Grapes: Corvina, Molinara, Rondinella
Produced in the foothills of the Alps, just west of Verona, in an area sandwiched between the mountains and Lake Garda. The grapes used are Corvina Veronese (40-70%), Rondinella (20-40%) and Molinara (5-20%). The vintner can also add up to 15% complementary varieties, which include Rossignola, Negrara, Trentina, Barbera and Sangiovese. As a general characteristic the wines tend to have lively to powerful bouquets, be full on the palate with good fruit, velvety, and have a pleasing aftertaste. They also tend to be less tannic than the wines from Tuscany or Piemonte.
- Valpolicella Classico is a light quaffing wine, generally fermented in steel, kept in tanks, and then bottled in the spring, to be drunk on a daily basis. It tends to have a lively bouquet with floral notes and hints of cherry or berry fruits – this is definitely an aromatic wine. On the palate it is light, fruity, and with a pleasant touch of acidity that leaves a clean finish. Not much in the way of tannins. Should be served with first courses — pasta with meat-based sauces and soups, or vegetable-based entrees.
- Valpolicella Classico Superiore is a very different animal from the above. Though made from the same grapes it is aged in wood for at least a year; it emerges more structured and interesting, and in some cases reaches great heights. The wood can be either large botti, or smaller barriques, which some producers use to add tannins to the wine. There is a certain amount of controversy regarding this point, because Valpolicella has a distinctive floral-fruity bouquet that is in part overshadowed by the vanilla notes surrendered by barriques. Therefore the more traditional wineries won’t use them. Instead, to add tannins to the wine they pass it over the skins and seeds left over from the fermentation of Reicioto (more on that below). The tannins gained are light and tend to be well rounded, while the skins surrender more aromatics to the bouquet, and add intriguing complexities to the wine on the palate. This technique, which is unique to Valpolicella, is called Ripassa, and can give wondrous results. Though Valpolicella Classico Superiore can be drunk throughout the meal, it will go best with more involved entrees, for example roasts or stews.
Our rich history began over 125 years ago. A winery is founded in 1883 by Abele Bolla in a small town of the Veneto and thus is born an historic trademark of Veneto wines. Abele, the proprietor of a small inn called “Al Gambero,” dreamed of making high quality wines. His aspirations, pioneering spirit, and iron will leads to the creation of the family’s original winery. In 1909, the Bolla winery receives its first official recognition – the gold medal at the Bologna trade fair, attesting to the wine’s outstanding quality and encouraging Abele in his mission. “The amber wine of the Bolla cellars,” as D’Annunzio so fondly referred to it, is truly worthy of the finest of tables. In the 1930s, Abele’s son Alberto opens the second winery in the Valpolicella area (Pedemonte village) which has since become Bolla’s principal headquarters. Throughout the course of the century, Bolla continues to enjoy an ever growing reputation and in 1939, becomes one of the very few wineries ever to obtain the Royal Warrant of Appointment from the House of Savoy and, with it, the right to bear its coat of arms.
Now well established in Italy and Europe, Bolla looks abroad to the United States market along with its finest restaurants. In 1947, the first transatlantic shipment is made. A few years later, in 1953, thanks to keen instinct, the first Amarone is created. The vintage year is 1950, and the first labelled bottle of Amarone in Italy bears the name “Bolla.” In 1959, Frank Sinatra is one of the many American Bolla wine enthusiasts and personally endorses Soave Bolla.