You have those vacations that simultaneously seemed so long ago and like yesterday? That sums up our recent long weekend in Italy. To not overload you with photographs and stories, I’m breaking up our weekend in 3 posts. Today’s post recants our day touring some of the finest prosecco wineries.
If there’s one thing (maybe two) you need to know about going wine tasting in Veneto, it’s this:
Hire a tour guide. And hire Miriam.
I found Miriam through good ol’ Google, but it was her high reviews that convinced me to hire her. Best decision of the trip.
Why a tour guide? The roads are super windy (and confusing!), the wineries are all quite spread out, and English is not widely spoken in the region. Hiring a tour guide takes the agony of scheduling the tours, navigating the roads out of the equation and allows you to focus on more important pursuits. Like drinking plenty of superb Italian bubbly.
Which, at the end of the day, was the main attraction for visiting Veneto. And Miriam delivered. Not only does she speak English beautifully, she knows the BEST wineries and sights to see in Veneto. Including the local, non-tourist spots (aka one of my favorite aspects of travel).
Miriam picked us up at our villa and swept us to our first winery – Toffoli. And its gold medal prosecco. Which is, hands down, the best bubbly ever.
A family operation, the winery is run by the three sons of the founder. Santi (seen below with his daughter and granddaughter) poured us a variety of Toffoli’s offerings, starting with a flat prosecco, then the semi-sparkling, and then into the prosecco range. Our favorite was the award winning brut (shown above), but we also loved the Toffoli rosé. The dry, extra dry, and Maria varieties were also lovely, but sweeter and a tad heavier than the brut. Fun fact – the sugar content in prosecco, from least to most, are the brut, dry, and extra dry. Misleading, no?
Toffoli prosecco (and honestly, all the prosecco we tasted that day) are certified DOC, meaning that the wine is produced in the small region certified to produce prosecco (much how the French restrict the name ‘champagne’ to what’s produced in the region). If you want an authentic prosecco, look for the DOC or DOCG denotation on the label (DOCG means it’s grown in the even smaller region that boasts the best conditions for growing the prosecco grapes).
My father and Santi became fast friends during the tour of the winery, where we learned the process from harvest to bottling. All of the work (save for the bottling) is done on the property, and the entire family continues to run the winery. Touring the facility with my father, who I also work with, was a very cool experience. (New Yorkers – Toffoli prosecco can be found for sale at Eataly and ordered at Ardesia)
From the winery, Miriam took us to a waterfall, which powered a water mill back in the day. Nothing to do with wine, but it was pretty place to stop and take a long-overdue family picture. This was the only moment when I let someone else wield my camera. (in case you’re wondering, I’m wearing Rag & Bone jeans, an old Rachel Zoe top, and a Julie Vos scarf)
After a lovely lunch at a nearby restaurant (the risotto and property’s own DOCG prosecco was excellent), we made our way to the second winery – Bisol.
A larger winery (their output is 10x that of Toffoli), their tour was far more extensive than the first. Bisol also has a larger variety of wines, including a no-sulfur variety (called noSO2) – our favorite of their wide selection. Still attempting to track down that noSO2 – it’s incredibly crisp, and no sulfur means a less severe hangover. That was a very close second to the Toffoli brut.
We ended the day with a visit at a beautiful park and scenic outpost. High above the valley, the views were pretty stunning. And the perfect place to test out my new monster lens.
We retired back to our villa, where we popped open a bottle of Toffoli’s Maria variety (named after the mother of the current proprietors) and our own property’s sparkling chardonnay, stuffed our faces with fresh pasta and vegetables, and succumbed into a peaceful food and wine coma.