The red wines of Asolo

Decanter - - ASOLO PROSECCO -

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

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