Perched above the picturesque Faedo Valley, in the heart of the soil-rich Euganean Hills of Italy’s northeastern region of the Veneto, sits a family run, totally organic tenuta (estate) that transforms superlative grape into illustrious wines in shades of red, white and rosé: Azienda Agricola Ca’ Lustra Zanovello.
Lying only a few kilometers southwest of Padova (Padua), where Galileo Galilei once pondered the heavens in scientific thought, and just around the bend and up the hill from the Medieval walled town of Arquà Petrarca, home to celebrated 14th century Renaissance scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch), Ca’ Lustra is a must-see stop along the Strada del Vino Colli Euganei (Wine Road of the Euganian Hills).
Where once upon a time the ancient Roman Empire gave birth to the grape in the rich volcanic soil underneath Monte Venda, the highest point in the well-protected Regional Park of the Euganean Hills, Ca’ Lustra continues to work the earth the old-fashioned way, with lots of sweat and passion.
A relatively young estate founded in the mid 1960s as a weekend “green retreat” for the late Angelo Zanovello, an engineer by trade and the son of farmers by birth, Ca’ Lustra took flight as a bona fide winery in 1977 and hasn’t looked back.
Now under the watchful eyes of Franco Zanovello and his son, Marco, Ca’ Lustra includes the original 40 hectares of land — 25 for vineyards and the remaining 15 split between olive groves, nut and fruit-bearing trees, and assorted produce — that surround the organically certified agricultural center, along with ten other terroirs spread about the hills and plains around nearby Arquà Petrarca.
Boasting three distinct lines — Ca’ Lustra, Selezione Zanovello and Zanovello Vini Dolce — the estate currently produces 18 different varietals and blends ranging from Merlot, Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Moscato Bianco and Fior d’Arancio, to Serprino, Manzoni Bianco, Chardonnay, Tai (f.n.a. Tocai) and Garganega.
Enough of the background, I’m parched. Let’s go inside and sample some grape.
According to wine experts, the best time to sample wines is late morning on an empty stomach, so I’ve come at the perfect time. Isn’t that right, Rita?
Certamente!, she enthusiastically replies.
When I finally raise the white flag and cry out BASTA!, indicating that I’ve had enough — although I would’ve enjoyed more if it were not for the small problem of driving my car sensibly back home — I had sampled seven of the estate’s noteworthy, palate-pleasing, award-winning labels.
Ca’ Lustra Serprino 2012 DOC (a light, fruity, sparkling Glera varietal)
Zanovello Oliventani Bianco 2011 DOC (still blend of Sauvignon, Tocai, Pinot bianco and grigio, Garganega and Moscato bianco).
Zanovello Roverello Chardonnay 2009 DOC (a solid, citrus-filled varietal)
Zanovello Girapoggio Cabernet 2007 DOC (a full-bodied blend of Sauvignon and Franc)
Zanovello Sassonero Merlot 2008 DOC (a robust and rich varietal)
Zanovello Belvedere Marzemino Nero 2010 IGT (a lovely aromatic varietal)
And last, but certainly not least, my fave of the tasting session, Zanovello Natìo 2007 DOC (a flavorful blend of Merlot, Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon). It’s quite the surprise straight out of the bottle.
If you ever find yourself in the Veneto, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to Ca’ Lustra Zanovello. The winery is open to the public Mondays-Saturdays from 8.30-12.30 and 14.30-18.30, and on Sundays from 10.00-12.30 and 14.30-18.30.
For guided group tours, wine tastings and direct sales, dial +39 0429-94128 or contact the winery online by clicking HERE.
And, if the winery’s just too far out of reach from where you are, don’t fret. You can order some of Ca’ Lustra’s superb wines online at Wineshop.it by clicking HERE.
Join me again next time when we go in search of another hidden gem along the wine roads of Italy. And, don’t forget to bring along a corkscrew.
©The Palladian Traveler