Valtènesi

Valtènesi is the historic name of the hilly territory west of Lake Garda and, since 2011, it has also become the name of the denomination of controlled origin (doc) of the wines of the area.
In response to the need to be better identified by consumers and the market, the producers have chosen to promote their own wines using the name which has represented their territory for centuries.

TWO WINES
Valtènesi doc includes two types of wines  based on the Groppello grape which must be present in a percentage of between 50 and 100%.

1. Valtènesi (understood as red wine even if “red” is not written on the label)
2. Valtènesi chiaretto

Other grapes which can make up part of the composition of Valtènesi doc wines are those authorized in the province of Brescia and which are most common today on the Brescian shore of Lake Garda, essentially Sangiovese, Barbera, Marzemino and Rebo. International vines are limited to a total of 10%.

AREA OF PRODUCTION
The area of production comprises the territory of the villages of the historic Valtènesi (San Felice, Puegnago, Manerba, Polpenazze, Moniga, Soiano, Padenghe) extended to the circle of morenic hills behind with terrains with similar soil conditions.
To sum up: the hills between Salò and Desenzano.

Valtènesi doc regulations specify when wines can go on sale: not before 14th February for Valtènesi Chiaretto and not before 1st September for Valtènesi.
After all Valtènesi is a territorial wine based on Groppello, just as, for example Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, are all territorial wines based on Sangiovese.

We producers have the task of making the wines of Valtènesi recognizable through the definition of a particular character, to be found above all in the composition of the soils and in the dominance of Groppello; and also in the proportions of other grapes (this use of blends of various grapes  has however been part of our tradition for a long time).
For this reason the denomination on the label of our wines is today undergoing changes which will conclude in the second half of 2013.

Garda classico Chiaretto doc has already become Valtènesi Chiaretto doc and will be sold from 14th February every year.
No substantial modification to the wine in the bottle but a convinced commitment so that the great improvement in the quality of this type of wine which has been made over the last years is recognized.
Although it is hard to change prejudice, it seems difficult not to realize that this wine  has changed profoundly, starting from the choice of the moment of harvest – earlier than grapes for red wines – and even more so in the cellar where it has on average shorter contact with the skins, with different blends of the various grapes than in the past and, most important of all, being protected from oxygen at all the stages from pressing to bottling.
This is probably Valtènesi’s winning card, a modern, delicate and fragrant rosé,  with improved quality and identity, a pale rosé in Provential style but with our saline and sapid characteristics.

With regard to red wines, we feel it is essential to clarify that the product name Valtènesi can refer to a variety of wines for each producer; it is in no way an addition but a substitution of the existing territorial wines.

For this reason, during 2013, as Garda classico Groppello doc and Campei Benaco bresciano igt of 2010 vintage are consumed, they will be substituted by Valtènesi doc 2011 and Valtènesi Campei doc 2011.
The former will have a slight decrease in the percentage of Groppello to about 70%, and the wine will remain substantially unchanged with regard to Garda classico Groppello of preceding vintages.

In Campei, on the other hand, Groppello will be increased up to 50% to come within the characteristics of Valtènesi doc. We are working on the other 50% to maintain the character of a wine – in terms of taste, complexity and the possibility of ageing – which has always been recognized as one of the  best reds of our area.

Our current idea is that Valtènesi will be available from one to one and a half years after harvest with the characteristics of an elegant, fresh, fruity wine, while Campei will continue to be sold a year later after moderate contact with wood.
What was called in rather old-fashioned terms, a  “riserva” or “superiore” wine with respect to its “base vintage”.

Finally Malborghetto Benaco bresciano igt will remain exactly the same in terms of content and name: a wine based on Rebo and Merlot, which is not exactly territorial and is definitely characterized by the grapes.

Without wanting to over-emphasize, we are convinced that the new Valtènesi doc represents a historic occasion for the producers of the Brescian shores of Lake Garda; an occasion that may also have a far wider value with important effects on the administration of the area, on touristic development and on the future of the landscape. A strong stimulus to work on the road towards quality and identity to enhance the wines and to see the rebirth of vine-growing as a form of profitable use - and therefore  of protection- of the precious coast of the biggest and most beautiful lake in Italy.