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The Veneto Region and Super Tuscans

Veneto is the 8th largest wine region in Italy, located in the harsh, north-eastern corner of the country. However, the region is protected by the alps. This means the Veneto Region also has a warmer climate towards the coastal plains, river valleys, and the Garda Lake Zone. Veneto has 90,000 hectares of vineyards, with 35,400 classified as DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which refers to the government’s guarantee of the wines’ origins), making it the biggest DOC producer in Italy.

The Veneto Region for red varietals is broken into two areas, the east and the west. The most popular red varietal is Valpolicella, made up of the grapes Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara and are grown on the west side of the region. These grapes are grown in the warmer climates of the Veneto Region and are ideal for these red varietals. The best way to blend these grapes is to make the now famous Amarone blend. Amarone is made from partially dried grapes from north of Verona and has a deep, dark cherry flavour. It is well structured and can be cellared for a much longer time that the traditional Valpolicella.

The eastern side of Veneto is the region that grows red varietals that are used as blending grapes. These grapes include Merlot, Carmenere, and other Italian blending grapes. Some of these varietals are used to blend with Sangiovese to make Super Tuscan Wines.

Super Tuscans came about in the middle of the 20th century when the master winemaker of Sassicaia planted Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at his winery. Super Tuscans are defined as any wine (mostly red) that does not adhere to DOC regulations, basically meaning they can use any grapes they wish to plant, not just those allowed by official regulations.

The most common Super Tuscans are either 100% Sangiovese or are blended with international Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. Since these wines were not authentic in the eyes of the Italian government, these Super Tuscans were classified as table wine until 1992, when they created a level between table wine and DOC’s. This level is called Indicazione Geographica Tipica or IGT.

These days, Super Tuscan wines made from grapes around the Veneto region are extremely popular, delicious, often expensive, and will store for a very long time. Restaurants around the world are clamoring to get their hands on the finest wines to come out of these regions.

The Home Vintner will be receiving a limited supply of a wine from the Veneto Region – This new Limited Release Eclipse is called Bravado, and is a Super Tuscan style with grape skins.  It has deep flavour and a high alcohol content, making it perfect for long term storage! Get yours while it lasts!

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