An orange wine from the Veneto

This post appeared originally in Italian here. Translation by VinoWire.

Since it’s that time of year when Christmas cheer brings out the best in all of us, I’d like to tell you about one of the wines that impressed me the most in November in Fornovo Taro at the Vini di Vignaioli/Vins de Vignerons conference and tasting, where there was no lack of authentic, delicious surprises.

I’m talking about a white wine, a unique blend of white grapes produced by a small winery called Monteforche in the hamlet of Zovon di Vò at the foot of Monte Venda, one of the top growing sites in the Colli Euganei (the Euganean Hills in the province of Padua).

Monteforche has 6 hectares planted to Garganega, Moscato Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Malvasia Istriana, Traminer, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. In 2003, the winery planted an experimental vineyard with nearly extinct indigenous varieties: Marzemina Nera Bastarda, Cavarara Garbina, and Pataresca. The estate is managed by Alfonso Soranzo, who received his degree in music at the Conservatorio di Padova (the Padua Conservatory) and began to work in his family’s vineyards in 2001, aided by his friend, agronomist Guido Busatto.

What makes this growing area so special? First of all, the volcanic origins of the subsoil, which was formed following “underwater eruptions balsatic lava roughly 50 million years ago that created viscous magma.” The resulting presence of trachyte, marl, and calcareous clays allow the winemaker to fashion wines distinguished by their elegance and rich flavors.

All of the wines produced by Monteforche are vinified and aged on their fine lees in cement vats. The only exception is the Vigna del Vento, which is aged in oak cask. The winery uses only native yeasts and it embraces the natural wine approach to winemaking.

Two white wines that I tasted entirely won me over. I’m talking about the Vigneto Carantina Bianco Veneto IGT produced with 100% Garganega grapes, sourced from a vine planted in the early 1960s and fermented with skin contact. This radiant, expressive, and rich Mediterranean wine could compete with nearly any Soave.


But the true gem was the Cassiara Bianco Veneto IGT 2008, an unusual blend of Garganega (80%), Malvasia Istriana (15%), and Traminer (5%), vinified in cement and aged on its lees for no fewer than 6 months. Beyond its balance, this wine impressed me for its bright vibrant color, a gorgeous and lively straw gold, and for its intriguing nose, unexpectedly lively and complex, with a dominant aromatic component, fresh and elegant, and complemented by a floral and fruity component, with citrus and white peach notes.

This wine was beautiful in the mouth, flavorful, enjoyable, with a nervy, lively attack, precise and incisive, with an expansive energy on the palate, full-bodied without ever losing its freshness and savory notes, with minerality and a calibrated acidity that rewards the drinker with a vertical persistence.

A truly great if unexpected white wine.

—Franco Ziliani


9 thoughts on “An orange wine from the Veneto

  1. ciao Franco,

    I would like to find these wines in the San Francisco area. I can’t find any contact for the winery or an importer in the US. Would love to put Cassiara on my list.

    grazie mille,

  2. Pingback: An orange, natural wine from the Veneto (and my very own mimetic desire) « Do Bianchi

  3. Well … most of Alfonso’s wines are great creations. Definitely I dare say : unusual with a distincitve taste. In a word unique. That uniqueness could be basically focused at their extreme on two products :
    – • Veneto I.G.T. Rosso “Vecchie Varietà”
    – • Veneto I.G.T. Bianco PINOT GRIGIO
    ( not filtered )
    If you have not got the chance to do it … give them a try !
    Cheers !!!

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