Wine varietals and styles

Get to know corvina

By Halliday Wine Companion

9 Mar, 2023

Here's your guide to the Italian red grape variety, corvina [kor-vee-nah].

Go to section: Corvina tasting characteristics | Origins of corvina | How to pair food with corvina | Serving temperature for corvina | The best Australian corvina regions

Corvina Wine

Corvina is used in the production of four distinct styles of wine: dry table wines, made from freshly harvested grapes; as well as amarone, recioto and ripasso style wines – these latter three are made from partially dried grapes using the appassimento method, and exhibit flavours that are much more concentrated.

You'll like corvina if you like gamay (particularly Beaujolais nouveau), pinot noir, tempranillo, barbera or other easy-drinking Italian red.

Vento, Italy vineyardCorvina (or Corvina Veronese) is an Italian red grape variety that hails from Veneto in north-west Italy.

Corvina tasting characteristics 

Dry corvina-based wines are medium in body with fresh acidity, light to moderate tannins and show sour red cherry, plum, and, occasionally, bitter almond characters.

Amarone-style wines are dry to off-dry, full-bodied wines with high alcohol, high tannins and pronounced fresh and dried fruit (prunes, raisins, figs) flavours. Recioto wines are sweet with intense red and black fruit characters, plus sweet spices such as licorice, cinnamon, chocolate and cloves.

Ripasso wines are made by combining the dried grape skins from recioto wines with a standard dry corvina-based wine and putting the mix through a second ferment to create a deeper, more character-laden wine. 

Origins of corvina 

Corvina (or Corvina Veronese) is an Italian red grape variety that hails from the Veneto region in north-west Italy. Corvina is the most important grape variety of Valpolicella, and is the dominant component (alongside rondinella and molinara) in Valpolicella DOC and Bardolino DOC wines. In the neighbouring Garda DOC, you’ll find 100 per cent corvina wines are allowed. 

Try these examples from Italy: 2017 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella (Veneto), 2019 Marion Valpolicella Borgo Corvina (Veneto).

Pizza being carried to a tableTry corvina with a range of Italian dishes including pizza and tomato-based pastas.

How to pair food with corvina

Pair corvina with charcuterie, pizza, tomato-based pasta dishes, bruschetta, fish, chicken, and pork.

Serving temperature for corvina

The ideal serving temperature for corvina is 12–14 degrees.

The best Australian corvina regions

In Australia, the variety has been pioneered by Freeman Vineyards in the Hilltops region of New South Wales. Freeman makes a dry style (the Freeman Rosso) from freshly harvested corvina and rondinella grapes, and a ripasso-style (the Freeman Secco) from partially dried corvina and rondinella grapes.

Across eight modules, Halliday Wine Academy's Introduction to Wine course offers a detailed look at the Australia wine landscape. Learn about wine varietalsAustralian wine regions, how wine is made, how to taste and describe wine, how to approach food and wine matches, along with handy tips that address common wine questions.

Pizza image credit: Wine Australia.