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Valpolicella, Veneto

DESCRIPTION

This wine dense area stretches from the outskirts of Bardolino on Lake Garda to the north-east edge of Verona and the Valpantena area south of Lessinia. Vineyards cover Valpolicella from top to bottom, occupying the lower slopes which trap the most amount of south facing sunshine.

Montecchio, Negrar, San Pietro in Cariano, Garganego, Prun (up to 600m) and Fumane constitute the main territories which manufacture the areas signature red DOCG Classico, Superiore, Recioto and Amarone wine in vast barrel (botte) loads every year. The area is also notorious for growing succulent peaches (peschi) and dark red Duroni cherries (ciliegi) during the summer months.

For cyclists this place is heaven, and considered to be the heart of Italian cycling. An almost limitless combination of climbing in prolonged ascent and fast valley roads provides excellent training for those focused on preparation for mountainous events. The flatter southern terrain passing close to the Adige river allows a more relaxed pedalling around Valeggio sul Mincio and Borghetto or you may venture further up the lake and into Lessinia for more challenging rides, great views  and quiet agriturismo lunch stops. Monte Baldo looms to the west of the lake and is a frequent feature of many local Gran Fondos standing at almost 1,600 highest road point. There are a few ways up, none of them particularly easy and all very long! the Giro was last here in 2013 for Stage 18. Soave, famous for white wine and it’s castle is also well worth a visit on two wheels and slightly flatter.

Verona oozes history and is made famous by Shakespeares’ Romeo and Juliette, offering excellent hospitality, restaurants and ancient historical sightseeing as an ‘open air’ museum perfect post ride stretch of the legs. The Arena is open in the summer months for opera, Teatro Romano for Shakespeare plays and Piazza Erbe for an aperativo or two!

Wine

The Valpolicella region consists of 8 municipalities: Sant’Anna d’Alfaedo, Dolcè, Pescantina, Marano, Fumane, Negrar, Sant’Ambrogio, San Pietro in Cariano, the last five of which are included in Valpolicella Classica, the core of the area where the first vineyards were planted to produce the well known wines that bring the same name.

A wider region now produces the same styles of wine, certainly with no less quality or prestige. All Valpolicella wines are red, typically from a blend of red local grapes: Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara to name the most popular. The style of wine that results range from easy drinking fruity dry wines, made with fresh grapes, to more structured and aged ones, Superiore and Ripasso, where a part of dried grapes may be used. Then there are the wines made only with dried grapes: the full bodied dry Amarone and the sweet Recioto. The quality and complexity of these wine of course is reflected by an increasing price, justified by the very low yield in producing a wine form dried grapes.

A good match for these wines could be found in the typical dishes of the area, which are often based upon duck, rabbit or horse meat – either as main course or as dressing for pasta – or the local Monte Veronese cheese in different degrees of ageing.

Route highlights

  • Vinyard lined roads of the famous wine producers Masi, Sartori,  Tommasi and Serego Alighieri weave towards Lake Garda.
  • Varied gradient slopes of Valpolicella, Lake Garda and Lessinia.
  • Easy access to bigger days out in Monte Baldo and Lessinia.
  • Flatter routes south of Lake Garda to Sommacampagna/Valeggio and Mincio river, and the white wine territory of Soave to the east.
  • Historical Verona with excellent sightseeing opportunities and great hospitality, Valerio Catullo airport 30min.

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