After a free morning in Bassano, much appreciated after our long day on Friday, our coach took us to the town of Breganze, to Col Dovigo, a family winery making wines under this little known DOC.
Valentina explained that her great grandmother Caterina moved to the area and purchased vineyard land, later marrying local vigneron Valentino Bonollo. The winery is named after the name ‘Dovighi’, which locals gave to the family – meaning ‘those who come form other lands’ (in their case all of 3km away).
We walked into the vineyards, admiring the cheeky herd of goats who were viewing us as much as we were then, and by some 60 year old Merlot vines we listened to Valentina talk about how challenging the spring had been, very cold and wet in April and May, resulting in few bunches of grapes. Happily enough bunches have made it to promise a good harvest of low yield but high quality. She explained that until 15 years ago most of the production had been sent to the co-op, but since then they have bottled themselves, and focused on building their reputation. Col Dovigo wines can be found in restaurants in the UK, but sadly there don’t appear to be many ways to buy them retail.
The view was absolutely stunning, Valentina told us that on a fine day they could see Venice in the distance. The geology is basalt, formed from old volcanos, creating great minerality in the wines, while the breezes that come down from the mountains to the plains that stretched out below us cool the vines during the night, ensuring great freshness and acidity particularly in the whites.
Back in the winery we tasted through the range a sparkling and then a still Vespaiola (a white variety that is found virtually only in Breganze, which has superb minerality and acidity), Pinot Grigio, a Friulano (known locally as Tai)/Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend, and then the reds, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, local grape Gropello and finally their Cabernet/Merlot blend Suam, which we tasted in their tiny cellar. The Merlot ripens earlier than the Cabernet, so the grapes are kept in conditions that allow them to dessicate slightly, increasing the richness of the wine, which was super.
We finished with a Torcolato, a sweet wine made from Vespaiola grapes that have been dried for several months, threaded onto twine and hung. This was a first for many of us and all agreed it was absolutely lovely, honeyed and marmaladey, with super acidity.
Sad to say goodbye to Valentina, and winemaker Felippe, we headed back to Bassano, and tidied ourselves up, heading out on the coach again to go to La Rosita restaurant, in the hills just above the town. Yet more stunning views, enjoyed with some Prosecco, then inside for a four course meal that showed off yet again the delicious produce and wines of the area. We were sorry to leave, but still had our final visit to look forward to the next day.