This Saturday we are featuring wines from two Veneto wineries who have turned their elevation to their advantage. Contra’ Soarda, (which means “hamlet on the slope”) grows vines and olive trees with utmost respect for the environment. They are organic and practicing biodynamic without the certification. The soil is of volcanic composition lending minerality to the wines. Vignalta (meaning high vines) is nestled at 2000 feet above sea level on the steep hills of Italy’s Colli Euganei. The high elevation brings something special to the grapes, in addition to sun exposure. Over 30 million years ago, a volcanic eruption thrust the Adriatic Sea floor up, and forged these cone-shaped hills with volcanic and limestone soils into the middle of the flat Venetian plain. The region also has an almost 200-year-old tradition of Bordeaux wine grape varietals after Phylloxera wiped out many native varietals.
2016 Vignalta, Sauvignon Blanc IGT Delle Venezie $18
This Sauvignon Blanc is classically aromatic and complex, crisp, dry and mouth-watering.
2017 Contra Soarda Breganze Vespaiolo $20
Vespaiolo derives its name from the wasps (vespa) that feed on the grapes as sugar accumulates later in the season. The wines are often made into a passito style sweet wine but this wine shines as a rich, dry wine with bountiful aromatics. The nose is quite effusive with scents of apple blossom, white peach, orchard fruit, and ripe citrus. Fairly full on the palate with a rich texture, the initial flavors of juicy apple and peach give the impression of sweetness which is lifted away by high acidity and a mineral finish.
2015 Contra Soarda, Veneto Rosso Gaggion $20
The Gaggion focuses on purity of this native varietal from Veneto. The wine has distinct character of red fruits, berries, and well-balanced tannin.
2014 Contra Soarda Veneto Rosso Musso Ettaro $24
Pinot Nero, Marzemino, Merlot
Musso in Veneto dialect means ‘donkey’ and is dedicated to the donkeys that live on the estate that help with daily work in the vineyards. This distinctive blend has aromas of coconut and vanilla and slightly smoky notes. Its cherry and berry flavors are spicy with fine acidity on the palate. The wine is unfiltered, unadorned and natural.
2010 Vignalta, Marrano $30
50% Cabernet, 50% Merlot
The Marrano ages 6 years in barrel before bottling, softening up all those tannins and ready to drink on release. This complex, earthy, mineral-driven red offers a nuanced combination of green tones, leather, pepper, plum and cassis.
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday, we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.