By Celia Evans
May 25th is National Wine Day in America. So this is the perfect time to talk about what is perhaps the best wine region in the world, Veneto !
Years ago while visiting Milan Fashion Week I fell in love with Amarone wine. This rich red wine was so tasty and amazing that I felt compelled to visit its region of origin, Veneto.
One year my husband and I rented a car and drove from Milan to Venice, which only takes a couple of hours by car. On our way we stopped at wineries near Venice and solidified our love for Amarone and Ripasso wines. From there we began ordering literally cases of wines from Veneto, for ourselves, and as gifts for friends and family.
Italy has always been one of my favorite places, there’s mountains, beaches, art, ancient ruins, incredible fashion and of course there’s the wine and food. The care, love and expertise that goes in to fashion, wine and food in Italy, is really extraordinary. Just on a regular day in a regular way the average Italian person holds so much respect for their appearance, their daily meal, and their glass of wine. They really are more sophisticated than most of the world in these things. It’s elegant.
Most people know about Tuscany, with Chianti and Super Tuscan Wines. It’s a nice day trip from Florence to go to a Tuscan Winery. Those wines made their way to America first. Many years ago Chianti was all Americans mostly knew about Italian wine.
Amarone della Valpolicella, however is the King of Italian wine. Made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina (45–95%, of which up to 50% could be substituted with Corvinone), Rondinella (5–30%) and other approved red grape varieties (up to 25%). Valpolicella is in the province of Verona, within the large Veneto region.
I travelled to Milan Fashion Week in February after not going for 3 years, and of course went back to Veneto after the fashion week. If you go to Veneto, these places are some of my top recommendations:
We found Speri wines in Total Wine stores years ago and wanted to visit the Winery. For seven generations this winery has been creating wonderful organic wines. Speri has a commitment to bio-dynamics and sustainability. This wine producer has always been organic to the point that it’s not even their main selling feature. They are a large scale commercial winery that just does wine making the right way. We spent the day with Chiara Speri. As she told us the story of her family and educated us more on Amarone and Ripasso wines we tasted wines from various illustrious years. This award winning winery is family owned and is a must see.
I was at an event in Miami for Formula 1 and they served us Brigaldara wines. I was immediately taken with the wine and literally bought some of the remaining unopened magnums from the wine representative as the display was being taken down at the end of the event. They were not even for sale !
Brigaldara winery traces its history back to the 12th Century. At one point being owned by an Augustinian monastery, before being sold in the 16th Century to a noble family from Verona. Fast Forward to the 20th Century when in 1928, Renzo Cesari, who is well known in the wine world, purchased Brigaldara. It is a family operation with a long-lasting collaboration with Roberto Ferrarini, a wine innovator. This is also an award winning wine with several touring and tasting options that can just be booked online.
La Collina Dei Ciliegi is more than a winery. It is an experience. We went there on recommendation from one of my close friends from Milan, and were not disappointed. It is a new winery in the area, but it has a cutting edge mentality. Based in Valpentana, they are creating some incredible new wines. When we arrived we went on a tour through the wine fields by four wheeler. We drove through the rolling hills past the herds of sheep and horses and stables that exist on the property. It’s really a very magical pastoral landscape, so much so that Collina Dei Ciliegi has created a hotel for glamping on the property. You can stay on the property in luxury tents and enjoy wine under the stars. It’s romantic. They also have an event space for weddings or parties, a helipad for guests popping over quickly on helicopter from Milan, a membership club and a 5 star restaurant on premises. We had a world class five course lunch on property that was masterful in technique. La Collina Dei Ciliegi is bringing the region into the future.