Cherchez la femme! A journey through the Nosiola wineries
From the Avisiane Hills to the Valley of Lakes, in search of a grape with a woman’s touch
Trentodoc, Teroldego, Chardonnay, Müller Thurgau…. Although the distinction is lost in English, the names of wines are normally considered masculine in Italian. One exception is found in Trentino, where a decidedly feminine grape variety has conquered the hearts of her many admirers: the utterly charming Nosiola!
Delicate, unpredictable and highly complex: the queen of Trentino’s white grapes
This indigenous white grape variety is intriguing not only due to its feminine name, but also because of its fascinating history and the many different ways in which winemakers have approached it. The most widespread version is the fresh white wine, followed by the straw wine, but there are also sparkling versions or those produced through maceration.
With a long history of cultivation in Val d’Adige, Val di Cembra, Vallagarina and the Valley of Lakes, Nosiola grapes are mentioned in the historical archives as early as 1800, and are now considered Trentino’s leading indigenous white grape variety.
The term Nosiola sounds a lot like the Italian word “nocciola”, meaning hazelnut, and that’s no coincidence: its aroma and slightly almond-like taste are what earned it that name.
Just like any woman, Nosiola will put down roots where the environment makes her “feel at home”. She is at her best in certain areas of the province, and can often be found on the sun-soaked hillsides of Lavis and Sorni to the north of Trento, where the soil is chalky and full of porphyritic rock, the ideal conditions for fresh, mineral-rich and long-living wines.
For a sensual Nosiola with a softer aroma, try the Valley of Lakes, which basks in the sunlight reflected from nearby Lake Garda as well as benefiting from the cool Ora del Garda breeze which blows here from afternoon to evening. The climate in the area and the vicinity of the stunning lakes provide the ideal conditions for drying the grapes in the special barns of the wineries that produce Vino Santo Trentino, one of Italy’s most highly prized straw wines.
An immersive winery experience, surrounded by the aroma of Nosiola
Can’t you just picture yourself sipping a glass of Nosiola among the sun-soaked vineyards of the Avisiane Hills? Or how about a tasting of Vino Santo paired with a selection of mountain cheeses, perhaps on the porch of the winery, when the evening light on Lake Garda is the colour of pure gold? Here, reality exceeds your most idyllic dreams!
Your travel plans can start from the picturesque town of Lavis, north of Trento: here, the Simoni family await a visit from you at their Cantine Monfort winery, located at the very heart of the town. Their award-winning Nosiola comes from a vineyard at an altitude of 500 metres, below Monte Calisio, and is the winery’s crowning glory.
In the same municipality you’ll also find Cantina Lavis, founded in 1948 and one of Italy’s most dynamic cooperatives, dedicated to the promotion of Trentino’s indigenous varieties. Its immensely popular Wine Bar welcomes visitors eager to sample its typical, refreshing Nosiola.
Want to experience authentic hospitality from a small winemaker? In Pressano, you’ll find the Vignaiolo Fanti company: Alessandro and his family will welcome you into their 17th-century farmhouse to try a special version of Nosiola, macerated on the skin and wood-aged.
Take your time, allowing yourself to absorb the full majesty of the landscape that opens up before you in this land of lakes as you head towards Lake Garda. Just a few kilometres south-west of the city of Trento, you will find yourself entering the tranquil and picturesque Cavedine valley. In the little hamlet of Lasino you must find time for a visit to the Pravis winery owned by Giulia and Erika Pedrini: a splendid stone winery nestled among the fratte, the typical terraced vineyards where the Nosiola vines grow.
As you descend through the valley, you will come across one of Trentino’s most romantic spots, Lake Toblino. Take a break at Cantina di Toblino, a bustling cooperative winery which harvests much of the valley’s Nosiola grapes. Its Hosteria Toblino is a paradise for gourmets as well as a triumph of design. Sit down at the table and enjoy your glass of Nosiola: welcome to Trentino!