Situated between Vicenza and Verona, the fascinating volcanic terroir of Lessini Durello DOC is starting to produce some extremely interesting sparkling wines. A younger generation of drinkers seeking to explore Italian bubbles beyond Prosecco and Franciacorta is finding plenty to enjoy in the wine’s characteristic crisp and steely style. Their naturally vivacious character is the perfect accompaniment to the seafood antipasti of the Veneto. That being said, Durello, made from the Durella grape, is a divisive wine.
The key variety, Durella, whose name probably derives from the Italian word for tough, doesn’t mislead observers. It is in fact a difficult, thick skinned grape prone to aggressive levels of acidity. In the wrong hands it can produce notably rough wine. Detractors also point to the difficulty with which the wines seem to accumulate fruit character and this is not an unfair observation. Even at their best, Durella based wines pair a mineral character with subtle lemon flavours and white flowers and rarely anything beyond this.
Just before the clouds burst, the brooding grey sky hung low over a vertical wall of jagged basalt, the key geological feature of San Giovanni Ilarione, a rustic agricultural village nestled in the heart of Italy’s trendiest sparkling wine appellation - Lessini Durello DOC.