The number-three winery
Our tour of the Colli Berici zone begins to the south-west of the city of Vicenza, in the village of Selva di Montebello Vicentino. Here we find the Dal Maso winery with its unusual circular structure. Everything here revolves around the number three: the winery produces wines under three different appellations (Colli Berici, Gambellara and Lessini Durello) and is run with great energy by three siblings (Anna, Silvia and Nicola). The winery is open for guided tours, and private events can be held in the airy tasting room overlooking the vineyards. Don’t miss the Tai Rosso Colpizzarda, the Merlot Casara Roveri, the hard-to-find Vin Santo di Gambellara and the Durello Metodo Classico.
From three to zero
Heading southwards, we arrive at Lonigo, where the Association for the Protection of the Colli Berici Appellation has its headquarters in the historic Palazzo Pisani. A little above the town, we find the Punto Zero farm, where the De’ Besi family have turned an old farmhouse into a winery. Their wines are very modern in style and quite distinct from most other wines produced in the area. The farm is contained within one large lot of land, so visitors can enjoy long walks through vineyards, olive groves and meadows without ever leaving the property. The Punto, made with 100% Merlot grapes, is a must, while the Tai Rosso and Carmenère are well worth sampling.
Tai Rosso all the way
Still within the Colli Berici zone, our next stop is the Pialli winery in Barbarano Vicentino. This small farm has always grown and produced wine from Tai Rosso grapes, the emblem of this area. The family live in a small farmhouse offering comfortable accommodation for guests, who always receive a friendly welcome. The winery offers tastings of Rosso Calbin, Ciò Bacaro and Gregorio, three different interpretations of the Tai Rosso with increasing depth and structure.
A haven for intellectuals
Heading northwards, we reach the town of Breganze, which lends its name to the DOC appellation. Just outside the town is the long-standing Firmino Miotti farm, the winery of choice for a number of artists, writers and film directors. The farm has the merit of having preserved a number of indigenous grapes that would otherwise have been lost. The winery offers tastings of rarities such as the red Gruajo and the sparkling whites Pedevendo and Sampagna (this latter made from Marzemina Bianca grapes). The traditional Torcolato passito is a must – try this smooth wine with a selection of the cheeses produced in the traditional dairies of the nearby mountains.
Not just wine
The town of Bassano del Grappa lies to the north-east and is home to the unmissable Vignaioli Contrà Soarda winery, run by the Gottardi family. The building housing the winery and cellars has been constructed in line with the principles of bioarchitecture. Visitors can sample the multi-award-winning Vespaiolo Vignasilan, as well as the Musso Terra and Musso Serafino reds. Anyone who feels peckish after sampling the wines can enjoy a meal at Pulierin Enotavola, the restaurant attached to the winery. The dishes on offer are all made using local ingredients, many of which produced directly by the Gottardi family, who blend their winemaking and catering activities seamlessly.