Travel Guide to Italy

Food and Wines of the Veneto

Gambellara Wine Zone


Colline di Gambellara

Gambellara wine zone creates the border between Vicenza and Verona provinces.·The Gambellara wine zone starts·at the mouth of the Chiampo valley, on the last spur of the Lessini mountains that look like soft waves at an altitude of between 250 and 350 meters, covered by vines and lush valleys crossed by several waterways. ·In geological terms, the area is of volcanic origin, with basaltic soils conforming more or less to the form of earthy and friable tuffs, which offer natural fertility particularly favourable to vine-growing, and a high mineral content that gives the wine its extraordinary accents. The area where vineyards are currently cultivated extends for about thousand hectares of predominantly hilly area, most of which are in the so-called "classic" region, the oldest area of provenance. The Gargànega grape variety is the luminary of the vineyards, grown almost exclusively in the western part of Veneto, which produces white, dry and passiti wines of outstanding quality.

Three types of D.O.C. wines are produced in the area: Gambellara, a dry, well-orchestrated white wine that bears the denomination of "classico" when it is from the oldest area of provenance; Gambellara Vin Santo and Gambellara Recioto, in the traditional and spumante versions. In particular, Recioto is the flagship of this D.O.C. designation, its uniqueness is linked to the special wine-making process used to make it. Once the grapes have been carefully selected from the vineyard, they are dried in bunches on the plateau or hung in the form of the typical "picai" in well aired rooms. When the grapes have been drying for about a month and a half (between the end of November and the beginning of December), the grapes are once again selected and processed to obtain a first-pressing must that ferments until the following spring. The result is an excellent wine, particularly suited to accompanying dessert. It is bright golden yellow in colour, with a heady, intense and fruity nose, it is amiably velvety, evenly bodied and has a typical slightly bitter, almond-like and aftertaste. Gambellara Vin Santo is another magnificent wine, only produced in the best vintages, and it can be stored in the winery for 50 years without deteriorating. It is made by a process very similar to traditional Recioto, but provides a longer drying period and therefore the grapes are pressed the following year. It makes less wine, but its alcohol content is higher. Very high production costs along with extremely limited supply make this one of the rarest jewels in the wine industry.

All the twenty wineries in the area are included on the itinerary of the Strada del Vino (Wine Road), that spans the four municipalities of the D.O.C. area: Gambellara, Montebello Vicentino, Montorso Vicentino and Zermeghedo. The area could be defined as a "wine park" for its attractive landscape and deep-rooted cultivation specialisations.

Winery Vendors to Visit:

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