fowl in tecia (with saucepan), the Venetian liver (with onions). , oil, butter, salt and parsley), the torresani (pigeons) on the spit and the pastissada de caval (horse stew) from the Verona area. There are numerous vegetables and cheeses with a designation of origin, including white asparagus from bassano dop, cheese from Asiago and Monte Veronse dop, and many others. Among the desserts, in addition to the famous pandoro from Verona, the fritòle (fritters) and the Venetian galani (fried chiacchere dusted with icing sugar) and the zalèti (maize flour and raisin biscuits) deserve a mention.