|The Garda Classico and Lugana appellations, between Lake Garda and Brescia, form a gently rolling landscape. Geologically, the area goes back to some 70-80 million years ago, when glaciers melted, forming morainic amphitheaters, lakes and hills up to 980-990 feet, made up of around 60 different kinds of soil, from clay to limestone and rock, which supply wines with a wealth of beneficial quality components. Nestled among the hills on the western shore of Lago di Garda is the village of Moniga del Garda. In the words of Costaripa owner and winemaker Mattia Vezzola, it is “one of the world’s northernmost territories to enjoy a climate that is almost Mediterranean.” True enough, the stretch of land between Salo and Limone reminds one of the Amalfi coast rather than Lombardy. The property now belongs to Mattia.
In 1936, Mattia Vezzola Sr. fell in love with the well ventilated, sloping morainic vineyards that face Lake Garda. Mattia was so impressed with the area that he decided to purchase a piece of land that had been impeccably cultivated as far back as the late 1800s. In the early 1970s, the estate took the name of Costaripa from the favorable position of the vineyards: in Italian, “costa ripa” means “coast/slope/steep hillside.”
It was only in 1994 that a major quality revolution began on the family estate: Mattia’s grandson, the Mattia Vezzola we all know and love, had taken charge of winemaking at Costaripa. Mattia applied the techniques he learned in Burgundy to reduce yields and use cold maceration and barrique aging on the native Groppello grape. Results were so amazing that Mattia saw his convictions confirmed: by selecting native varieties, lowering crops yields, and employing state-of-the-art technology, Costaripa terroir would yield fantastic wines.
One of Mattia’s top priorities is maximizing local potential with such intriguing indigenous grapes as the elegant Groppello or fragrant Marzemino. Mattia, in particular, did in-depth research on Groppello, known in the area for the past 500 years. Similar to Pinot Noir, it takes its name from the shape of the tightly knit, conical bunch, with blue, spherical berries. The grape stalk is short, so that the growing berries tend to press against each other which makes ripening difficult. For success the variety needs south/southeastern exposure and tiny crop yields on mixed gravelly, silty and clayey soil such as you get at Moniga del Garda. Groppello is high in acidity and low in color, and can be complemented by other varieties in local DOCs: Marzemino, Barbera, and Sangiovese. The blend of all four gives us the appealing and fragrant Chiaretto. The area also features native white grapes like Trebbiano di Lugana. In fact, the very deep, clayey and silty soil yields one of the most powerful Trebbianos in Italy.