A sweet italian wine in the heart of Veneto:
the Torcolato wine
Some experts claim that the sweet italian wine is among the finest in the world.
Veneto is one of the most important wine regions of Italy, making some very good dessert wines as well.
The sweet italian wine Torcolato
A fine good dessert wine from Veneto that I recommend you taste is the Torcolato wine.
This is of course a DOC wine (guarantee of origin), whose production is permitted only in the province of Vicenza, around the Breganze area. It is in fact made with a local grape variety named Vespaiola, a grape beloved by vespe, or wasps, for its high sugar concentration. There can also be a lower percentage of other grapes, like Tocaiand Garganega.
The name Torcolato means twisted, and it comes from the way the grapes are allowed to dry, that is hanging in feet long twisted hanks.
They pick the grapes in October leaving the bunch on the branches, which are woven together into long strands, then twist them and allow them to dry until mid January.
Another way to name a sweet tasting wine is through the words meditation wine.
Why? Because the dessert wines aromas are much more concentrated than those in the dry wines, giving a higher level of tasting sensations.
So, to fully appreciate it you should taste such a rich in flavour wine slowly and with a relaxed attitude.
Why are dessert wine sweeter?
The making of the sweet italian wine, and generally of any raisin wine, is similar to the one of the dry wines.
However, there is a further step. Italian dessert wines like Malvasia and Moscato wine are made by allowing the bunch of grapes to dry, usually on straw mats in an airy attic room, in order to dehydrate them and concentrate the sugar, that way increasing the alcohol content.
There is an exception concerning a very prestigious italian dry red wine, which even though it is not a sweet one, it is actually made partially through this grape drying process. In spite of that, it finally turns into a dry -not sweet- wine.
I'am talking about the Amarone wine , the most prestigious of the Veneto reds, and rated as one of best italian wines.
The Torcolato wine route
If you happen to be in the province of Vicenza do not miss this sweet Italian wine tasting getaway along the picturesque Torcolato wine route.
The Torcolato wine route starts from the small town of Thiene. The town is ok, but actually...it’s not the end of the world if you miss it, unless you have plenty of time to spend on your Veneto holiday.
The attraction worth seeing of Thiene is the villa-castle Da Porto-Colleoni, which is inside the historical town.
It’s an interesting and unique example of a palace, a blending between a Middle Ages castle and a renaissance palace.
In fact it was built between the 1400s’and 1500s', and strongly influenced by the gothic style palaces of Venice.
You can see from the photo that the downstairs windows are typically medieval, while the upstairs ones have a renaissance style.
Continue along the itinerary dedicated to the sweet italian wine Torcolato, and you will get to the small hilly village of Lugo.
Do not miss the two two wonderful Veneto renaissance villas, great examples of Palladio architecture.
It's about the Villa Godi Malinverni (1542) and the Villa Piovene (1539), both part of the World Heritage list.
You might also want to eat at the ancient Villa Godi’s stables, now a fine restaurant. I like to eat outside, under the very stables.
Finally after a few miles you will get to the heart of the making of the sweet italian wine Torcolato, the small town of Breganze.
The town is nice, in the main square...oops, in the only square, there is also one of the highest bell towers of Veneto...besides that, it is worth a stop just if you want to lie around for a while, sitting at some tables in the square, and of course tasting a glass of a good dessert wine like... Torcolato...what else??
Continue down the itinerary and you will get to the sweet hills surrounding the villages of Mason and Molvena.
I love those places, it is about a renowned cherry- growing area, and in spring there is a blaze of blossoming cherry trees. I like to go in some of the many agriturismi -local food family owned restaurants, very common in all of Italy - and have lunch outdoor, surrounded by this explosion of white flowers. Looks and smells like heaven!
Continue forward the Torcolato wine itinerary and you will reach one of the most worthy sites of Veneto’s medieval towns and villages, the charming walled hamlet of Marostica, the town of the living chess game .
It all ends to the marvelous thousand-year-old Bassano del Grappa, with its renowned centuries old distilleries. Do not miss a visit to that very beautiful historical center, where you will appreciate even a celebre 1500s’ bridge designed by the architect Palladio.
Another fine italian sweet wine made in Veneto is the Recioto wine, made in the hills around Verona.
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