Gambellara may not share the renown of its neighbor, Soave, but that is changing thanks to ambitious young growers like Davide Vignato. Recognizing the Garganega grape’s potential in these volcanic hills, Davide has set out to valorize this small appellation via organic and biodynamic farming, revitalizing lifeless soils depleted by decades of indiscriminate herbicide use. His vineyards now brim with flowers, animals, and, crucially, the microbial life that allows for spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. The wine matures in stainless steel on its lees and is bottled unfiltered, with minimal sulfur. The textured, racy, and incredibly stony Col Moenia comes from Davide’s oldest vines, and with ravishing scents of fleshy orchard fruits, hay, almond, and spring flowers, it is not to be missed.
Kermit and I arrived at the Terres d’Avignon cave co-op in early July last year to blend the 2016 vintage of our Côtes du Rhône. We tasted our way through twenty-one tanks of various capacities, each holding different blends of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault sourced from small farmers in the surrounding hills. The wines tasted generous, focused, and complete, showing great aromatic typicity in the form of sun-kissed blackberry, black olive, and plenty of spicy garrigue herbs like rosemary and thyme. In our final blend, we sought to marry the element of nectarous fruit that invites carefree gulping with a touch of depth and slight grip that will come in handy at table. Just arrived in our shop, here are the fruits of that day’s labor.