Gambellara is a tiny white wine appellation in Italy’s Veneto, situated roughly midway between the city of Vicenza and the more renowned Soave zone. Like Soave, Gambellara wines spotlight the local Garganega grape; however, differences in soil type yield very distinct expressions of this same variety. Whereas the limestone of Soave gives fine, elegant wines with generous fruit, the volcanic basalt that makes up most of Gambellara’s vineyards produces a much more steely, mineral-driven, almost gritty white. When young Davide Vignato took over the family vineyards, he set out to craft whites that would genuinely reflect this fascinating, unheralded terroir. Col Moenia represents a selection of the estate’s highest-quality organically grown grapes, fermented with a starter culture from wild yeasts and aged in tank with regular lees stirring. It brilliantly balances a delicate, slightly creamy, floral side with the saline minerality conferred from these volcanic soils. It pairs perfectly with any number of cicchetti (Venetian snacks).
|Vineyard:||40 years average, 6 ha total|
|Soil:||Volcanic, basalt soil|
|Aging:||Ages on fine lees in stainless steel tank for 7 months until bottling|
One of our most “off-the-beaten-track” discoveries of the past few years is the azienda of young Davide Vignato. The family history behind Davide’s wines began when his grandfather, Rinaldo, purchased a small plot of land in the hills of Gambellara and planted vines. Davide’s father, Gian Domenico, was the first in the family to make wine from those grapes, and as of 1997, Davide introduced organic and biodynamic farming to the vineyards with the goal of producing deeply mineral wines that would reflect Gambellara’s unique soils. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wines are aged on fine lees. These wines represent not only authentic and compelling terroir expression, but also great values.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171