One of our most “off-the-beaten-track” discoveries of the past few years is the azienda of young Davide Vignato, hailing from the small village of Gambellara in the Veneto, east of Verona in the province of Vicenza. Gambellara has the distinction of being the lesser-known neighbor of nearby Soave. The grape, Garganega, is the same, known for producing one of Italy’s greatest white wines. The terroir, while also volcanic, is different and very distinct. Compact horizontal bands of dark basalt are just below the surface, and contribute to impressions of high tension and stoniness. These are brighter and zingier wines than the more rounded and honeyed expression of Garganega in Soave.
The family history behind Davide’s wines began when his grandfather, Rinaldo, purchased a small plot of land in the hills of Gambellara and planted vines. Davide’s father, Gian Domenico, was the first in the family to make wine from those grapes, and as of 1997, Davide introduced organic and later biodynamic farming to the vineyards with the goal of producing deeply mineral wines that would legitimately reflect Gambellara’s unique soils.
The Vignato estate is tiny, only a few hectares, all hand-worked by the Vignato family, including a large percentage of labor-intensive, traditionally-trained pergola vines. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wines are aged on fine lees. These wines represent not only authentic and compelling terroir expression, but also great values.