On the Shores of Lake Garda, dozing in the sun, lies the vineyard resort called Azienda Agricola Pratello. The steady heat of the sun warms the soil, making the vines happy and the grapes plentiful. This is only one of the ingredients that creates the unmistakable character of Pratello wines. The vineyard has experienced significant growth in recent years, as the demand for its wine encompasses more than 60 countries around the world. Pratello was one of the first vineyards in Italy to obtain organic certification 13 years ago, but now actually exceeded those standards. In addition to producing superior harvests of grapes, they also cultivate Leccino and Casaliva varieties of olives, native to the area, which are pressed to produce an outstanding extra virgin olive oil.
The Publisher’s Tour visited Azienda Agricola Pratello for a tasting and multi-course lunch served at the vineyard’s restaurant, Enoteca la Veranda. Nicola Cerini served as the host for the group, providing an informative tour of the vineyard and remarkable underground production facilities. Facing beautiful Lake Garda and located on the outskirts of Verona, in addition to guest rooms, the tranquil resort has a health center and pool and is known for its exceptional service.
The Pratello estate was begun by Dante Bertola and now belongs to his son Vincenzo, who continues to own and run the vineyard. Vincenzo’s wife, Stefania was the chef for the outstanding luncheon. The five-course meal began with local cheeses and salami made in house. This was followed by a delicious soup, pasta, main dish and two desserts. Most of the products served in the Pratello restaurant were from their farm – including vegetables, fruit, preserves and even the flour. Many of the vineyards different wines were tasted and paired with the meal. It was an afternoon of unparalleled culinary delights.
Among the most famous of the wines produced by Pratello are the Luganos. Catulliano Lugana is made entirely from the Turbiana grape. The nose of this medium-bodied white wine has both floral and fruity hints. Its smoothness leaves one with the sensations of juniper berries, apples and a finish of pear. In the mouth, the wine is very soft, having almost perfect equilibrium among savory, sweet, bitter and saltiness.
Torrazzo Valtènesi is the next renowned wine of the vineyard. Produced from the Groppello and Marzemino grapes, it is clear ruby red in color, with a medium body. The bouquet is subtle but strong, with aromatic scents of the underbrush, with cherry scents rising upon swirling the glass. The taste is aggressively pleasant and wrapped in complexity with the flavors of plum, cherry and bitter raspberry. The level of acidity makes it fresh on the palate.
The Pratello Pinot Grigio is produced from grapes of the same name. The straw-colored wine revealed scents of ripe pear, melon and white flowers and is delightfully creamy in the mouth. It is well-balanced on the palate, offset by a fine acidity and a crisp finish.
For rosé, the travelers enjoyed the Pratello Sant’Emiliano, made from hand-picked Groppello, Syrah, Barbera and Marzemino grapes. It is one of the wines most often enjoyed on the shores of Lake Garda. Pinkish cherry in color, its nose ranges from almond blossom and banana, to cedar, pear and apple. The wine has a sharpness that is round, yet light and fresh.
As an added delight, the Publisher’s Tour group enjoyed some limited edition REBO wine. Each year Pratello releases wines with a different colored car on the label. The license plate reads REBO, which is the name of the grape – a hybrid that was developed by Rebo Rigotri in 1948. It is a cross between a Merlot and Teroldego. Known for its rich nose with complex cherry notes, Pratello produces two to four of these special vintages each year. Since the United States is one of the prime export markets for Pratello, we strongly encourage our readers to enjoy bottles of the different wines they produce.