Valpolicella Classico is an everyday drinking red wine from Italy that pairs best with everyday food such as pepperoni pizza, red-sauce pasta, risotto, roasted chicken, pork chops in a red sauce, and barbecued foods. Black cherry, herbs, and spicy fruit dominate Valpolicella Classico, as does its high acidity. Valpolicella Classico is low in both alcohol and tannin, making it incredibly food-friendly and inexpensive. However, it is also thin in flavour and will be crushed by heavier pasta and pizzas. For heavier dishes in these categories, you’ll want to select a Valpolicella Superiore.

Best Wine with Valpolicella

What is the difference between Valpolicella Classico and Valpolicella Rosso?

Valpolicella Classico is a blended Italian red wine meant for everyday drinking. The Classico portion lets the buyer know that this wine came from a specific area in Veneto where Valpolicella was historically produced. As the wine became popular, the borders of what could be Valpolicella expanded. Valpolicella Rosso is Valpolicella that has been produced outside of this original boundary. It is not labelled Classico, as when you move outside the original region, the growing conditions change (soil, climate, temperature), which can change the wine profile.

Folonari Valpolicella

What is the difference between Valpolicella Classico and Valpolicella Superiore?

Valpolicella Superiore is Valpolicella Classico that has been aged at least one year in wood, and is a minimum of 12% alcohol. Valpolicella Superiore is much richer in flavour than Valpolicella Classico and will pair with somewhat heavier dishes such as steak, burgers, lamb and meatier pasta.

What about Valpolicella Ripasso and Valpolicella Amarone?

Valpolicella Ripasso and Valpolicella Amarone are in a completely different league than Valpolicella Classico. Ripasso and Amarone are heavy hitters as they have bold flavours, high alcohol content and almost syrupy concentrated flavours. Wines labelled Amarone and Ripasso do not apply to any of the pairings we mention below.

Valpolicella Classico & Pizza Pairing

Valpolicella Rosso is the ultimate pairing with pizza as the wine tastes a little bit like pizza. On the nose, you’ll find lots of red and black cherry, along with herbs that complement the tomato sauce spread across your pizza. Valpolicella is low in tannin and high in acidity so that it won’t clash with the tomato sauce. Tannin and Tomato sauce do not mix, as the sauce makes the tannin taste like tin.

Since Valpolicella is incredibly food-friendly and light, it won’t get in the way of most toppings. The wine is also inexpensive. You can buy high-quality Valpolicella Classico in the $8-$20 range, making it a no-brainer when you want to keep things casual.

For meatier pizza, such as a meat lover’s pizza or pizza with sausage, I’d go with Valpolicella Superiore. The more concentrated flavours offer a bit more complexity to hold up to and mingle with the meat.  You’ll find that Valpolicella is also excellent with a Calzone, Panzerotti, or pizza bites.

Valpolicella Classico & Pasta with Red Sauce Pairing

Valpolicella Classico is fantastic with pasta with a red sauce as the herbs and cherry flavours blend in perfectly with the tomato sauce. A simple pasta isn’t going to be overly complicated in flavour. Thus a lighter red that is refreshing in acidity is all you need. Valpolicella Classico complements the pasta sauce and keeps your mouth refreshed in between bites. The food-friendly nature of this red wine also ensures it will go great with any veggies or herbs that might be tossed into your sauce.

Finally, with Valpolicella Classico being inexpensive, it’s a fantastic choice to pair up with pasta when you want to relax and not overthink things. If you are featuring a meatier Pasta Sauce, like Spaghetti and Meatballs,  level up a few dollars more with a richer Valpolicella Superiore.

Valpolicella Classico & Ham Pairing

Ham is salty and sweet, and Valpolicella is light, acidic and fruity. The red and black cherry component of Valpolicella matches the sweetness of the Ham while the light and acidic aspect of Valpolicella is refreshing against the ham’s saltiness.

If you require a red wine to bring to an Easter Brunch where ham is being served, Valpolicella Classico is an ideal choice as it is incredibly food-friendly. Being low in alcohol, a glass of Valpolicella Classico won’t get you drunk at lunchtime either.

Valpolicella Classico & Pasta with Roasted Chicken

Red wine and Chicken seems like an odd food and wine pairing, however, Valpolicella is light, fruity and acidic. If you like BBQ sauce slathered on your Chicken, or your chicken in a red pasta sauce, you’ll understand how the cherry flavours of Valpolicella go so well with the neutral tasting chicken.

With Valpolicella being so light, it won’t overpower the tender chicken flavours. Plus, you get a bit of herb, spice and smoke in Valpolicella that imparts its own characteristics on the roasted chicken and further improves the taste. High in acidity, Valpolicella can bring dry chicken back from the grave as this fresh and youthful wine offers plenty of refreshing flavours.

Valpolicella Classico is also surprisingly delicious with Lemon Chicken served over a bed of warm pasta. While the wine won’t complement the lemon and citrus flavours of this meal, Valpolicella is high enough in acidity to not clash with the lemon flavours, allowing its vibrant red cherry flavours to shine bright and bring out the savoury aspect of the chicken.