Of all of the Viviani wines this is the most niche and unarguably the most exciting. Getting Recioto di Valpolicella right is not always easy, but when it works the wine can be utterly captivating. Vivianis are one of the foremost exponents of this wine style. Their 2010 is brimming with notes of dark chocolate, fresh and dried flowers, kirsch, fresh cherries, minerals and balsamic touches. Intense, uplifting, refreshing and totally unforgettable. This is one of the few wines that could form an utterly delicious match with chocolate. The result of dried Corvina and Rondinella grapes, made in the same way as Amarone, but not fermented to total dryness. This Recioto has 13% alcohol and 156g/ litre of residual sugar.
The Vivianis are an artisanal winemaking couple who are passionate about wine, passionate about their region and partial to the odd fine Burgundy too. From their vineyards in the Mazzano zone of Valpolicella Classico with stunning vistas over the town of Negrar and its valley, they are making some of the most honest, pure and engaging Valpolicella there is. The vines are situated at around 450 metres above sea level. Great attention to detail is paid in the vineyard (pruning, green harvesting and hand selecting at harvest time), whilst in the winery extractions are very gentle and intervention is minimal. For Recioto, Valpolicella Superiore and Amarone the grapes are dried in very small amounts in tiny cases, this allows for the air in there windy out-building to dry the grapes very efficiently and helps prevent disease. Very labour intensive, their drying house is packed to the rafters with small cases, but the results are clearly worth the effort. It was in 1992 when Claudio Viviani started bottling the produce of the family's 14 ha after decades of his father selling in bulk. How far he has come, now Viviani is firmly among the leading lights of the appellation.
Now the largest wine-producing region in Italy, Veneto sits in the north-east of Italy stretching westward to Lake Garda and north to the Austrian border. Soave and Valpolicella are the regions two most important zones, but drastic enlargments of existing DOCs means that quality is not always assurred. Look for quality conscious growers such as Gini who use the single varietal Garganega rather than the other, permitted but somewhat neutral varieties.