In this chapter we talk about a territory located a few steps from Verona, rich in traditions, art and flavors: The Ways of Valpolicella Wine Route.
Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards in a chiaroscuro of shades that only time can form, the hilly area of Valpolicella will forever live in your heart through a journey of traditions, art and flavors. Located between the Val d'Adige, Lessinia and Lake Garda, the splendid territory of Valpolicella fans out behind Verona, in three valleys that take their name from the three streams that cross them: Negrar, Marano and Fumane . Renowned since ancient Rome for viticulture, today this territory is known throughout the world for one of its finest wines like Amarone.
This area offers incomparable beauties scattered throughout its territory, beauties ranging from lush vineyards, green forests, luxurious villas to terraces that rest on the millennial "marogne" (dry stone walls.) Valpolicella presents a great variety of landscapes : the foothills, dedicated to the cultivation of vines and olive trees, the limestone hills with chestnut and oak, until you get to the mountain area characterized by meadows used for grazing and beech forest.
The valleys are rich in history and this is demonstrated by the numerous findings of the Paleolithic era that were found in the caves and caverns of these hills. A historical and cultural identity, however, was given by the Roman conquest that, despite the complexity of the territory, managed to leave its mark also in Valpolicella as in many other areas of Veneto.
Around the year one thousand began to rise the first Municipalities and the following century determined the adoption of the name Valpolicella, then officialized in 1117 by Federico Barbarossa. During the Renaissance the Veronese and Venetian nobles built their villas here, characterized by a portico or loggia structure, surrounded by large gardens full of cypress trees, which now represent a real peculiarity of these landscapes.The vineyards of Valpolicella are linked to a very distant ancestor that seems to come from the Roman era or the Retico wine, of the "Retia", a hilly region that extended in the central part of the Po Valley and in particular in the Veronese hills.
The cultivation of the vine developed and improved with the Paleo-Veneto first and then with the Romans and, continued to evolve, despite the damage and devastation caused by the numerous passages of some barbarous tribes, such as the Visigoths, the Huns, the Helvetians and the Ostrogoths. Legend has it that during a stay in the Cassiodoro area, the Minister of Theodoric, he praised the "Ancinatico" , a drink whose description corresponds to that of the current Recioto.
In fact, the wines that today excel and, which represent the visiting card of the area, are the Recioto and Amarone. The former has always been a trademark of these lands, while the latter managed to impose itself only in the middle of the last century. Both wines have in common the high alcohol content and the ancient production methods. The bunches, in fact, obtained from selected Valpollicella grapes are put to dry one by one for a couple of months, usually until Christmas, in a wooden scaffolding just according to an ancient Roman tradition.
The Recioto has an intense garnet red color or a golden yellow, (in this case it is called "Recioto Bianco"), and is characterized by a gradation between 12 ° and 14 °, an accentuated perfume, harmonious, intense and limited aging. Amarone, on the other hand, has a garnet red color and a minimum alcohol content of 14 °, its full and decisive flavor and the characteristic smell make it unique, aging can reach 10 to 15 years. Legend has it that his name seems to have been born casually during the first half of the last century, when a cellar head found a barrel of Recioto forgotten for years in a corner and tasting it exclaimed: "This is not an Amaro, it's an Amarone ".
We have divided the Ways of Valpolicella Wine Route into the following chapters: