COLLI BERICI WINE ZONE, VICENZA PROVINCE
The Colli Berici (Berici Hills) could be considered the green heart in the Veneto Region, a rural area of extraordinary beauty where nature always has a surprise to offer in its landscapes and unspoilt, little-known spots. The area of provenance is in the heart of the Veneto plain, to the south of Vicenza. In these limestone hills, wine-growing dates back to man's earliest settlements in this area, where the climate even favours the cultivation of olive groves. Besides soil and climatic conditions, the quality of the wine from the Berici Hills also derives from the passion of generations of wine-growers who have already established the Protection Consortium in 1982.
The grapevine typical of this area is Tocai rosso which, grown in the oldest documented areas dotted among the Barbarano Vicentino hills, makes Colli Berici Barbarano. This is a very special ruby red wine, with a vibrant fragrance, and fruity, dry, floral and well-orchestrated flavour.
The other D.O.C. wines are: Colli Berici Chardonnay, Colli Berici Garganega, Colli Berici Pinot bianco, Colli Berici Sauvignon, Colli Berici Tai, Colli Berici spumante, Colli Berici Tai rosso, Colli Berici Cabernet, Colli Berici Cabernet reserve and Colli Berici Merlot.
In the Berici Hills, the Strada del Vino (Wine Road) follows a charming itinerary along vineyards and cultivations following the line where plain and hills meet. Several villas, villages, retreats and convents stand testimony to the lure the area has had throughout the ages.Còvoli, prehistoric natural caves, and fortified castles dating to the tenth and eleventh centuries are treasures bearing witness to show how long the work of man has configured these charming hills during the past ages.
The Strada del Vino (Wine Road) begins in Vicenza, at the old Arch standing at the foot of the "Scalette", the stairs leading the faithful to the Sanctuary of Monte Berico. It then passes along a section that skirts the most famous villa by Palladio,"La Rotonda". From here, it follows the contour of the Colli until linking all the towns built at the bottom of the hills, the great historical and wine and food heritage of the Road. The itinerary continues on to the outskirts of Verona and the Chiampo valley, finally ending in Vicenza.
Chardonnay DOC: This internationally popular varietal has been cultivated quite successfully here in these volcanic hills. It is typically straw-yellow in color, with a delicate bouquet, and a dry, harmonious, fruity taste. It is typically aged in stainless steel, and can be used pure, or mixed with a slight quantity of Pinot Bianco. It pairs well with fish and rice dishes.
Garganego DOC: This varietal is an indigenous grape that is grown from the Verona Hills to the Berici Hills, and is the grape used in the well-known Soave wine. It also exhibits a straw-yellow color, with a dry, slightly acidic taste. Again, it pairs well with fish, as well as pasta and rice dishes with more robust sauces, and especially with the local baccala vicentina.
Pinot Bianco DOC: The DOC wines from this varietal are produced either from 100% Pinot Bianco grapes, or can include a small quantity of Pinot Grigio. This wine has a lighter straw-yellow color, and a delicate flower and fruit bouquet. It is best served cold, and pairs well with shellfish.
Sauvignon DOC: Another internationally popular variety that has been successfully cultivated here in the volcanic soil of the Berici Hills. Straw yellow in color, with a slightly vegetal aroma, and a dry, full-bodied taste. Pairs well with first courses and fish.
Spumante DOC: A sparkling white wine, and the newest DOC wine in the Berici Hills. It contains at least 50% garganego grapes, with Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay used as blending grapes. It has fine and lingering bubbles, with a fresh dry taste.
Tocai Italico or Tai BiancoDOC: Produced using the indigenous grape of the same name, with occasionally a little garganago blended in, this white wine is again straw yellow in color, with a harmonious, dry, and tangy flavor. It is wonderful as an aperitif, or paired with first course dishes.
Cabernet DOC: The bordeaux grapes have been quite successful since being introduced to the Berici Hills. The Cabernet Colli Berici DOC uses Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Cabernet Franc grapes. A Cabernet DOC qualifies for the “Reserve” label if it has undergone three or more years of aging, six months of which must be in wooden casks. These wines are deep ruby red, tending toward orange as they age. They are dry, full-bodied, and robust with strong tannins. The pair well with roasted red meat dishes, as well as strong cheeses.
Merlot DOC: Another bordeaux grape makes a strong appearance in this area, producing a slightly less intense red wine. Ruby red, with a velvety, full-bodied, harmonious flavor that pairs well with robust pastas with meat sauce.
Tai Rosso or Barbarano DOC: A DOC produced from the indigenous Tocal Rosso grape, a close relation to the Sardinian cannonau or French grenache varietal. Before 2007, the name was Tocai Rosso, but has been changed to avoid confusion with the Hungarian varietal of the same name. It is produced around Barbarano Vicentino and the surrounding towns, and so is sometimes named after the town itself. It is clear and brilliant, with a bright red color, and a balanced, harmonious taste with a hint of cherries. It pairs well with pasta and rice dishes, braised white meats and grilled meats.