Category: Asolo

Asolo to launch “bike sharing,” offering visitors the opportunity to tour the town on mopeds

Known as the “city of 100 horizons” and the “jewel of the Veneto,” the city of Asolo has announced plans to implement a “bike sharing” program that will allow visitors to tour the historic center of the town on motorized bicycles.

Nine solar-energy bikes will ultimately be made available to residents and tourists alike.

The bike station will be located at the Maglio di Pagnano, the city’s historic mill.

It’s not clear when the program will be launched but Treviso Today reports that €49,000 have been allocated for the bikes, station, and monitoring system.

We’ll follow up when we learn more… But super cool, right?

Glera, a banner of Venetian identity and a barrier to invaders

Empress Livia Drusilla, wife of Augustus, attributed her longevity to drinking Prosecco.

“Glera, a banner of Venetian identity and a barrier to invaders – Part I”

By Ulderico Bernardi, professor of sociology and social process at the University of Cà Foscari in Venice (L’enologo 10, October 2014, 20-22.

Even though the revival of the celebrated wine Prosecco from the hills of Treviso province is relatively recent, the fame of this important “Mountain Wine” and symbol of Venetian exports is much more ancient. According to legend, the wine was even capable of pushing back the Austro-Hungarian and German armies after the crushing defeat of Italian forces at Caporetto along the Piave river.

European civilization and its common roots owe much to religious orders, especially when it comes to wine. It is no coincident that the title of patres vinearum (fathers of the vine) was given to monks who planted grapes throughout the continent, even in the most northern countries where the climate still allowed for vines to flourish.

At a time when the transportation of goods was anything but easy, the need to have wine on hand for holy communion aligned seamlessly with the Benedictine motto: ora et labora (pray and work). The abbeys transformed unfarmed and swamp-filled lands into fertile fields.

Monks and Abbeys

In those now distant centuries, Benedictine and Camoldolese monks planted vines on the hills around their hermitages and venerated monasteries in the Veneto. And in the foothills of the Treviso Alps, they erected abbeys in the villages of Nervesa, Vidor, Follina, Rua, and Feletto.

Still today, these places are renowned for their production of Prosecco (now made with Glera and the generous Verdiso grape that often accompanies it). The wine produced was so abundant that the abbot Carlo Lotti of the “Accademia degli anistamici nella Cividale di Belluno” called it his “debt payer.”

The rapidly growing popularity of Prosecco beyond our borders has made the wine a symbol of Italian identity. Today, throughout the world, it plays a role in rituals, celebrations, and the intimate ceremony of conviviality among friends. It is even used as a form of official celebration at institutional symposia.

Nearly Universal Appreciation

It has not been easy for this great indigenous wine from Venice, the legacy of Augustus’ Regio X Venetia et Histria, to arrive at this nearly universal appreciation among wine lovers.

Wine technicians say that the excellence of Prosecco is owed to its resistance to disease, its healthy production capacity, and to other factors as well, including the aromas and flavors it delivers on the palate. The aura associated with the name is now universal.

There is good reason for this: It is highly prized in its sparkling version and in its ancient expression as a still wine to be served in a decanter chilled with its fragrance of freshly cut grass.

In the glass it evokes the foothills of the Alps where Glera and Verdiso flourish, an area marked by its small and large waterways on the surface and below. These are all children of the Piave river which flows mightily in its bed while it secretly delivers abundant springs to the hills and valley floor. These are wholesome waters, rich with healthy salts.

It is no coincidence that Valdobbiadene, Vittorio Veneto, and Conegliano, which lies between the other two, were once towns known for their hot springs [editor’s note: There are also hot springs in Asolo]. These waters nourish the deep roots of the vineyards across a landscape that is made all the more beautiful by their presence along the slopes which bask in the sun. But it was a long road of patience and hard work that allowed men to arrive at the excellence of today.

The Secret of the Popes’ Longevity

The renowned Venetian scholar Agostino Fapanni (1778-1861), an agricultural experimenter and innovator, encouraged local grape growers to draw from the tradition of those select, coveted, and sweet wines that are produced in the smiling hills of Conegliano, Ceneda, Asolo, and Montebelluna, which, since the previous century, shipped bottles beyond the Alps and the sea to be consumed by princes and compared to the wines of France and Spain.

Fapanni attributed therapeutic properties to these wines of ours. He believed that they were endowed by with health-enhancing powers that could give popes and emperors serene health. He established a link between the ancient Pucinum [wine] that is harvested in the stone-filled hills not far from the springs of the Timavo [Timavus], believed to be the Prosecco of today.

He also made the following observation. The demand for and great fame of these wines is owed to the two following circumstances. The bishop of Ceneda, from the Turriana family, used to send them every year to the Pope Paul III, who died at 82 years of age in 1549. He also sent it to other popes. Emperor Frederick III (who died at 78 years of age in 1493) attributed these wines with having helped him to achieve serene health. And Pliny recounts that Julia Augusta [Livia Drusilla, Augustus’ wife], owed her advanced age of 82 years to these wines.

 

Barbatelle: planting grafted cuttings in the Monfumo vineyard

It’s spring time in Italy and that means it also time for planting grafted cuttings — barbatelle in Italian.

Earlier this year, grape grower Luca worked in the Monfumo vineyard to remove certain vines that were no longer productive or had other issues.

In the video below, you see him planting the grafted cuttings that will take and augment their place.

Their called “grafted cuttings” because the “scion”, i.e., the cutting from the desired grape variety (in this case Glera, the main grape used in Prosecco) has been grafted onto American rootstock.

Why American rootstock? Because it is naturally resistant to phylloxera, an insect pest that once decimated the vineyards of Europe (including Italy).

Check out this Wikipedia entry on grafting for a better understanding of how grafting works. In short, the scion is selected for its fruit while the rootstock is selected for its roots.

In a few years, these vines will produce grapes that can be made into Prosecco.

Locanda Baggio, traditional Veneto cuisine in beautiful Asolo

Left: Classic long egg noodles (note the intense orange color from the flavorful yolks), with fresh porcini mushrooms and crispy pancetta.

It really doesn’t get better than that, does it?

One of the coolest things about working in the wine business is that people who make and sell wine always know the best places to eat.

Why? Because they and their sales people travel around the country (and the world) visiting restaurants.

On Saturday, I had my annual meeting with the Ferraro family, first at their house and winery and then over a SPECTACULAR lunch at the Locanda Baggio, one of their favorite restaurants just outside the historic center of Asolo.

Here’s what we ate. And you don’t need me to tell you what we drank! 😉

Thanks, again, Ferraro family! Thanks for the great meal and the great wines you make!

Jeremy Parzen

scallops venetian recipe

Lightly sautéed, tender scallops over a squash sauce.

traditional rabbit italian recipe

Delicate rabbit over a Bassano red onion sauce.

fagioli beans italian gialet

“Fagiolo Gialét della Valbelluna,” the “yellow bean of the Valbelluna,” a Slow Food presidium food stuff and dish. This was over-the-top good.

Ristorante Locanda Baggio
Via Bassane, 1
31011 Asolo TV
0423 529648
Google map

Happy Jewish New Year from Asolo, once home to a vibrant Jewish community

asolo hebrew inscription

Above: One of two sixteenth-century Jewish tombstones that have been preserved in the walls of the Loggia del Capitano in the center of Asolo (Treviso province).

According to the JewishEncyclopedia.com, “a Jewish congregation existed [in Asolo] in the middle of the sixteenth century, perhaps even at the end of the fifteenth. In 1547 there were in Asolo 37 Jews, who lived in six houses close together in the center of the town.”

Cantarini, the famous Jewish-Italian family, is believed to have descended from Marco (Mordecai) Cohen, a member of the sixteenth-century community of Jews there.

L’shanah tovah, happy new year, to all of our friends across the world!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year holiday, begins on Wednesday at sundown.

A great profile of Prosecco & its rise by @BenODonn (but where’s Asolo?)

map asolo prosecco

Above: Asolo is one of three townships that produces Prosecco DOCG. Click on the map above to enlarge.

We really enjoyed two blog posts this week by Wine Spectator editor Ben O’Donnell, “One Nation Under Prosecco,” part 1 and part 2.

Ben offers an excellent overview of how Prosecco became such a popular wine in the U.S. and where it’s heading.

“Are we really going to be drinking $50 bottles of Prosecco, comparing the nuances of village terroirs side by side in 10 years’ time?” he asks in his conclusion. “It’s a question that has been asked and answered, in the affirmative, of dozens of wine styles over the past 50 years, and we’re only getting more open-minded about our wine. The mantle of Italy’s premier sparkling wine is up for the taking, and in Treviso, they’re moving all the right pieces to claim the crown.”

They’re both great posts and it’s remarkable to think how far Prosecco has come in the last two decades.

Our only lament is that he omits Asolo, which is part of the DOCG.

Many Americans are challenged when asked to pronounce Valdobbiadene (vahl-dohb-BEE’AH-deh-neh). And Conegliano can be tricky, too (koh-neh-l’yee-AH-noh).

Asolo (AH-zo-loh) is a bit easier to say out loud but sadly it’s often forgotten when the DOCG is brought up in conversation.

In all fairness, the Prosecco DOCG consortium hasn’t done much to promote awareness of Asolo’s corner of the appellation. It’s much smaller than Valdobbiadene and Conegliano and its production is dwarfed by that of its sister townships.

One of the reasons we started this blog was to draw attention to the beautiful Asolani hills and the great wines produced there.

Please do check out Ben’s great posts. We highly recommend them.

But please don’t forget Asolo!