Paolo is young, happy, a former winemaker and now working half in Italy and half in the United States representing several wineries. One of them, Cá dei Zago, we met the young winemaker Christian Zanatta at Vinitaly last year. I promised the next time I was in the Valdobbiadene area that I’d be glad to stop by.
Under threatening skies, after several days of heavy rain, we first went to Cá dei Zago. The young winemaker has been fortunate in that his vision of Prosecco and Valdobbiadene corresponds more to how his grandfather saw the land. When I mentioned his name to an enologist at the Conegliano school of enology, he looked at me, startled but pleased, “Ah yes, Christian,” inferring with his words and body language that the young man has tapped into the source of greatness in this area.
Osteria senza oste is an osteria on the honor system. There is no one to take your money and you pay what you want. It works in this galaxy, a throwback to the hippie days of free love, but substituted with free Prosecco. The view is stunning, but the energy is inside this little hut. The Veneto is so much more than Venice and Verona.
Once we finished one more bottle of Prosecco Paulo wanted to show me another osteria. “Have you heard of Gallina?” he asked. I’d probably driven past it a time or two, but there was nothing in the memory that recalled the place.
Jenny & François Selections stock the wine when they have it. There is an importer as well in Seattle, maybe another one or two dotted around the country. Seek this wine out.
Christian also makes a Zero Dosaggio vintage dated Metodo Classico. Lovely wine, but not why I came to this hill, or to the osteria senza oste or Osteria Da Gallina. I came here to meet the grandfathers, young and old and taste the food and wine from their time. We cannot travel back in time, but we can still hitchhike through a galaxy of wonderful things here in Valdobbiadene and the land of Prosecco. And that is what brings me back through this magical portal, again and again.
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