Gambellara is an obscure area to the east of Soave and in the main its wines are, if not by name, Soave.
Gambellara is, however, politically Vicenza while Soave is Verona and that is the difference. In this very small and insignificant zone is one of Italy’s most extreme winemakers, Angiolino Maule. He has single-handedly taken the Garganega grape to another wonderful place, by introducing total biodynamic principles in the vineyard and deploying an incredibly brave (if slightly insane) hands-off approach to winemaking.
The estate now covers 7 hectares, with four very distinct sites, all on volcanic hills. The vineyards are planted largely with Garganega, although Maule has also worked to revive Torcolato, a native vine which exists under the pseudonym Trebbiano. The vines are trained low to the ground using simple cordon rather than the traditional pergola system. The old vines are treasured and rather than replant he has painstakingly retrained them. No synthetic chemicals are used and the family horses help with the fertiliser. Everything is painstakingly worked by hand. The winery is central to the estate and built into the hill. It is furnished with the usual steel tanks, whose temperature control units have been switched off for some time. More interestingly there are amphorae of porous clay buried into the cellar floor for fermentation and aging. There is none less interventionist then Maule, he relies on the natural yeasts and no temperature control for the fermentation. Nothing is taken out and nothing is added. In a world of reverse-osmosis and additives, this is most refreshing: real wine.