The Corvina grape is the top red variety of the Veneto region in northeast Italy, the centerpiece of such well-known wines as the relatively light Valpolicella and Bardolino and the muscular Amarone.
Somewhere in between the two styles is the Bertani winery’s delightful 2015 Secco-Bertani Vintage Edition, a $28 blend of 80 percent Corvina and 20 percent Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes grown around Bertani’s estate in Verona.
While Bertani, which was founded in 1857, is most famous for its Amarone, a glance at its website reveals that the Secco-Bertani label goes back to 1860, when the winery introduced a dry style, a secco, inspired by French winemaking and contrasting with the region’s traditional sweet red wines.
The 2015 Secco-Bertani is a beautiful example of how this wine has withstood the test of time. Refined and elegant, it has the “feel” of an aged Bordeaux whose rough edges have been smoothed over by bottle age, even though it’s still very much in its youth.
In fact, it’s that youthful exuberance and freshness, combined with a polished tannic structure, that make it so attractive and accessible at this point.
Lovely red and dark fruits, including raspberry, cherry, and blueberry, are framed by a vanilla overlay and accented by hints of tobacco and cedar. The wine’s lively acidity persists on the long finish. The oak treatment is integrated seamlessly, and the alcohol is a moderate 13.5 percent.
It all adds up to a highly versatile food wine for everything from meat and pasta dishes, including red sauces, to strongly flavored fish like salmon. It’s also a great introduction to the under-appreciated wines of Veneto.