Press Trip To Asolo
Day 1- Thrown Right In
The town of Asolo is located in the northern region of Italy and has been a source of world-class, but often secret, wines for centuries. Here, the weather and soil are ideal for producing some of the most unique and interesting sparkling wines in the world, and I'm on my way to sample it's delights in the company of various other wine journalists (what is the collective name? If you know, or want to make one up, please let me know!) who are eager to delve into the delights of this beautiful area.
I’m up at the crack of the crack of dawn for the early morning flight to Venice Marco Polo, excited as it’s my first flight out of the country since 2019 (pre-'You Know What' days). Although the nearest I’ll get to Venice is the terminal before being whisked off into the beautiful countryside of the Veneto.
It’s been so long since I last travelled by air that I’m fumbling around like an old befuddled man who begs for help at every opportunity. It only takes an hour to get through check-in, and I have an opportunity to browse the shops I've rushed through on previous occasions. They are interesting, but not as interesting as the Prosecco bar where I decide to acclimatise, and try to enjoy a little better than average glass.
The queue through the airport is bad, but moving, and the plane takes off late, arrives a even later, and adds a little bit more lateness, just in case, by taking an age to deliver my luggage. Is this a warning of what’s to come?
I pour myself into a waiting taxi, not really aware of what is going on and find myself deposited for lunch at Giusti Wines. I’m late and my fellow journalists smile but look at me as though I've been dragged in by the cat. Most of them are Americans, there are two other 'Brits' and a Swiss lady. Having been up very early, I'm a little tired and small talk is about all I can make as I sit, relax and stare enviously at the colleagues who arrived a day early and have a head start on me.
Lunch is nearly over, but miracles are performed, and one of the biggest portions of burrata I've ever seen is placed before me. Tiredness has actually robbed me of my appetite, and I can only manage a small amount. Excitement helps it recover enough for an excellent Ravioli that pairs really well with the Sauvignon Blanc that is welcomed with open mouth, and a surprise opener for a region where Prosecco has become an oversold good time Friday drink in the United Kingdom.
There are also a couple of red wines that are named after members of the family and are enjoyable, and a nice surprise considering I thought that this was going to be a fizz trip.
After lunch we go for a walk to a ruined abbey that lies on the edge of one of the vineyards. The location is stunning with views for miles, the day is warm and the idea that terroir is not just a word being thrown about becomes a possibility.
Afterwards, we're taken for a tour of a museum dedicated to the works of Antonio Canova, a neo-classical sculptor. The pieces on display illustrate the work of the man to perfection and it’s a great little stop. One feels as though the statues have stories to tell behind their marble eyes. So far the combination of tasty wines, Italian hospitality, good journalistic company, and views that make you envious of Italy, have made a positive impression.
Later, we're taken on a walking tour of the wonderful town of Asolo, although one or two of my new friends decide, instead, to take a coffee/Prosecco break in the centre of town. It tries to portray itself as a village, but is a town. Whom am I to question the urban designation of such a poetic location. It clings to a large hill with streets snaking their way about. Hidden voices sound and one feels that mysteries lie behind at the end of every street, just around the corner.
The place is so Italian you couldn’t make it up, nor should you think about it when it's this good. There are stunning views with every step taken creating a memory. It’s no wonder this is such a popular place. I will return I constantly repeat in my thoughts.
The day finishes with a dinner that contains so many courses I lose count, and had to skip one because I’m tired, full, and not bringing my 'A' game, conversationally, to the table. It’s the only thing that isn’t brought to the table, as starters, pastas, risottos, and desserts are laid in front of us. All accompanied by wines that sooth and entice, and make one dream of a thousand possibilities of moving here if a lottery wine was on the cards.
I'm saving reviews of some of the wines I tried for a separate piece so don't think I'm being selfish and keeping things to myself. These pieces are little travelogues are, hopefully, to encourage you to think about this place as a great wine destination.
Finally, the day ends and I’m deposited at my hotel at around 11pm. I’m expecting it to be difficult to check in at this time, but Italian style takes over and I’m given my key before I know it, and then falling quickly asleep I dream of Italian sculpture, and memories of interesting food that are paired with balanced wines comfort me like a pillow.