Davide Spillare's trump card is Garganega. He is now dedicating a four-part series to the great white variety of northern Veneto. Many consumers and winegrowers have only realised in recent years that this is a great variety, after Garganega had previously experienced an unparalleled decline in quality for a few decades. This may sound paradoxical, but it was due to its countless positive characteristics: Until the 1950s, Garganega Soaves and Gambellaras were compared to the best Chablis thanks to their cool, mineral notes, before the steadily increasing demand led to the fields around the two towns, which had previously been dedicated to grain cultivation, being converted into vineyards and the area under vines increased fifteenfold from one day to the next.
The fertile conditions on the plain allowed for much higher yielding viticulture than was possible on the steep slopes of the classic zone, which were characterised by volcanic rock. A once artisan-oriented wine culture was thus increasingly industrialised and in just a few years, Italy's most exciting white wine regions were driven into the wall at full speed, transforming their once sought-after wines into cheap and banal everyday products.
Even today, wine is still produced at dumping prices. However, a winegrowing scene has developed alongside this, which is now returning to the past. Davide Spillares Bianco Rugoli is a fantastic example of this. His vines have been rooted in volcanic rock on the slopes of Gambellara for over 40 years, are organically cultivated and harvested by hand. 70% of the grapes are immediately pressed and placed in a steel tank, 30% together with the skins in a wooden barrel, where they are stored separately for 10 months after spontaneous fermentation and then cuvéed. Neither fined nor filtered, they are bottled unsulphurised.
Intensely aromatic. Nuts and orange set the pace on the nose, complemented by cool mineral notes on the palate. The Bianco Rugoli is elegant and lively, with acidity and tannins providing a few welcome rough edges. As is so often the case with great wines, lightness and depth come together to create a combination of complexity and drinkability.
Grape variety: Garganega & a small proportion of Trebbiano di Soave
Cultivation method: according to the criteria of Vinnatur
Vineyard: Basalt, 40 year old vines in pergola training
Harvest: by hand
Fermentation: spontaneous | wild yeasts, 70% with already pressed grapes in steel tanks, 30% with whole grapes in wooden barrels
Ageing: 1 year: partly in used wooden barrels, partly in steel tanks