Soave and Illasi..
We had a fantastic time visiting the Veneto region of Italy. The Veneto is in the northeastern corner of Italy and includes the romantic cities of Venice and Verona, both of which we stayed in as a base to explore the rest of the region. The Veneto is home to some of the best wines in the entire country including Valpolicella, Amarone, Soave, Franciacorta and Prosecco. The food of this region is also fabulous with specialties including Asiago cheese, Sopressa, Prosciutto, Olive Oils and much more. To ensure that we hit all of the best spots, we booked a private chauffeured wine and gourmet tour with Cellar Tours Italy. Simona, our trusted point of contact, put together a very special itinerary and handled all of the details. We had a fabulous driver take us to each place and never had to worry about getting lost or holding back on having one more glass of wine! Everything was perfect! We cannot recommend Simona and Cellar Tours highly enough.
The first wine area we visited in the Veneto was Soave. Soave is known for its crisp white wines made from the Garganega grape. Unfortunately, in the US, Soave wine has a bad reputation as the only kind most people are familiar with is the mass produced and mediocre-at-best, grocery store wine Bolla Soave. It is too bad that more Soave wines are not imported into the US, because they can be fantastic.
Soave is also the name of the tiny town we visited, surrounded by medieval walls and dominated by an imposing castle. We had a private tasting arranged at the Coffele family wine estate. We were greeted by Chiara Coffele who gave us the tour around the facility and told us the history of her family’s business and how they go into wine-making. We were then graciously welcomed into the home of her father Guiseppe, the founder of Coffele Wines. We were treated to a large spread of cheeses, meats and breads and given a taste (or more) of every wine they produce. They were all spectacular. Our favorites were the Ca Visco Soave Classico and the Nuj Rosso del Veneto.
After the tasting, it was time for lunch at Lo Scudo restaurant right in the heart of Soave with a view of the imposing castle walls. The food was wonderful, many courses, many more bottles of Soave.
Just when we felt that we could not eat or drink another bit, we were whisked off on a scenic drive to the town of Illasi. Our destination was the Bonamini Olive Oil Estate where a private tour and tasting was arranged for us. We were greeted by the owner Sabrina who gave us a tour of the facility and her crops. Then it was time for a tasting. Wow was it delicious! So good in fact that we bought a case of their olive oil and shipped it home. We now know what we had been missing all these years and vow to never use another brand of olive oil again.