Discovering Roncà’s Natural BeautyThe beauty of the elevations surrounding Roncà, nestled at the foot of the Lessini Hills near Verona, is a constant source of wonder. It never ceases to amaze me, and every time I find myself here, I'm greeted by a captivating sight. The endless sea of lush vineyards stretching from the Alpone valley into the vast Po Plain seems to go on forever, disappearing today into a late summer haze. It's a natural spectacle that leaves a lasting impression, making me ponder how fortunate the locals are to have such scenery at their doorstep.
Gianni Tessari Winery: A Legacy in the Hills
The Gianni Tessari winery that finds its home here is a recognized establishment of the area. The winery's acquired legacy from one of the oldest producers of Durello is known, and its labels are prominent in local stores and restaurants. Gianni Tessari's offices are set on the gentle slopes surrounding Roncà, opposite Mount Duello, with some enchanting views of the local vineyards to enjoy.
My host for the day is the vibrant Valeria Tessari, who warmly welcomes me on this crisp September morning. Valeria, cheerful and dynamic, appears well-versed in dealing with visitors. She kindly offers me a cup of coffee before guiding me to the guest reception area, typically reserved for wine tastings. With her busy schedule, I gather that it's time to dive into our interview.
"So, Valeria, could you tell me about the Tessari Winery's background?" I ask.
Valeria explains with enthusiasm, "Gianni, my father, has been a winemaker all his life, and his dedication has played a significant role in the success of the Soave appellation. His wines have earned numerous awards, and he's a respected name in the world of winemaking. In 2013, Gianni seized the chance to acquire the assets of a renowned local winery. Fuelled by his passion to create his own brand, he wasted no time introducing his very first label."
Exploring Durello and the Tessari Winery Portfolio
Valeria elaborates, "Today, Gianni Tessari offers a diverse range of 16 labels, encompassing still whites, sparkling whites, rosés, and red wines. Across our 35 hectares of vineyards, we grow a variety of grapes, including Durella, Garganega, Pinot Noir, Trebbiano di Soave, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and more. We've also ventured into producing PIWI wine using the Solaris grape variety and our current annual production of wine exceeds 300 thousand bottles."
I find the figures quite revealing. Tessari is clearly one of the bigger producers of the Alpone valley.
Valeria emphasizes another key aspect of the Tessari Winery, "One of our distinct strengths lies in the diversity of our terroirs that encompass three different appellations: Soave, Monti Lessini (Durello), and Colli Berici. Each of these possesses its unique character and caters to a specific market."
"It's in the Lessini terroir that you'll discover our Durella grapes, along with a touch of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These grapes are the magic behind our sparkling wines," Valeria says with a knowing smile.
Obviously, I recall that Tessari's Durello has been a consistent feature on the Bubbly Bandits wine offerings.
The Durella terroir is blessed by an abundance of Tertiary volcanic soils, which consist of lava flows and basalt rock. These soils are mineral-rich, containing significant quantities of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and their clay compounds. The climate in the Lessini Hills is moderated by gentle breezes during the hot summer months, and the region's higher elevations above sea level help smoothen the effects of the intense local sun.
The Durella grape is used both as a single varietal in the production of traditional method sparkling wines and for blends in Tessari’s Charmat method bubblies.
Curious about Tessari’s Durello I ask: "What would you say is your signature Durello?"
Valeria responds promptly, "Without a doubt, our prize-winning traditional method Durello Brut takes the spotlight. It's aged for a full 36 months on the lees and crafted exclusively from 100% Durella grapes. Additionally, our Charmat method Alpone Blu Brut, is also quite popular.
I nod recalling some of the descriptions I had heard for Tessari’s 36 month Brut:
"A complex bouquet of white wildflowers and ripe white fruit, with subtle notes of toasted bread. On the palate, it offers a medium-bodied profile, skilfully balancing acidity and mineral characteristics, leading to a satisfying and lingering finish."
"Spring blossom and stone fruit aromas waft out of the glass along with a whiff of hay. Elegant and bursting with energy, the dry, focused palate delivers ripe pear, lemon zest, and salty mineral notes framed in racy acidity. A lively, refined perlage lends finesse."
I enquire about markets,
"Well, about 60 to 70 percent of our Soave and Durello wines are exported to Europe and Asia, with a significant portion sold in Japan. The remainder is enjoyed right here in Italy. We're also thrilled to see Durello gaining popularity among connoisseurs in the UK."
About Valeria Tessari
As we stroll through the “Cantina” I admire the endless racks of bottles in Tessari’s cool cellars. I fumble a little with my camera, as the dim lighting interferes with my camera settings. Everywhere there seems to be some sort of process under way. There are bottles ready for labelling, others being stacked on pallets for shipping. The vast majority however appear to be simply waiting, resting as the wine inside them magically evolves, matures and refines.
There are oak barrels as well for Tessari’s red wines (predominantly from the Colli Berici appellation) all biding their time in a pursuit for excellence. All is carefully monitored and outstandingly maintained in a spotless environment.
Valeria hints at the various wine making procedures as we walk on but then I ask:
"Valeria, I'm really curious to hear about your journey in the wine business. Share your experience."
Valeria's eyes glimmer with reminiscence as she takes a thoughtful pause. "You know, actually I have a degree in Economics and envisioned myself working at some corporate bank," she says with a warm smile.
Valeria chuckles, "Then, I was asked to lend a hand in the family business for a while, and as you can see, I'm still here. I mostly manage marketing and exports, and I must say, I enjoy every bit of it"
I can't help but notice a familiar tale unfolding here, one that the youth in this region seem to share. It starts with a plan far from the world of viticulture, yet somehow, they all find themselves captivated and captured by the world of winemaking they sought to leave.
As we step onto the Cantina's top floor terrace, I can't help but admire the stunning views of the Alpone valley once more. I take a moment to soak it all in and then daydream about enjoying a glass of Durello wine with some local food. I turn to Valeria and ask, "What dishes go best with your Durellos?"
Valeria suggests, "You can't go wrong pairing our Durello with Vicenza-style cod fish and polenta, 'sopressa' salami, mature Monte Veronese cheese, seafood, sushi, or shellfish. And if you're interested, we offer guided tours at the Tessari winery with wine tastings and food pairings for group visits. It really is a fully immersive experience open to all and can be booked online."
Why Choose Tessari Winery and Durello Sparkling Wine
Tessari Cantina has received a shower of accolades and recognition, not only from Italian organizations but from the worldwide stage as well. Their Durello, Soave, and Colli Berici wines have consistently secured top spots and received well-deserved mentions from institutions such as Decanter, Wine Spectator, and Wine Enthusiast. In a testament to their excellence, Gianni's wines even earned mention in The Times, solidifying their status as a standout winery. More recent mentions include recognition in Club Enologique.
Whether you're savouring a glass of their award-winning Durello or exploring the stunning landscapes of the Alpone valley, a visit to Tessari Winery promises an unforgettable experience, rooted in tradition yet embracing innovation. It's the perfect destination for wine enthusiasts seeking excellence and a taste of Italian winemaking heritage.
Cheers to Tessari Winery and the magic of Durello sparkling wine!
Author's Note: The ideas and content are original, but AI technology was employed in the creative process.