San Zeno, Veneto
A small family business making up to 90,000 bottles a year, two thirds of which is Soave, the balance being Valpolicella. Agostino inherited the farm from his father and has worked for many years with his wife Teresa. He is an unassuming perfectionist whose wines have little need of export markets, such is their local popularity. More recently the couple have been joined by their son Manuele, who works with Agostino in the vineyards and cellar and their daughter Francesca who has taken over the marketing. They all work extremely well together and everything looks in exceptional shape.
The farm is at the entrance to the Val d’Illasi, an area on the cusp of both Soave and Valpolicella. Their Soave is outside of the Classico zone and as a rule this is not a good sign, but remarkably Vicentini challenges the very best wines of the appellation and we suspect this is due to the combined expertise of three generations and a devotion to the quality of the wines.
The vineyards are on two very specific terroirs; volcanic and limestone. The volcanic soils are within the Valle dei Ciliegi (valley of cherries) and this land is largely responsible for their Valpolicella and Soave Casale. The limestone around the cantine in the commune of Terrelunghe is planted with Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave, this supplies the grapes for the Soave Terrelunghe. The cellar is simple and spotless, wines are fermented in steel tanks and the white wines are aged in steel, their reds in oak tonneaux.
The different appellations - Soave DOC, Soave Classico DOCG, Soave Superiore DOCG and Soave Superiore Classico DOCG - suggest a ladder of quality but this may not always be the case in practice. Soave Classico comes from a smaller area at the heart of the zone and Superiore wines must come from vines grown on the generally less fertile hillsides, in theory producing more flavourful wines. Il Casale is classified as Soave Superiore.