We are extremely pleased to be talking about a young, new and exciting winery in the heart of Italy’s wine making region Verona as part of our featured producer section.

Quite simply we chose Azienda agricola TerreAntiche di Cottini Sonia to be the first featured producer purely based on quality. From the moment you pour any of their wines and take that first smell you know you are in for something exciting. The labels are questionable and where some may love them others may think twice. But as we all know the proof is in the wine not the label.

Personally, for me the Missià, il bianco is pretty special, it’s interesting and different which I always like. On the nose you get peaches and cream with delicate floral notes all intertwined with stone fruits and that classic Sauvignon Blanc aroma. It’s just one of those wines that you can’t wait to try.

The palate doesn’t let you down either. It’s complex tones bursting with gooseberry, peach and green plum is all kept alive with a nice minerality and crisp acidity. The long slightly honied finish just rounds this wine off perfectly and keeps you wanting more. Truly sensational.

Missià, “Il rosso”

On the nose you are instantly struck by the alcohol which is quite prominent. You also get stewed red fruits and spices of cinnamon, star anise and clove.

When you taste this wine it does slightly surprise you (but in a nice way). From the garnet colour you don’t especially expect to be hit with zingy acidic red fruits. But you soon get to the softer warmer tones of this wine with some added spice, and then a little more spice! Smooth oak flavours combined with cherry and the slight caramelisation from the aged grapes. That Ripasso technique shows through in the wine with an almost fortified element to it. Soft tannins and a super long finish makes for another great wine from these guys.

The soave is also very good. Often an overlooked wine and one just used as a house white in Italian restaurants. This certainly deserves to be more than that.

The nose shows green apple, pears, lemon and spice. On the palate the intense flavour hits you straight away with more pear and apple. This refreshing wine is crisp but not overly acidic. Slight herbaceous element to finish but quite light. Great for warm weather and as an easy drinking wine or paired to be paired with food.

Finally, the Valpolicella Ripasso

The nose is packed with spiced cherries, leather and vanilla. An almost port like aroma comes through from the dried grapes. The palate is deep with red fruits and similar to the aroma, more leather and vanilla. Soft tannins and a rich long finish make it a comforting wine to drink.

To ignore these guys wines would be criminal! And I’m not just saying this because they are registered with Grapetrade.com we get no commission or benefit from sales. The reviews are designed to help you understand more about the producer and the wines they create. I won’t lie, Italian wines for me always seem to come out on top so I’m not surprised I like them. But I do give impartial reviews and you will this in future articles of other producers.

As part of this section and the tasting of the wines. We aim to give a variety of reviews and feedback from different people, and in particularly from people not in the wine trade. We got several people to taste these wines and received the following:

Grapetrade.com (Nick McGrath – Owner) – I love these wines and would highly recommend people that want small batch boutique wines to get in touch.

Female none wine expert – I liked the Soave and it was a surprise as I have seen this wine before but it’s not something I have thought of buying. But I will now if they are as good as this one.

Male none wine expert – All round really good wines and very drinkable. Without knowing the price of these It’s hard to say if I would buy them on a regular basis, but I definitely enjoyed them and would drink again.

We spoke with Giuseppe Turolla to ask a few more questions and to get know more about this up and coming venture by the Cottini family.

Tell us about your winery:

The azienda Agricola TerreAntiche vineyards are situated in the hills to the west of Verona just a few kilometres from the lake of Garda. The soils are heterogeneous, alluvial-calcareous, and somewhat gravelly and with a volcanic substrate, part detritus, part calcareous marine rocks.
In recent years the vineyards have adopted crop criteria designed to enhance the uniqueness of the wines and preserve the typical characteristic.

Your history:

Azienda agricola TerreAntiche di Cottini Sonia was born in 2003, thanks to Sonia’s father, Raffaello, who had already carried on a tradition that started in 1924. It is to be considered the latest brand of the fourth generation Cottini family.

Other interesting facts/information:

The vineyards have been recently restructured to create a level of cultivation that places quality before quantity. They are planted on approximately five hectares of land well exposed to the sunlight, part Guyot-trained and part Pergola Veronese.

Tell us about the wines you produce and what makes them different/special.

Alongside the wines that are representing the tradition, and a solid reputation all over the world, like AMARONE, VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO, Valpolicella, we have two IGT wines that represent the innovation of which we are very proud of:

Missià, “Il rosso”:

That is a blend of grapes we normally use for Ripasso plus a percentage of Cabernet. An excellent wine obtained by selecting grapes that are left to fully mature on the plants until the first frosts and grapes left to wither on the traditional wooden and bamboo trays. Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. Rich fragrance with notes of red fruits and spices. Full-bodied and intense at the palate. Perfect accompaniment with risotto, meat dishes, grilled meats, roasts and game. Excellent with mature cheese.

Missià, il bianco:

White wine, that is the result of a fortunate hunch: the notion of combining the elegance of the Garganega grape (used for the SOAVE wine) , with the softness and fragrances of two aromatic varieties, like Muller Thurgau and Sauvignon blanc. Its complex and attractive scents provide the first pleasing impact, complemented subsequently by the extreme elegance and soft, perfect orchestration of the blend.

Are you currently exporting outside of Italy and if so where to?

At present, we are exporting to customers in Europe, mainly in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland. We recently had the opportunity to get in contact with potential customers over the Ocean, therefore we will concentrate part of our efforts on “out of Europe” countries.

So how was last years harvest and how is this years looking like so far?

Harvest 2017
Unfortunately, in 2017 we probably had the worst harvest of the last 10 years, in terms of quantity. On the other hand, we had a good quality of grapes, especially for the red grapes.

This year (2018), things are completely different both in terms of production that has come back to standard tons per hectare (which means a good 20% more than in 2017) and in terms of quality. The grapes are healthy and rounded thanks to the perfect weather we had last spring: sunny days and some raining days that did restore the soil water reserves. Good news especially for the white wines.

At present, 90% of the red grapes have been picked and we are very happy with their quality and natural degree. We have left on the racks what we will use for the late harvest and used for the Missià red wine.

What challenges are you facing at the moment?

At present, I would say that our major challenge is the construction of our own small “barricaia”, which is the place where certain wines must stay for some time in order to develop flavours, colours, remarkable notes.. and prepare themselves properly for the most important judgment: Our clients one.

Where are you having the most success?

There is not a particular place where we are most successful, but I would say that Germany and Denmark are those countries where people have given us a chance since the very beginning, with our labels.
What are your plans for the future?

Other initiatives are being planned in order to promote our territory and unique wines, also together with other wineries located in some of the most important Italian regions.

In 2017, our region: Veneto, together with Tuscany is on top regarding the best profitability all over Italy, therefore our next step is to work in synergy with other Italian wineries, knowing that the wines from our region represent the 30% of the total Italian export all over the world.

Tell us something either fun, interesting or surprising about your vineyard and wine.

Until the end of 2007, an important part of our property was covered by cherry trees and we were quite well known at that time for having fantastic and plenty of taste cherry fruits. Once turned those hectares into vineyards, that famous cherry taste has remained so clear and unmistakable in all our red wines…..