Amarone & Alto Adige

A wine tour spotlighting the cult reds of Valpolicella & alpine whites of Alto Adige

Tour Overview:

    This new 6-day gourmet wine tour, debuting in 2015, combines our Venice to Amarone wine tour with several days in the alpine region of Alto Adige, home to many of Italy's best white wines.

  • Explore three wine regions: Alto Adige, Valpolicella (Amarone), Soave
  • Private sit-down tastings at Ferrari, Hofstätter, Pieropan, Tiefenbrunner, Cantina Terlano, Trabucchi, Allegrini & more
  • Soak up some Shakespeare plus Roman and medieval history on a walking tour of Verona
  • Visit Bolzano, home to the museum of Ötzi the Iceman
  • Experience (and taste!) the Austrian-flavored culture of Südtirol / Alto Adige
  • This is one of our rare tours that combines two different regions of Italy—in this case, the Veneto and Alto Adige. Only 90 minutes apart, they're strongholds for some of Italy's best wines.

    We begin this wine tour in Alto Adige, in the lower slopes of the Italian Alps. Here vineyards line the Adige River, where cool-climate grapes thrive: aromatic gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio, as well as luscious reds like pinot noir and lagrein. Daily tastings spotlight the best producers, from top-notch cooperatives in Terlano to private, family-run estates such as Tiefenbrunner and Hofstätter.

    The second half is in Valpolicella, a hilly zone north of Verona. Since antiquity, semi-dried grapes have worked their magic here. Today, Amarone prevails as the most luscious modern expression of this ancient style. It is deservedly a cult wine among cognoscenti.

    But it also has an array of attractive siblings: easy, approachable Valpolicella; complex, hybrid-style Ripasso; and luscious dessert wine Recioto. We’ll learn the differences and see the special steps involved. Far more than Barolo or Brunello, Italy’s other pedigree reds, Amarone is a labor-intensive wine, requiring carefully trimmed bunches to be laid on mats for a four-month drying period (appassimento) in airy fruit lofts, which we’ll visit. In this land of five finger-like valleys, where wind and rain sweep down from the Dolomites, weather matters as much after harvest as before, making things even more challenging for winemakers.

    Next door is Soave, a wine region named after the eponymous town. This walled village has an impressive crenellated military castle, once a pawn in the wars between Venice and Milan. But even more impressive is today’s Soave wine. Abandon any preconceptions based on spaghetti wines of old! This is a new day for Soave, shepherded in by a handful of mavericks like Pieropan, who have rigorously pursued quality.


Dispatches from the wine road
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