Corvina: a rare varietal

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Corvina: a rare varietal

Even though grown internationally, some varietals remain rare and unusual: here’s your chance to discover one of them!

Published on October 20, 2020

Corvina is already familiar to who love Amarone, a Venetian wine known for its concentrated flavours, strength, and high alcohol levels, since Corvina is the main grape variety used to make it. Nevertheless, for most people “Corvina” brings to mind a type of car rather than a type of grape!

According to several wine bibles (including famed Wine Grapes), the name of this seemingly exotic grape comes from corvo, meaning “crow” in Italian, and was inspired by its dark colour. However, the name might also have originated from cruina, a synonym in the local Venetian dialect for crua, the word for an unripe or green fruit. The latter might well hold more proverbial water, since the Corvina is indeed a variety that ripens late.

While the grape is usually associated with Italian appellations Valpolicella and Bardolino, it can also be found in New South Wales, Australia, and in the Tupungato vineyard in Argentina.

Contrary to what you might think, there is no link between Corvina and Corvinone, another local Italian wine variety often associated with Valpolicella.

It’s true that Amarones and other Italian Ripassos are quite full-bodied, dense, and made for cellaring. As this vintage from Montresor winery demonstrates, Corvina—if grapes are first dried, and if they’re vinified alone—reveals a personality that is completely different. It becomes a wine with great suppleness, with a tight tannin structure where stewed fruit, smoke, and cedar are present, as are the spices clove and nutmeg.

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