Garganega is a white grapevine believed to be native of the Berici Hills. It grows between the cities of Padova, Vicenza and Verona, and its presence stretches over a large area from Garda to the ends of the Berici Hills, up to the Euganei Hills. This grapevine is fully ripe in October, when its yellow and coriaceous skin shows hints of red.
Garganega was mentioned in a treaty by Pietro de’ Crescenzi dated around the 13th century, but it is certain that traces of this name and this grapevine have been circulating since year 1000 and that it grew thanks to the Etruscans who brought it in Italy.
Many academics think that Garganega shares some characteristics with other grapevines, such as the Sardinian one of the Nagarus, the Prosecco from the Veneto region or the Grecanico popular in Sicily and Puglia, probably brought in South Italy from Greece.
One of the characteristics that arrived to us almost untouched is the difference between some important clones: the Femina, a fruitful sub-variety, and the Mascula, an almost sterile one.
Right here on the Berici Hills there is Italy’s largest Carmenère vineyard, a black grapevine of bordelaise origin from Médoc, often mistaken for Cabernet Franc and Merlot and to which was given justice only recently.
It is thought that the Carmenère grapevine comes from the ancient “vitis biturica”, an Albanian grapevine introduced in France by the Romans, even though there are mentions of it by Plinius the Elder dating back to 71 b.C., where he talks about how it was grown by the celtic tribe of Bituriges.
The name Carmenère could come from “carmine”, for the intense crimson color of the wine obtained from its grapes. This grapevine is the origin of all the Bordelaise grapevines, even though during the 19th century its cultivation in France was endangered first by the phylloxera and then by the millerandage, which this delicate grapevine is very at risk of.
In Italy the Carmenère grapevine is popular in Veneto and Friuli, where it was introduced in the past because it was mistaken for Cabernet Franc.
Carmenère wine has a very intense ruby red color and a rich scent, with light grassy notes that are fresh and dry and strong notes of red berries, especially raspberry and ripe cherry, a soft and around taste and a subtle mineral tone.
Carmenère is perfect for meat-based dishes, such as roasted chicken, pot roast or boiled meats.