Bolla was a staple in Italian restaurants in the U.S. 40 years ago, disappeared for about 20 yrs. and more recently has been revived by the Italian wine conglomerate Gruppo Italiano VIni. They are ubiquitous in almost every supermarket and produce about 10 million cases per year. Among their many wines is this attractively priced Valpolicella, a region in Veneto that makes a light table wine from a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes.
Not to be confused with its big brother Amarone Della Valpolicella, Valpolicella wines are fruity, with good acidity, an attractive bitter herbal note and sometimes almond flavors. They are usually simple and do not age well although the wines from the Classico sub region or those labeled Superiore (aged for 12 months) can be delightful and those employing the ripasso (aged on leftover skins and lees) or passito (made from dried grapes) methods are fascinating.
The Bolla is just a basic Valpolicella. It shows sour cherry with hints of raspberry and earth on the straightforwardly Italian nose although some green notes are distracting. The palate is thin and soft, light in body, with mouthwatering acidity and drying tannins. Very simple and ordinary but lacks the bitter herbal and almond flavors that make Valpolicella interesting. As a cheap introduction to Valpolicella it’s fine, but I doubt it will give you much appreciation for what this region can produce.
It’s best served slightly chilled as a summer sipper.
Simple, summery and rustic, I had forgotten about this delightful John Hartford song from the 1970’s. It makes a good companion for Valpolicella