Viviani: Valpolicella's best kept secret

Viviani: Valpolicella's best kept secret
One of Veneto’s, if not Italy’s, best kept secrets is the Valpolicella estate of Claudio Viviani, situated high up in the Mazzano zone near the town of Negrar at 450 metres above sea level. Aided by his wife Sandra and children he crafts some of the region’s most ethereal and eminently drinkable wines.

Claudio’s fervour and passion for good quality wine growing is dizzying. His single-minded approach is focused purely on what he feels people will enjoy drinking and is determinedly not a trophy or medal-hunter (though they have been awarded ‘Tre Bicchieri’ – the ultimate accolade for Italian wines – on a number of occasions). The wines are always balanced, intense but elegant and undergo long, soft gentle extractions. The style of the wines is uniquely Valpolicella but Claudio’s predilection and bias for good Burgundy is clearly an influence, the other major factor being the high altitude of the vines. His Amarones are obviously rich but much less heavy or dried than any other examples we have tried – a refreshing, light, floral character is their distinguishing feature.

This is a small, little-known estate that goes about its business quietly and effectively. A discovery you won’t regret making.

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