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In the sleepy village of Gambellara, between Verona and Vicenza, Davide Vignato produces mouth-watering, mineral whites that spotlight the seamless marriage of the Garganega grape with Gambellara’s volcanic slopes. After taking over the family estate, Davide implemented organic and biodynamic vineyard practices with the goal of capturing the full potential of this unheralded terroir. A neighbor to Soave, the source of another Garganega-based wine, Gambellara stands out for its basalt soils, which give an entirely unique expression of the grape. Col Moenia represents Davide’s top bottling, the free-run juice of the most pristine grapes from his oldest vines. The wine is not obviously fruity but rather subtly floral, with a slightly creamy note and a suggestion of almond. The overall impression is primarily mineral: there is precision, purity, and a salinity that tickles the back of the palate and provokes another sip. Its unforgiving stoniness does not take away from its elegance and charm, making this a delightfully versatile white to enjoy as an apéritif or with any number of little snacks—or as they’re known in Venice, cicchetti. If you are not yet familiar with the wines of Davide Vignato, is the perfect introduction to this ambitious grower and his exciting translations of Gambellara’s volcanic hills.
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.
Italy’s most prolific wine region by volume, the Veneto is the source of some of the country’s most notorious plonk: you’ll find oceans of insipid Pinot Grigo, thin Bardolino, and, of course, the ubiquitous Prosecco. And yet, the Veneto produces the highest proportion of DOC wine of any Italian region: home to prestigious appellations like Valpolicella, Amarone, and Soave, it is capable of excelling in all three colors, with equally great potential in the bubbly and dessert departments.
With almost 200,000 acres planted, the Veneto has a wealth of terroirs split between the Po Valley and the foothills of the Alps. While the rich soils of the flatlands are conducive to mechanization, high yields, and mass production of bulk wine, the areas to the north offer a fresher climate and a diversity of poor soil types, ideal for food-friendly wines that show a sense of place. Whether it’s a charming Prosecco Superiore from the Glera grape, a stony Soave or Gambellara from Garganega, or a Corvina-based red in any style, the Veneto’s indigenous grape varieties show real character when worked via traditional production methods.
Since his first visit in 1979, Kermit has regularly returned to the Veneto to enjoy its richness of fine wines and local cuisine. Our collaboration with Corte Gardoni, our longest-running Italian import, is a testament to this. The proximity of beautiful cities like Verona and Venice, with their deep culinary heritage, certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
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