The town of Breganze, as recorded in some ancient writings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, has always been inextricably linked to the traditions of wine production: a guide to the wines of the province of Vicenza of 1754 mentions thirty varieties including three grape varieties of the Breganze DOC area: Groppello, a red wine with great expressive potential; Vespaiolo, of which people used to say “a parer d’uomo togato è il più prelibato” (in the opinion of a noble man, the most exquisite) and Pasquale, a predecessor of Torcolato.
Vespaiola is a grape variety characterized by white skin and pulp, which is cultivated throughout the area of Breganze DOC. Seemingly, its name originated from its ability to attract wasps (vespa, in Italian) thanks to the intense fragrance of its berries and the high sugar content of the pulp. The tradition suggests that the ideal time for harvesting this local grape variety, characterized by a rather late maturation, is exactly when wasps are able to pierce the thick skin of the grapes and sip its sugar content.
The historical information concerning this autochthonous grape variety is rather fragmentary. It seems, however, that Benedictine monks brought it to the hills of Breganze in the fourteenth century. For a long time, although it was appreciated for its elegant aromatic notes, this grape variety spread and became popular primarily in the province of Vicenza: the rediscovery of the white wine Vespaiolo began in 1968 with the recognition of the area of Breganze DOC.
Vespaiola is a quite rustic grape variety, which is unlikely to be infected by the major grapevine diseases and which is characterized by small, winged and compact bunches with short stalk.
This grape variety buds early but ripens rather late. It is usually harvested in late September when the grapes display thick, round golden-yellow berries, the skin is tender and the very sweet pulp plentiful.
Vespaiola is characterized by a high touch of tartness which gives it a long aromatic persistence and interesting proneness to aging.
Vespaiolo: the wine
Vespaiolo typifies the whole wine production of the Breganze Doc area which, due to its natural acidity, lends itself to different types of vinification and aging: still, vintage sparkling wine (Perlena) and dessert wine from partially dried grapes (Torcolato).
Vespaiolo is a local white wine characterized by a crystal clear straw-yellow colour with tinges of green: its good aromatic acidity offers notes of citrus and almond to the nose, as well as an enviable freshness and a long finish in the mouth. Venerabile Confraternita del Bacalà (literally, Venerable Brotherhood of Codfish) deems it an ideal paring with Bacalà alla Vicentina (Vicenza-style codfish) with polenta (maize flour cooked in salted water to accompany various foods or with various dressings) made with Marano PDO maize flour.
Vespaiolo, in its sparkling wine version (Perlena Vespaiolo Extra Dry vintage sparkling wine) is made according to the Charmat process and is a great product to accompany the aperitif through the whole meal.
this wine presents an harmonious balance between freshness and sweetness, with a long e mineral finish.
Ready in early spring - a period of early crops - it perfectly pairs with Risotto with white asparagus of Bassano POD.
On the other hand, Torcolato is a traditional dessert wine from partially dried grapes made from selected bunches of Vespaiolo grapes. These are pressed and dried by twisting the bunches (hence the name of Torcolato: 'torcere' in Italian means 'to twist') around two vertical lines hanging in proper fruit rooms, where low humidity and ventilation facilitate drying as well as the concentration of aromas.
Torcolato di Breganze is a fine wine, with a Registered Designation of Origin since 1995. It is aged for a minimum of one year and a half to four years in barrels or barrique before it is bottled. Its colour is typically golden yellow and its aroma is reminiscent of raisin and honey. Traditionally, in the town of Breganze this wine has always been sipped with Zaeti, i.e. country biscuits of humble origins and very common in all old families living in Veneto in the past. These biscuits are made with a mix of maize and wheat flour, refined with small sultanas and flavoured with a touch of lemon zest.
Groppello is one of the indigenous red grape varieties of the Breganze Doc area which was already known in 1500. It is characterized by a very compact cluster which resembles a tangle of wires. In the local dialect it was called 'Grop-Gropo', from which its name, Groppello, is likely to originate.
This red grape variety has spread over different wine sites of Veneto, areas of Lombardy and Trentino, diversifying into different sub-varieties.
In the area of Breganze it is common to find 'Groppello di Breganze' which, unlike its relatives, finds here an ideal warm volcanic soil, and thus results in a very colourful, full bodied red wine with strong personality.
Groppello di Breganze is on average a vigorous, rustic, grape variety which is unlikely to be infected by the major grapevine diseases. It is characterized by rounded medium size leaves, with downy underside.
Blossoming and maturation are medium in duration, the grapes are harvested in mid-October, when bunches are medium-to-small in size, very compact, and grapes have a thick skin, are blue-black and pruinous.
Groppello grapes are characterized by being quite rich in flavonoids, which are currently known to have health benefits.
Groppello: the wine
Groppello is a ruby red wine with violet tinges. The nose gives off powerful aromas, like blueberries and currants, with a delicate herb vein that accompanies spices flavours like black pepper.
It has an above average alcohol content which, together with its minerality, gives body and structure to the wine, offering also a sense of warmth and fullness.
This wine is well balanced by the final elegant tannin-rich component, an element that distinguishes this variety.
Traditionally, Groppello has always been paired with Torresano allo spiedo (basically, pigeon roasted on a spit), a delicious dish made from young pigeons raised on milk and traditionally bred in the towers widely spread in the hilly territory of Breganze.