In sight of the fort
In Brentino Belluno, close to the border with the Trentino region, we find the Roeno winery. As well as booking a tour of the Fugatti family’s vineyards, visitors can stay the night or enjoy a meal at the farmhouse restaurant. The restaurant serves local dishes matched with the wide range of wines produced on the estate. The grapes for the enticing Pinot Grigio Rivoli come from vineyards right by the old fort. The prestigious Riesling Renano Collezione di Famiglia is produced only in years when the harvest is just right; the resulting wine is long-lived and profound, and best enjoyed after a long stay in a cellar. The stately Enantio Riserva comes from ancient, pre-vine-louse vines.
Take a dip
Tenuta La Presa is located in the township of Caprino Veronese. An oasis of peace in the northernmost hills of the Bardolino DOC, the holding comprises a 15th-century farmhouse with elegant accommodation and a large hall where events are hosted, plus a recently-built underground winery. Around the buildings is a beautiful park with a swimming pool nestled among the olive trees. Visitors are greeted with courtesy and care, and in the visitor area one can taste the Metodo Classico Cuvée Assoluta which uses 100% Pinot Grigio grapes, the Bardolino Baldovino and the fresh, citrussy Chiaretto Baldovino.
Moving away from the lakeside, the next stop is Villa Calicantus in the town of Calmasino. Entering the courtyard of the 19th-century farmstead, the visitor’s ear is met with the strains of jazz in the background, while visitors seated in the shade of the portico, surrounded by lemon trees and antique furniture, sip the wines from the cellar. Here in the Bardolino Classico area, Daniele Delaini, a skilled wine grower who cares deeply about environmental issues, produces just a few thousand bottles per year but with a very distinct style. In this peaceful country setting, we chat pleasantly while enjoying a glass of Chiar’Otto rosé, Bardolino Superiore, La Superiora and Bardolino Superiore Avresir paired with local cheeses and hams.
Corvina all the way
Next, we head southwards once more, to Castelnuovo del Garda, where we meet Giovanna Tantini at her winery immersed in the countryside. Giovanna is the guiding light of this wine farm and winery where local reds and whites are produced, but the Corvina grape is the true star and is treated as such. This local grape variety shines in the Greta red, which is characterised by a full, intense taste, while in the Bardolino it’s blended with Rondinella with feminine delicacy, and in the Ma.Gi.Co. it’s fresh and intense. Adjacent to the main house there’s also a renovated out building where guests can spend the night in the peaceful setting of the lower Lake Garda hinterland.
A winery with a view
Our path continues away from the lake shore and takes us to Custoza, where the Aldo Adami winery welcomes visitors. The family farmstead, surrounded by woods and olive groves, is perched on top of the hill Monte Valbusa, in the village of the same name. The stunning views take in the gentle moraine-deposit hills to the south of the lake, and in the large tasting room one can find Custoza, Bardolino Chiaretto Spumante and the velvety Custoza Superiore Ciampani. The olive oil made by the family from the Leccino and Casaliva cultivars is also well worth trying.
The three ages of Turbiana
Our journey ends when we reach Ca’ Lojera, the Tiraboschi family’s holding which straddles the Veneto and Lombardy regions, within the confines of the Lugana DOC zone. Visitors to the recently built wine shop can taste the Lugana, followed by the Lugana Superiore and the Riserva del Lupo. This way, the Turbiana grape gradually shows what it’s made of and how well it can evolve over time. The underground cellars house a small reserve of special vintages produced by the winery.