Indigenous Durella

Durella is the indigenous grape variety of the Lessini Mountains, an ancient and rustic vine that gives golden-hued grapes whose fundamental characteristics are a typical acidulous flavour and skins that are thick and rich in tannins: polyphenolic substances that normally contribute towards determining the full-bodied structure of red wines. When we talk about indigenous (or autochthonous) cultivars we mean those varieties of vitis vinifera that have adapted in a very specific way to a particular area, as a result of many centuries of natural and human selection. For this reason, indigenous varieties are capable of capturing the deep-rooted secrets of their natural habitat, transmitting its unique identity into the wine. The presence of Durella has been documented in the Lessini Mountains since at least the Middle Ages. A thousand harvests may not seem very much, but they do mean a thousand years of adaptation to this terroir, a thousand years in which to express its nature to the full – and give the Lessini Durello D.O.C. sparkling wines of today the volcanic minerality that is typical of this region’s soils.

The terroir of the Lessini Mountains
In winemaking terms, the terroir refers to the production area. Why use a French term, then, instead of a corresponding one in English or Italian? Because its meaning in fact includes all of the environmental aspects that bear an influence on a wine: geographical position, geological structure, microclimate... This has an extremely important consequence: a terroir is, by definition, unique. The high valleys of the Lessini Mountains, lying between the Provinces of Verona and Vicenza, have always represented an ideal environment for vines and are a natural treasure house in which viticulture can attain the most brilliant results. The spike-like outline of the slopes immediately reveals their volcanic nature: a deep-seated nature that constitutes the fundamental characteristic of the Lessini Mountains’ terroir and that leaves a profound imprint on the wines. And it imprints particularly on Lessini Durello D.O.C.: a wine that expresses forcefully the volcanic character of its region. The high hillside vineyards complete the picture, with their favourable effect on the vineyards’ exposure, ventilation and the differences between day- and night-time temperatures: determining factors for the freshness and aromatic qualities of our sparkling wines.

Viticulture and volcanoes
Volcanic soils are exceptional in every sense of the word. They represent 1% of the Earth’s surface, but offer sustenance to 10% of the world’s population. They are composed of tuffs and basalts that are rich in iron, magnesium and a whole host of other micro-elements which, through the grapes, are transferred into the wine, giving it a characteristic mineral tang. Because of their porosity, volcanic soils are capable of accumulating water and heat from the sun, re-releasing them as and when necessary. They are also rich in substances that are nutritional for the vines and act as a natural barrier for any diseases in the soil. For these reasons viticulture on volcanic soils calls for little external intervention and is therefore more sustainable from an ecological point of view. Italy is the country with the greatest variety of volcanic regions, yet those that boast a history of grape-growing can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Among these one can certainly include the Lessini area, very close to Soave, as being one of the most interesting in Northern Italy.

The natural environment
Another aspect of terroir that has risen to prominence in recent years is the ecosystem. The presence of woodland and meadows, of insects that act as predators and pollinators, and of indigenous microorganisms that live in symbiosis with the vines – generally speaking, offering natural biodiversity – constitute highly positive elements in terms of the quality of life of the vineyard itself. This, as has been amply demonstrated, invariably translates itself into quality in the wine. The presence of a nature reserve like the Lessini Mountains Natural Park therefore constitutes a highly important resource for our viticulture, acting as an incentive for us as producers of Lessini Durello D.O.C. to adopt agricultural methods that are sustainable and environment-friendly, in order to express to the best of our abilities that terroir which is our greatest treasure.

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