In the hamlet of Brognoligo, part of the Monteforte d’Alpone township, we find the Le Battistelle winery. In the company of the Dal Bosco family, we walk up to the Roccolo del Durlo, examining the steep slopes of these volcanic-origin hills where grape-growing is tough but the views are breath-taking. Centenarian vines perched on terraces held up by dry-stone walls give birth to Soave Roccolo del Durlo. This wine is the quintessence of a land where Garganega grapes produce wines that age spectacularly. The logo “Cervim – Viticoltura Eroica” (a mark of heroic mountain wine growing) appears on the label, as it does on the Soave Battistelle, also born from the volcanic soils built into terraces. The Passito della Gloria is named after the daughter of Gelmino Dal Bosco and his wife Cristina Zanotto: her young face is becoming more and more the emblem of this forward-looking winery.
Descending once again, we head to the village of Costalunga and the La Cappuccina winery. Forerunners of production choices aimed at protecting the environment, the Tessari brothers are the guardians of incredible beauty. They walk with us through the abundant foliage in their garden, from the 17th-century Villa Buri and the little oratory dedicated to Saint John the Baptist towards the modern winery with the barrel cellar dug out of the basalt foundations of Monte Capitello. The hill-foot vineyard just behind the old manor house is where the grapes used to make the Soave San Brizio are grown. Campo Buri is their most important red, while Arzimo is the name of their highly appreciated Recioto di Soave.
An informal eatery
The next stop is the Sandro De Bruno winery, where the owners Sandro Tasoniero and Marina Ferraretto greet guests like old friends, entertaining them in person in the large below-ground room with a brickwork vaulted ceiling and large hearth for grilling meat. It’s the perfect place for dinners and wine-tasting evenings, as visitors can look at the barrel cellar and the piles of bottles where their traditional-method sparkling wine made using Durella grapes spends considerable time aging. The winery produces wines both with the Soave and the Monti Lessini appellations. Sitting at large wooden tables, we taste their Lessini Durello Metodo Classico Riserva 60 Mesi, Soave Superiore Monte San Piero and Sauvignon Bianco Fumo.
Crossing into the province of Vicenza, we enter the territory of the Gambellara DOC appellation and head to the Davide Vignato winery in the hamlet of Brovia. The winery’s two Gambellara Classico wines – El Gian and Col Moenia – have the roots of their strong personalities in the volcanic soil, as does the sparkling Cuvée dei Vignato, made from Durella grapes. In the hills above the town of Gambellara, Davide practises agricultural methods based on the principle of environmental sustainability; he always imagines his wines as the focal point of moments of joyful togetherness and encourages an expressive style that draws out the most genuine and traditional flavours.
Durella in pride of place
We then head north, up the Chiampo valley – famed for the creations made using the local marble – on the Vicenza side of the Lessini Durello DOC zone. In the town of Chiampo, we find the Sacramundi winery. This is the area where the Durella grape really shines. The winery decided to place this native grape at the heart of the project they began in 2012. The sparkling wines Metodo Classico Lovara, Classico 36 and Merum are all fresh with a hint of spiciness.