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2021 Veneto Frizzante “Primo Incontro”

Davide Vignato
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In his hometown of Gambellara, a sleepy village about halfway between Verona and Vicenza, Davide Vignato is making waves with his stony, acid-driven white wines. The forgotten neighbor to nearby Soave, with which it shares the Garganega grape, Gambellara is shining thanks to young growers such as Davide, who have traded stratospheric yields of underripe grapes for a focus on quality through organic farming and low-intervention winemaking. After all, Gambellara’s peculiar terroir—ancient volcanic hillsides littered with chunks of basalt—is well worth a closer look.
     Davide’s latest creation, a sparkling wine of Garganega refermented in bottle without disgorgement, is an altogether different take on these rocky slopes. His approach to the sui lieviti style is a unique one: the base wine ferments to dryness with native yeast in stainless steel, and completes its malolactic fermentation to ensure it is stable without needing sulfur. Several months later, he mixes in a calculated dose of pressed juice from Garganega grapes that had been drying since harvest—a sweet nectar intended to set off a secondary fermentation. The blended, semi-sweet wine is then crown-capped and left to referment in bottle.
     Primo Incontro (First Encounter)—named for the wine’s suitability to casual meet-ups among friends, but also a nod to the total novelty of the style—is akin to a yeasty brew of ground-up minerals bisected by a bolt of laser-sharp, mouth-watering acidity. No filtration, no disgorgement, no sulfur—this is unadulterated, bone-dry, incredibly stimulating, low-alcohol Garganega frizzante from the unheralded volcanic hills of Gambellara. It’s an encounter well worth repeating.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: sparkling
Vintage: 2021
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Garganega
Country: Italy
Region: Veneto
Producer: Davide Vignato
Winemaker: Davide Vignato
Vineyard: 25 years average
Soil: Volcanic, basalt soil
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 10.5%

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About The Region

Veneto

map of Veneto

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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