The red wines of Asolo
The Asolo Prosecco production zone is part of a larger DOC known as Asolo Montello; within this appellation, wines are labelled as Montello- Colli Asolani DOC, while there are also some red wines that can be labelled as Montello DOCG. (A small amount of white is made here, but the most accomplished still wines are the reds.)
There are two basic styles, one made from an indigenous variety known as Recantina, and the second, Bordeaux blends. Planted here since the 1870s, Recantina has flavours of red cherry and plum, with moderate tannins and healthy acidity; some versions recall a cru Beaujolais in their exuberance, while others are more northern Rhône-like in their density. The best examples are from Ida Agnoletti, Pat del Colmèl and Giusti’s Augusto, with ageing ability from five to seven years.
If Bordeaux blends are more your thing, Giusti has two excellent ones: Antonio, mainly Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Recantina; and the more classically styled Umberto I. The 2009 is splendid, displaying ripe red cherry fruit and firm tannins. Save it for seven to 10 years.
The finest and most renowned Bordeaux red of the area is the Capo di Stato from Loredan Gasparini. First made in 1964, from a vineyard planted in 1946, it’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. One of the longest continuously produced Bordeaux blends in Italy, it’s a glorious achievement, offering great complexity, beautiful acidity and marvellous structure. The current 2012 is outstanding and should age gracefully for 12-20 years; vintages back to the 1980s are still drinking well.
Left: Loredan Gasparini’s Capo di Stato