The Valpolicella valley
La Valpolicella and its valleys
Tedeschi is one of the historical estates of Valpolicella.
The production area of Valpolicella is very large. Its registered vineyards nowadays cover approx. 7,000 hectares. It is bordered to the north by the Lessini mountains, to the south by the Veronese plain, to the east by the Soave area and to the west by the Adige river. The region is divided into three areas: Valpolicella classica (to the north-west of Verona), Valpantena (a narrow strip of vineyards to the north of Verona) and East Valpolicella (to the east of Verona, partly overlapping the DOC Soave area). The estate is located both in Valpolicella classica and in East Valpolicella.
The Valpolicella classica area is made up of three valleys: Negrar, Marano and Fumane. Its area is divided between the municipalities of Fumane, Marano, Negrar, San Pietro Incariano e Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella. Each of the three main valleys gives wines with different characteristics. The Negrar Valley produces elegant, full-bodied, mineral and very harmonious wines. As its vineyards are located 400 m above sea level, the Marano Valley produces high-quality, very aromatic wines, especially in warmer years. Finally, the Fumane Valley produces soft wines with low sugar residue. The area further south (where the valley meets the towns of Sant’Ambrogio and Gargagnago) makes extremely typical wines with low acidity, excellent body and which can keep well for a long time.
The Tedeschis’ vineyards in Valpolicella classica are located in Pedemonte and in the municipalities of Sant’Ambrogio and Fumane. The Monte Olmi vineyard is located in Pedemonte. It was one of the very first single-vineyard wines in the area and is nowadays well-known all over the world. The vineyard covers approx. 2.5 hectares and is grown on terraces sustained by drystone walls.
The vineyards to the east of Verona are located in the Squaranto Valley, Mezzane Valley and Illasi Valley. This area is characterized by hills and steep gorges which were created by prehistoric volcanic eruptions. The soil is rich in marine fossils, especially around Illasi. The area consists of the municipalities of Verona, San Martino Buon Albergo, Mezzane di Sotto, Colognola ai Colli, Illasi and Tregnago.
Bought in 2006, the estate of Maternigo is located in this area, between the municipalities of Tregnago and Mezzane di Sotto, and falls into the Denominazione di Orgine Controllata Valpolicella.
The estate was bought on the basis of long and careful research carried out by a team of agronomists and geologists to identify the best soils to produce high-quality wines.
Origin of Valpolicella’s name
In the middle of the XII century, the names Valle di Pruviniano and Valle di Veriago, assigned to two distinct areas of Valpolicella disappeared. On 24 August 1177, one year after the battle of Legnagno, the vulgar name of “Val Polesèla” appeared for the first time in a decree made by Frederick Barbarossa. The etymology of the word Valpolicella (a Tuscan variant of Val Poleséla,) has been the subject of numerous studies and research since the XVI century. The meaning of the word in Greek is “land of many fruits – land of many plants,” referring to the natural fertility of the land. However, if considered a compound word, its meaning would change to “very splendid,” a description well suited to Valpolicella. A study conducted by Dionisi, suggested a double derivation – from Greek (poli) and Latin (cella) – to arrive at the definition of “a repository of abundance” linked to the concept of fruitfulness and thus to plenty. Asquini defined the name as “wine cells,” i.e. cellars. In another study, Toniolo analysed the word Poleséla, explaining its origins by linking them to the morphological characteristics of the valley area, which extends along the outlets of the various valleys of the region and along the course of the river Adige. However, on the basis of this theory, it is difficult to apply this name to a much larger region of hills and mountains far from the river Adige. Nevertheless, this theory has received most support by scholars.
The estate and the vineyards
The present production regulations require that the blend of grapes is mainly made up of Corvina (45-95%). The use of Corvinone is allowed up to a maximum of 50%, in substitution of an equal quantity of Corvina. Moreover, it is possible to use 5-30% of Rondinella. The other typical local grape varieties, such as Molinara, are classified as “non-aromatic red grape varieties authorized and recommended by the Province of Verona”. They can be no more than 15% (single varieties not exceeding 10%). It is also possible to use up to 10% other Italian red grapes (pursuant to Law 82/06 Art. 2) provided that their cultivation is allowed in the province of Verona.
As they have been producing Valpolicella as well as Amarone and Recioto in the Valpolicella region for centuries, the Tedeschis are convinced that native varieties are the best and the most suited to produce high-quality wines with a strong bond with their territory. Valpolicella grapes are very modern and each variety substantially contributes towards the production of a perfect wine. This is the reason why a small quantity of lesser-known traditional varieties, such as Oseleta, Dindarella, Negrara, Rossignola and Forselina, is grown on the property. All of them have a potential that is worth rediscovering and developing since they add to the complexity and the organoleptic characteristics of the wines.
Corvina produces small, compact, pyramid-shaped bunches with asymmetrical wings. Berries are round and ellipsoidal with violet-blue, bloom-covered skin and are vulnerable to botrytis infection. It produces a bright red, complex and elegant wine, with marked taste of cherry and raspberry as well as excellent body.
It has large, compact, pyramid-shaped bunches with two wings. Berries are large, round and ellipsoidal, with violet-blue, bloom-covered, thick skin. It is more vulnerable to botrytis infection than Corvina. It produces a bright red, rich, velvety and intensely fruity wine, especially if the grapes come from the hills.
It has compact, cylindrical-pyramid-shaped bunches with a single wing. Berries are cylindrical, violet-blue and thick-skinned. It is highly disease-resistant and is thus particularly suitable for drying. It produces a bright red wine, with clear notes of cherry and wild berries as well as good acidity.
Valpolicella is an extraordinary region. It is rich in monuments, works of art, architectural jewels that bear witness to the presence of ancient civilizations on its territory. The Tedeschis have been living in Valpolicella since the first half of the 15th century. Their strong bond with this region is shown by their promotion of cultural heritage, such as the four parish churches of Valpolicella. These churches were featured on the labels of six vintages of Rosso La Fabriseria, a wine which is no longer produced. The labels of the 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 vintages showed architectural details of the parish churches. This short journey through local works of art has ended with the monograph “Profumi d’antico in Valpolicella: le Pievi”.
For more information about the parish churches click
on their names:
Valpolicella is famous not only for its parish churches, but also for its patrician villas scattered on the hills. Verona, located only 8 km from the winery, is well worth a visit. The city offers a variety of monuments, ranging from the Roman time – such as the famous arena – to the della Scala period.
Finally, a trip to Lake Garda, with its wonderful hills and mountains mirroring in the water, offers a rare chance to relax. A trip to Monte Baldo gives breathtaking views of the largest Italian lake. The restaurants in the area serve dishes prepared according to the oldest Veronese traditions which have been kept alive from generation to generation and perfectly match the great Valpolicella wines.