The Principal Grape Varieties of Veneto

  • By Mattia Cianca
  • 31 Dec 2020
  • 5 MIN
  • Level 101
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Corvina - Credit : corvina_copyrightConsorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella

Veneto is the largest producer of DOP wine in Italy and second only to Puglia when it comes to volume. 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 grape varieties, including Garganega, Glera, Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, and Raboso. 

White varieties

Garganega

The queen of Soave and Gambellara, and known to have grown in the area for at least a thousand years. The Garganega vine provides generous yields, forming large, cylindrical bunches with wide wings that turn through translucent golden to almost red skin when fully ripe. Garganega does not possess particularly marked aromas and flavours and so the eventual style really depends on where it is grown. According to the Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave e Recioto di Soave, basaltic soil makes for steely and mineral wines, and limestone soils will display more apricot, ripe apple, and citrus. 

- Masi Colbaraca Soave Classico Superiore DOCG (100% Garganega)
- Anselmi Capitel Croce Bianco Veneto IGT (100% Garganega)

Glera

The Glera (previously known as Prosecco) has been present in the hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene for over two centuries. The origins of this grape are mysterious but it probably took its original name from the town of Prosecco itself, near the province of Trieste. Rustic and vigorous, with hazelnut-coloured branches and rather large, long, winged bunches of sparse berries of a beautiful golden yellow, immersed in the brilliant green of the large leaves. In the best hilly exposures of Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, one will find fruit of great concentration and nuttiness with salty elements. In the medium hills, in the area south of Vittorio Veneto, one will find citrus scents and green apple. In the flatter areas with more stony soil, one will discover white flowers and gentle peach aromas.

- Scandolera Costa d’Oro Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore (100% Glera)

Durella

Named from the term “Duro” (Italian for hard) as the berries have a rather thick and leathery skin. Durella is probably the least known variety of the region but there are about 500 growers involved in cultivating Durello, and about 10 bottling the wine. Its high malic acid makes it perfect for sparkling wines in the National Park of Monti Lessini. Charmat and Traditional methods are both allowed in the Lessini Durello DOC.

- Sandro de Bruno Lessini Durello DOC Metodo Classico Riserva 100 Mesi (85% Durella)
- Gianni Tessari Lessini Durello DOC 60 Mesi (100% Durella)

Red varieties

Raboso

The most widespread autochthonous vine is the Raboso, as it is able to adapt to all types of soil, although the most ideal would be alluvial. Historically Raboso is known for its unbalanced structure that would often result in astringent and rustic wines. More recently, thanks to careful and quality-minded producers, this grape has found a much better identity, especially in the DOCGs of Malanotte and Friularo di Bagnoli.

- Ornella Molon Campo di Pietra Piave Malanotte DOCG (100% Raboso)

Corvina 

From the term Corvo (Italian for Crow) as the ripe dark-coloured berries are reminiscent of the feathers of the bird. Corvina is the classic indigenous grape of Valpolicella and Bardolino. We do not know of its origins, but the first record of its cultivation in Valpolicella dates back to 1824 when it was cultivated by the Pollini family. It is vigorous and constantly productive due to a fortunate fertility of the buds and to a fairly consistent average bunch weight. If used 100%, Corvina produces a full-bodied wine of intense ruby-red colour with purple reflections, red fruit aromas dominated by cherry, with relatively high acid and elegant tannins.

- Allegrini La Poja Veronese IGT (100% Corvina)
- Modello Masi Trevenezie IGT (100% Corvina)

Rondinella

This variety apparently reached the Veronese area in the 19th century; it is a component of both Valpolicella and Bardolino blends. Its name seems to originate in the colour of its skin which is reminiscent of the plumage of swallows. It is a vigorous vine, with mid-term budding and medium-late ripening. The fertility of the buds is relatively high, and together with its good average bunch weight, it ensures constant and abundant production. The wine that is obtained is less robust than that of Corvina, with a less intense ruby colour, a floral aroma, and a slightly vinous dry taste.

- Le Fraghe Chelidon Veneto IGT (100% Rondinella)

Molinara

Known locally as “Ua Salà” (salty grape), this is a typical Veronese variety, and was compulsory in the blend of Valpolicella up until 2003. Its name comes from the large amount of bloom covering the berries that seem dusted with white flour (Molino = Mill). Straight varietal expressions result in pale pink wines with a high level of acid and alcohol. It is appreciated for a mineral touch it often brings to blends.

- Boscaini Carlo Rosato Veronese IGT (85% Molinara)
- Terre di Pietra DieciCentoMIlle Vino Rosso (100% Molinara) 

Corvina - Credit : corvina_copyrightConsorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella