OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Driving on the road to Bugano village, very close to Vicenza in the heart of Veneto region, the red colored villa built at the end of the XVII century appears suddenly surrounded by the green vineyards and hills.
The memory of “La Rotonda” view, the highest expression of Palladio’s villas, which punctuate the inland landscape till Venice, is still clear when we enter the garden of “Colli di Bugano” winery. This vineyard has been the source of life of noble vines for generations. The ancient thirteenth century vaulted cellar stores the grapes in barrels and was built under the same period tower to maintain the original architectural features and natural air-conditioning.
French origin vines such as Pinot and Cabernet blend with the native ones of the area like Tai and Garganega. The “terroir” where they thrive wraps the villa and the winery with a warm embrace, as if Nature itself strives to protect its fruits, enabling human beings to get the most use of the fruit.
At the beginning of XX century the Zannini Family became owner of the estate and have perpetuated the vineyards traditional methods. The last heir, doctor Gaetano Zannini, has always be in love with scents and colors of Provence, currently the headquarters of his natural medicine research lab: he listens and observes nature to understand how to best use natural products for human benefit. The same philosophy dwells between the “Colli di Bugano” vineyards: entrusted with proper proportions of sulfur and copper, they are free to grow freely.
You can sometimes see the Doctor if you are walking through the vineyards. For the past ten years however, Simone Fanton, has been involved on a daily and you can easily meet him. Originally a Maitre Vigneron and now a professional Sommelier, he advanced his wine knowledge managing wine bars and working at international high-level wine tasting.
Simone regularly checks the vines and their balance while walking across them. He seeks for Harmony, first in the landscape then its fruits. During his walks, he might happen upon a fawn resting hidden in the grass or notices if a plant is not well. In the underground cool cellar, during another part of the day, he emphasizes the excellence of a vintage wine, while analyzing its structure and aromas.
During our visit, a group of cycling tourists stops at the cellar. They come from different countries and they are part of a bike-tour on the Berici hills, travelling off the beaten path in a very relaxing way. Like many Italians, Simone is also a big fan of cycling and he welcomes them enthusiastically.
We meet the group just as we are coming out from the annex, called “Le Scuderie” – also the name of a wine from the estate itself – because it was once the stables at the estate. The feeding troughs for horses have been recovered and thanks to the skilful use of wood they have been repurposed into cupboards. The main room of the building is very cozy with its ancient wood and its white Vicenza stone.
The same style also appears in the other rooms, while the interiors of the main villa reflect a more aristocratic tone. The materials used are the same and we also find here evidence of the XVIII century, such as the huge stone fireplace in the underground room.
The visitors are impressed by the lemon house where two perfectly restored vintage carriages are housed. We are invited by Simone to join a wine tasting under the old trees of the garden. A magnificent centenarian linden tree stands in the center. We sit on a bench having a look at the surrounding vineyards. On the wrought iron table “Colli di Bugano” wines and some local products – such as a “sopressa” – have already been prepared for us. Simone leads us through the flavors and colors of what we taste and see. He offers us the technical explanations and describes our gustatory sensations, suggesting ways to refine them to detect natural aromas.
The leitmotif of the day has been the search for harmony. Walking through the vineyards, exploring the villa’s ancient rooms, tasting the wines: everything allows us to realize how much human beings and nature are in such a harmonious relationship, whose highest achievement is Quality, nicknamed by Simone Fanton as “Q”, the essential philosophy of “Colli di Bugano” winery and its leading actor.
At the end of the day the Simone’s “Q” has shared this with us. We can finally raise our glasses and toast…Cheers!!!