June 18, 2010

Discovering Dorona

By In Articles, Vineyard & Wine Travel

opening doronaI was under appreciative apparently. The PR girl’s* smiling veneer crackled when I failed to burst into extremes of excitement over the wine being poured to my left. But hey, I’m English, for gawds sake. the scent of anticipation did make me sit upright and even – wait for it – lean forward, which is about as close to a gratuitous display of emotion as I can get when relaxing on a Venetian island. I might even have smiled.
Oddly shaped 50cl bottles held what was described as Bisol’s first grape squeezed from its resurrected Dorona vineyards, it turned out not to be so. I leant back into a more comfortable posture.

The wine was made from the vanishing Dorona variety but not by Bisol and not from the vineyard spread out before us. And there was me thinking those few rows of vines were the last remaining plantings of this variety in the world. Bisol initiated the project in 2002 finally replanting the estate with this 15th century variety. (The best over-view image I could find online is this one, tiny but you can just make out the hotel/restaurant complex bottom right, the vineyard with chapel tower bottom centre and the island of Burano behind.)

High walls surround the Scarpa Volo vineyard, an attempt to keep the surrounding lagoon at bay, with Bisol giving over half the land to soft fruit trees, vegetable plots and seating areas. It dominates one end of the island of Mazzorbo. Escape the tourist throngs on Burano with a short walk over the bridge to the vineyard and settle yourself into the restaurant for a long lazy lunch. Ristorante Venissa, is run by famed Italian chef Paola Budel. (Not being up on famed Italian chefs Paola was trained by Michel Roux amongst others).

Did my Englishness display result in such a minuscule sample being dropped into my glass and a subsequent mess of our table not having the correct number of glasses? Pettiness is not a trait I like to honour but still it got a bit annoying…

The meal – pictures of which are now on SpittoonExtra – was very fine, with the dessert ‘Crostatina con crema Chantilly e ciliegine’ perhaps my favourite dish despite being served with a “strawberry skid-mark” and being a touch too sweet to match with the superb Bisol Cartizze Prosecco.

But the La Dorona was what the fuss was all about; frankly it was a little disappointing. Remember though that this is not from Bisol or the Scarpa Volo vineyard so it will be interesting to see how skilfully they can extract something of interest from their young vines next year.

This sample came in at just 11% alcohol, slightly lacking in acidity but with a decent minerality and weight. Enjoyable; indeed I even leant forward in anticipation (especially under the smiling glare of the PR woman) for my initial sniff and sip. As the forthcoming releases of Bisol’s Dorona are unlikely to be cheap and will be offered by allocation only, that might have been my first and last taste of Doroma.

* I’ve been asked to point out that the person referenced here is NOT the lovely Dacotah (who handles Bisol in the UK and who organised this trip for me) but rather a locally recruited Italian lady, who was in actuality, as delightful as Dacotah.

bisols mazzorbo vineyard

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1 Comment
  1. JongS June 23, 2010

    interesting points. all wines really come with a little surprise, it might give your enjoyment or not especially with its taste.


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