Colli Euganei Wines
Colli Euganei Wines are improving at a crazy fast rate. Colli Euganei is a wine growing area of the Veneto in the hills around Padova. This famously flat area of Italy has but a small serious of hills rising up out of the volcanic and mineral filled soil, the Colli Euganei. Upon these hills has been a long, successful and experimental history of viticulture but not until recently was the area considered to be one of top quality. Ideally placed for growing a range of grape varietals, the area is blessed not only with great soil but cooling, salty sea breezes.
The Colli Euganei is still a well kept secret, outside of Italy only a handful of the most serious wine enthusiasts will have heard of this appellation and that’s good for us wine fans, cos the prices stay rooted to the floor whilst the quality is going up.
Up and Up into the prestigious Tre Bicchiere zone infact. The last Gambero Rosso edition gave a coveted 3 glass award to a winery from Colli Euganei, that honour went to Ca ‘Orologio. However, this wont be the last award for an area that is brimming with enthusiastic wine makers. Sending many bottles to the GR finals, what we have in Colli Euganei is your ultimate Italian wine bargain. The QPR round these parts is palpable and I’m going to blow it wide open for you and tell you the best buys from this area and you will love me forever because this is a D*E*A*L. No Parker or WS scores here, they don’t pay it any attention, but you’re not influenced by that, are ya… are ya!
“Yeah, Yeah, Newton, but what if I don’t like the grapes grown here?” Well my doubting Thomas’ that is highly unlikely. In the Colli Euganei they’ve been playing with varietals from all over the world for the last century as well as perfecting the home boys. You can get Colli Euganei wines from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Garganega, Serprina, Tocai, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Riesling Italico, Barbera, Raboso, Pinella and even Sangiovese grapes. If you don’t like any of those grape varietals then you’re in the wrong place and might enjoy it more over here.
Last weekend I spent a lovely day in Padova, tasting some wines and taking in the sights. The city itself is rather small, you can walk from top to bottom in 30 minutes and what strikes you foremostly is how rich everyone is, and how well dressed. I was not expecting a Bulgari in Padova for example, so if you do take a trip to the Colli Euganei and pop into Padova, wear your bling, get a haircut and practice your “who the hell are you” look.
So, all my emails seem to be asking me about the best deals on the market and for my money this area is buzzing, you can get great everyday drinking wines for under €10 as well as ageworthy and collectable wines for €20-30.
Lets look at the top producers in Colli Euganei.
La Montecchia – The most internationally famous producer in the area turning out a good variety of whites and reds, the only Colli Euganei producer to get a Parker rating, probably due to the fact half the product goes overseas.
QPR Secret: Colli Euganei Rosso Cà Emo ’04 – €20
Ca’ Lustra – Popular at home, Ca’ Lustra produce about 200,000 bottles a year and have handled the international grapes superbly. Their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are Gambero Rosso finalist wines.
QPR Secret: Colli Euganei Cabernet ’04 – €15
Il Filo della Vigne – Consistently one of the best producers in the area year after year the prices for the wines of Il Filo della Vigne are a little higher than the others. These are winemakers wines, balanced and structured and made after the grapes are picked. The wines are mostly exceptional and much cheaper than an equivalent Piedmont or Valpolicella wine (aside from Allegrini’s Valp which is a stupid steal) so no real QPR alert here.
Best Wine: Colli Euganei Fior d’Arancio Luna del Parco – €25
Monte Fasolo – Fairly new producer whose yields and small production (150,000) has allowed for low prices indeed. An award winning Cabernet at €10 is what we all want. Here you have it. That is, if you can find it anywhere.
Vignalta – Producing a range of red, white and dessert wines Vignalta is one of the biggest Colli Euganei producers. Probably the most famous wine of the region, the Gemola (Merlot/Cab Franc), is a Vignalta showcase. A traditional Tre Bicchiere wine, the ’98, ’99, ’00 and ’01 are all collectors items. You can still pick this up at a fair price.
Collectors Item QPR: Tre Bicchiere Colli Euganei Rosso Gemola ’99 – €29
Ca ‘Orologio – A 100% Carmenère wine from the hills of Padova getting a Tre Bicchiere award from Gambero Rosso. Yeh-huh in fact. “Relogio 04” was the only Colli Euganei wine to scoop the award in 2007 and its even cheaper than the Gemola. Get it bought.
Where can I buy this wine (La Montecchia is the most widely available)
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Please tell me your “best value” wine. I’ve left you with a few here but its impossible to cover every appellation of every Italian county. Even if its an american, french, aussie wine, give us your super bargains that are just great everyday drinking wines or wines you think will become collectable in the future. Let’s share the wealth! Ta