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Winery #57: Cantina Pisoni (Trentino, Italy)

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Day two of the 500 Wineries Northeastern Italy Tour began at Cantina Pisoni, located within the Valle dei Laghi of the Trentino region. At first glance, we were stunned by the height of the mountains surrounding the vineyards, and so yes, we were in a valle (“valley” in Italian). Little did we know at 9:00am that this wine experience would result in a FIVE STAR RATING, ranking among the top 10% of all 500 Wineries visits!

Our host for the morning, Daniele, was patiently waiting for us as we pulled into the parking lot. We started the experience with the history of the winery. Cantina Pisoni began in 1852, and even after 170 years, the Pisoni family continues to be at the helm.

While proceeding to the cellars, we passed an older gentleman hopping on a bicycle at the cellar entrance, and Daniele mentioned that the man is one of the Pisoni brothers that once managed the estate. At 90 years old, he still visits the cellar each morning to hand riddle the bottles of sparkling wine, precisely turning the bottles in a systematic fashion to clear the bottles of dead yeast before corking. Riddling – the secret to longevity!

Daniele provided us with an extremely educational tour of the modern production facilities, outlining each phase of the winemaking process from harvesting grapes to fermentation to barrel ageing to bottling. We then took a short walk to the original production building where the Vino Santo is produced. As one of the most prestigious and sought after sweet wines of Italy, Trentino Vino Santo is an extremely regulated wine and Cantina Pisoni is one of only six wineries in the Valle dei Laghi allowed to produce this wine. Grapes from Nosiola, a white grape indigenous to the region, are dried on special racks called arèle in well-ventilated rooms, allowing the grapes to shrivel resulting in concentrated flavors and sugar levels.

During this time, a fungus called Botrytis Cinerea also known as the Noble Rot can develop on the grapes giving the final wine pronounced aromatic notes of honey and apricots. The shriveled grapes are pressed during Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday. It’s not called Vino Santo for nothing! The wine is then left to age for 10 years in acacia wood barrels. Four years ago, Daniele helped bottle all the older vintages of Vino Santo that were kept in barrels. Before bottling someone had to ensure they were safe for consumption... :-)

Upon exiting the cellar, we noticed an old photograph on the wall of two men in military uniform and an old helmet. Daniele said that the photo was taken of two Pisoni brothers in 1917 at the conclusion of World War I. Both brothers fought for the Hungarian Army since the Trentino region belonged to Hungary before becoming part of Italy at the end of the war. The helmet belonged to one of the brothers. So cool!

The last part of the wine experience was to taste nine of the wines we spent the morning learning so much about. Once we were situated in our seats at the tasting bar, Daniele provided us with an extremely helpful brochure in Italian, German, and English outlining each wine’s grape varietal and production method. We were also given a basket of breadsticks to nibble on during the tasting, which was a very nice gesture. The tasting room and wine shop was expansive, capable of holding many patrons and perfect space for events.

Surprise, Surprise, my favorite wine from the lineup was the 2007 Vino Santo, but the runner-up was the Annada, which is made with the same grape varietal as the Vino Santo. The Annada wine showed a medium aromatic intensity of ripe yellow apple, grapefruit, and white blossom combined with small hint of vanilla and full texture on the palate due to ageing the wine in acacia oak barrels for twelve months. According to Daniele, this was the first vintage of the Annada wine. In my most humble opinion – it’s a keeper!

Brodi had just as much fun as his father during the Cantina Pisoni wine experience. He received lots of attention from the Cantina’s employees, and he really appreciated the bowl of water after all the walking and talking during the tour. We’ll most definitely return!

A visit to Cantina Pisoni is worth a special journey if you find yourself in Northern Italy. A huge THANK YOU to our host, Daniele, for providing such an amazing wine experience!

Experience Rating: 5 Stars!

Brodi's Rating: 3 Paws Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Production Facilities Tour, Seated Bar Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes

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