Tenuta Santa Maria

Admittedly the opportunity to visit this place was an attraction all on its own but when we tasted the wines of the Bertani family at Villa Mosconi Bertani, and then heard the history (these guys literally invented Amarone), we were hooked.

An elegant 18th-century, Venetian style neoclassical residence, the substantial villa and cellars lie in the picturesque village of Arbizzano di Negrar, in the heart of Valpolicella Classica. In 1936, history records that the cellar master Adelino Lucchese forgot about a barrel of sweet Recioto, discovering it some time later than he should have. The second fermentation that had occurred in the meantime consumed the remaining sugar, resulting in a stronger, bitter dry wine which was, much to Adelino’s surprise on tasting, immensely enjoyable to drink. “This is not amaro (bitter)”, declared Adelino, “it is amaron!”. Just three years later, in 1939, the first bottles with the new name ‘Amarone’ were released.

In this luscious valley, just minutes from Verona and about twenty kilometres from Lake Garda, the vineyards find an ideal location in terms of microclimate and exposure. The sedimentary marl soil rests on a limestone rock substrate and is particularly suited to the cultivation of Corvina, planted here since 1883, and the other indigenous grapes of Verona.

The estate itself offers a unique example of a walled vineyard or brolo, drying lofts for the appassimento of the grapes, areas for vinification, and cellars dating back to the 16th century, all dedicated to the production of fine wines. Amarone and Valpolicella wines are produced from grapes which are grown in the estate’s vineyards, developed and aged in these historic cellars.

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