To meet the winemaker of this month’s second selection, you’ll have to travel about 900 kilometers northwest of Puglia, into the heart of Veneto wine country. There you may come to Corte Gardoni, one of the most esteemed and well-respected producers of all of Veneto. In the face of growing pressures to rip up old vines of Veneto’s indigenous grape varieties and replace them with vines of Merlot and Chardonnay, Gianni Piccoli along with his children Mattia, Stefano and Andrea, instead insist on celebrating the cherished local history of grapes such as Garganega, Trebbiano, and Cortese (varieties all featured in this month’s selection). Of the 45 acres that make up Corte Gardoni, just 23 of them are devoted to grapevines. The rest consists of arable farmland, apple orchards, olive grows, and dense deciduous forest, which altogether promotes an interconnected ecosystem that hums with biodiversity and vitality.
TASTING: Bianco di Custoza ‘Greoto,’ a field blend of the aforementioned grapes, plus small amounts of Trebbianello and Manzoni Bianco make this month’s second selection. The nose is top-loaded with currents of tangerine and crushed seashells. The palate is angular and vividly fresh, showing notes of fresh honeydew melon, lemon zest, and a hint of basil. The easy-drinking freshness of this wine makes it unendingly pairable with a wide variety of summer fare. Try it with our recipe for Scallops with Leeks & Olives.
The farming and general agricultural approach of Corte Gardoni is considered progressive even by today’s standards, so one might be surprised to hear that the Piccoli family has owned vineyards in the Veneto as far back as 1600. It was only when Gianni took over, and many decades thereafter, that natural winemaking began to find a foothold in the Veneto.