What is Durello?

What is Durello?

Boasting a rich history dating back centuries, Durello is a distinctive sparkling wine originating from the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. Its story intertwines with the unique terroir of the region, innovative winemaking techniques, and a relentless pursuit of quality, culminating in its honoured status as a world-class sparkling wine.

History and Terroir

The origins of Durello can be traced back to the ancient vineyards nestled among the picturesque hillsides of the Lessini Mountains on the easternmost fringes of Valpolicella. Its terroir partly overlaps the well known Soave region between the towns of Verona and Vicenza. Here, in the rugged, predominantly volcanic soils, the indigenous durella (notice the final “a”) grape thrives, its name derived from the word "duro," meaning hard or tough, reflecting its resilient nature in the challenging growing conditions at higher elevations compared to its Garganega counterpart.


Map of the Veneto


Transformation and Innovation

Historically, durella was predominantly used for still wines, appreciated for its crisp acidity and citrus notes. Blended with other grape varieties that lacked acidity and sharpness, durella on its own for decades yielded barely drinkable acidic still wine appreciated only by few in its indigenous terroir. Clearly, the winemaking techniques of the past did little to highlight durella's potential. It was only in the 1960s that a new generation of local entrepreneurs saw the potential in this little-known grape varietal and transformed durella into the sparkling delight known today as Durello (notice final “o”).

De-stalking, steel vats, and new temperature control technology pushed winemakers to experiment with "second fermentation," a method known as metodo classico or traditional method (similar to the process used for Champagne). This meticulous process involves fermenting the base wine a second time in the bottle, capturing the natural bubbles that elevate the wine to top tier sparkling status.




Growth and Recognition

Over time, Durello evolved into a sparkling wine of exceptional quality, characterized by its lively effervescence, vibrant acidity, and distinct minerality. Its pale straw colour and delicate floral aromas evoke the freshness of a mountain breeze, while its crispiness tingles with notes of green apple, lemon zest, grapefruit, and hints of almond.

In 1998, eight Durello producers formed the Consortium for the Protection of Durello, which has since grown to include over 30 producers and now has Diletta Tonello at the helm. In 2011, Durello was granted its very own DOC: Lessini Durello DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata: Controlled Designation of Origin).

Currently, there are no less than 450 hectares between Verona and Vicenza dedicated to durella cultivation. Production is still limited but increasing year on year. The volcanic soil on which durella thrives is rich in iron (Fe) and magnesium (Mg), contributing to the grape's natural resistance to fungal attacks and infections. Often, durella needs little to no intervention, making it ideal for organic farming. The grapes mature between 100 to 600 meters in elevation, and due to the steep slopes of most vineyards, automation is impossible. All grapes are hand-picked and carefully selected at harvest. One might rightfully say that Durella is a mountain varietal that binds its growers to tradition while also enjoying the benefits of innovation.


A vineyard on a gentle slopeon a bright sunny day


International Acclaim

Despite its centuries-old heritage, Durello's journey to international acclaim has been relatively recent. A renewed focus on quality, sustainability, and innovation has propelled Durello onto the global stage, where it competes alongside renowned sparkling wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, and more. Its unique flavour profile and the skill of its producers have earned Durello a loyal following among wine enthusiasts in Italy and abroad who seek something distinctive, different, and adventurous. Numerous accolades and awards are a testament to Durello's growing prominence and recognition.


Notable Producers

Currently, some of the biggest producers of Durello include Gianni Tessari, Fongaro Spumanti, and Dal Maso. Slightly smaller producers by volume include Sacramundi, Cantina Tonello, Dama del Rovere, Tre Talestri and others. There are fewer than 40 producers overall, each with exceptional sparkling Durello of their own. Some prefer to focus on quality Charmat method sparkling wine, while others produce high-quality traditional method sparkling gems.




Food Pairing

Durello's vibrant acidity and minerality make it a versatile food pairing partner. Here are some suggestions:

  • Appetizers and Seafood: Durello's crispness cuts through creamy cheeses, making it a perfect match to bruschetta, charcuterie boards, or even oysters. It also pairs beautifully with light seafood dishes like shrimp cocktails, calamari, or seared scallops.
  • Salads and Vegetables: Durello's acidity complements the freshness of salads with light vinaigrettes or creamy dressings. It also pairs well with roasted or grilled vegetables.
  • Main Courses: Consider Durello alongside lighter main courses like chicken piccata, grilled fish, or pasta dishes with pesto or lemon cream sauce. Curry dishes as well as plain old fish and chips!




Continuing Legacy

Today, Durello continues to captivate palates around the world, offering a taste of Veneto's rich winemaking tradition and the rugged beauty of its mountainous landscape. With each sip, Durello tells a story of resilience, creativity, and the timeless allure of sparkling wine crafted with passion and precision.



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