Imagine a scenario from 50 million years ago. A tropical warm watered shallow sea, surrounded by a profuse landscape of equatorial plants.
And an antiquated fauna and an occasional raging of this calm scenery by a simmering underwater volcano.
This is exactly what the eastern province of Verona looked liked all those years back. The present scenario is however very different. The sea has vanished and is now replaced by hills and meadows; even the active volcano has now become the calm and tranquil Monte Purga.
It is in this surrounding that the Durella grape vines grow. It is an authentic and bizarre variety in this region, which is a gold mine of fossils, especially of Ampeliidee which is a predecessor of the grapevines.
The name Durella in Italian means “little hard one”. This grape variety is said to be correctly named so not only because of it has thick skin, but also due to the fact that these vines are extremely difficult to manage.
Known by many names like Cagnina, Durello, Duracino, Rabbiosa, Raboso Piava etc., this is a white wine grape variety originating in the northwestern region of Italy.
It is a versatile and flexible variety that can be used for the production of still as well as sparkling wines. Its wine is often referred to as Durello, making the grape name end in an ‘a’ and the wine name end in an o.
History of the Durella Grape
The most primitive and official mention of this variety was found in the 13th century manuscript named Statute of Community of Costozza, where the writer refers to this variety as Durasena. In the 19th century, this grape variety spread its vines to the province of Vicenza.
In the past, however this trying variety was not much savoured by the consumers owing to its high tartness. It was only used in blended or diluted form in the local market.
However the modern and determined local breeders have been able to convert this weakness of the variety into their strength.
They have learned the fact that the high acid content of the variety is a boon in disguise, which helps in enhancing the ageing ability of the wine and increases their longevity.
The earliest known wineries that produced Durello was founded n 1960.The fist DOC was established in 1987in the hilly area of Monti Lessini.
Viticulture and Wine making for Durella
Durella is a primitive, autochthonous grape variety that is said to be the direct descendants from Vitis Vinifera. These vines tend to thrive in soil, which constitutes lime and volcanic basalt, making the soil mineral rich, dark and stony.
The slopes of the hills provide for proper drainage for cultivation. Durella is a robust and disease, immune variety. The grapes tend to have a compact medium sized cluster with pyramidal shape and sometimes the presence of wings. Their skin is hard and leathery in nature.
It is often referred to as harsh and edgy and according to a saying in the hills of Verona and Vicenza Durella is a wine for men, who will whip the palate. The best part about the vinificaton is that the wine is made in stainless steel containers without the use of sulphur dioxide.
Characteristics of the Durella Grape
Due to their high acid and mineral content Durello can be stored in the cellar for more than 10 years, which seems to only produce further extraordinary results.
These aged wines tend to be much smoother, aromatic and crisp. The wine produced from this Durella is light and is characterized by a bitter aftertaste. It tends to leave a slight floral and citrus taste on the palate.
The Monti Lessini DOC is the major source of most varieties of still and sparkling Durella wines. A minimum of 85% Durella is used in the manufacture of those wines which are labelled under Lessini Durello.
Many other varieties are made from 100% pure Durella. It can also be used to blend with wee amounts of Gargenega, Pinot Noir, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay etc.
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