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Wines of Northeast Italy
Northeast Italy makes Valpolicella, Soave, Amarone, Prosecco, and the varietally labeled wines from the usual international grapes—Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and so forth.

Wines of Northeast Italy
Valpolicella is a light red, refreshing wine best drank young. The grapes used to make Valpolicella are Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, and the resulting wine tastes of cherry and red plum.

Wines of Northeast Italy
Is it possible for a wine to smell and taste of a place? Yes. Bertani's Villa Novare Valpolicella Classico 2004 takes me to Italy in a sip. Earth, black plum, and mixed ripe forest fruit. Outstanding value.

Wines of Northeast Italy
Masi is another reliable producer of Valpolicella. Its Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico, easily identifiable by the plain black bottle that simply reads Masi Valpolicella with a vintage date, is all fresh, clean cherries and plums. It is medium-bodied and as easy to match with food as France's Beaujolais.

Wines of Northeast Italy
If a wine is called Valpolicella Superiore it must be aged for at least a year before bottling, and it must be at least 12 percent alcohol.

Wines of Northeast Italy
Recioto della Valpolicella is made from semidried grapes and the wine is sweet. It is also fuller-bodied than an ordinary Valpolicella.

Wines of Northeast Italy
If you see the word "ripasso" on a bottle of Valpolicella, it had the unpressed skins of Amarone wines added during winemaking to add extra flavor and alcohol. A wine marked "ripasso" is more voluptuous than an ordinary Valpolicella.

Wines of Northeast Italy
Valpantena's Falasco Valpolicella Ripasso 2003 is an excellent example of the richness the ripasso process can impart to wine. This wine starts with cigar shop aromas and leads to a ripe, full palate of chocolate-covered black and red cherries. Delicious.

Wines of Northeast Italy
Soave is a delicate white wine tasting faintly of apples and almonds. It is made near the city of Verona from the grapes Garganega, Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano Toscano, Chardonnay, and Pinot Bianco. It's widely exported and often inexpensive. Look for good producers— such as Coffele, Pieropan, and Bertani, as well as Inama—that make particularly fine versions of this wine.

Wines of Northeast Italy
Roberto Anselmi, a small but leading producer in Veneto, switched from calling his wine Soave DOC to Veneto IGT in 2000 because he felt the laws governing the Soave DOC production encouraged thin, poor quality wines. His white wine, Capital Foscarino, is stellar. Made from low yielding Garganega and Trebbiano grapes, the 2004 vintage starts with a nose of ripe red cherries and red licorice—you would be forgiven for thinking this wine was red if tasted blind—then takes the palate by storm with fresh lemon, mineral, and ripe apple. It's a long, rigorous version of this classic grape blend. Fabulous.

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