When I was younger and my wine budget was even tighter than it is today, Bolla Valpolicella was one of my “go to” wines. I never thought of it as an outstanding wine, but it was good enough and it was cheap. And I didn’t know a whole lot about wine at that time, so my standards were low. When this bottle showed up, it had been several years since the last time I’ve tasted this wine. So I was curious what I would think about it, being much more experienced at tasting/evaluating wines now… and much more picky.
I have to admit, I was skeptical about this wine. In the years since I stopped drinking it, I had developed a prejudice against it. “That was a cheap wine for when I was younger. I’ve moved on to better wines,” I would say to myself when I saw this wine.
I mentioned I was going to be tasting this wine to a wine writer friend of mine, Elisabetta Tosi, who lives in the Valpolicella region and she exclaimed, “Nooooooo, not Bolla!”
But, I was pleasantly surprised. It was good. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was good. And when I told Elisabetta it was good, she conceded that when she’s visited Bolla and tasted their Valpolicella it was good. But I assume that for her, Bolla is the bulk wine producer that lacks character and depth—much like we might think of a producer like Gallo in the US.
Yes, you can find smaller producers of Valpolicella, with single-vineyard production that evokes elegance, if not magic, out of the wine. But you’re going to pay a premium for that. If you want a dirt-cheap introduction to Valpolicella, then Bolla isn’t a bad option.
As is common in Italy, the name, Valpolicella, refers to the region, Verona, and style of the wine. The grapes include 60% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 10% other regional grapes from Verona. Corvina is considered to be the best grape, while Rondinella is a “lesser” grape.
I’ve been told that many producers in the region are making less Valpolicella than they used to, due to the higher profits that can be made from Amarone and Ripasso which are made from the same types of grapes in the same region.
Valpolicella is a light red wine and should be served slightly chilled. I typically serve it between 50-55° F.
It’s pleasant on the nose, although not to powerful. It offers aromas such as apple peel, raspberry, licorice and cola. In the mouth it’s a light-bodied wine with fresh blackberry and black cherry flavors. The acidity is enough to bring life to the fruit and the tannins are soft, but add a touch of texture. It finishes with cherry and vanilla flavors and medium length. Overall, this is a great wine for the price.
Wine: Bolla Valpolicella
Variety: Red Blend
Find Bolla Valpolicella with Snooth
Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.