Villa Sandi: Fairy Among Sparkling Wines – Ten Years in Croatia

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Luka Vuylsteke

What is Villa Sandi? A fairy as a mythical forest being or a villa in which rich folk rest? The Villa Sandi we are talking about . is many things at the same time. Firstly, Villa Sandi is a magnificent Venetian villa in Palladio style. Villa Sandi winery is also a tourist attraction, nestled in a grandiose noble summer house from 1622, perfectly kept pearl of architecture surrounded by a green sea of a hundred hectares of vineyards. 

It is located in Marca Trevigiana, at a luxury estate which is the wine epicentre in the lush hilly area known as the Garden of Venice, 60 kilometres north of Serenissima. Art and architecture, perfect domestic food at the restaurant Locanda Sandi, but primarily Prosecco – are more than enough reasons to visit this place. For art history and architecture lovers – this place is unavoidable as a place of exploration and enjoyment.

The entrance to the Villa is through an elegant park adorned with statues signed by popular Venetian sculptor Orazio Marinali, the building was thoroughly restored and is simply beautiful, even fascinating in all its splendour. The Villa is today the home of the winery of the same name led by agile Giancarlo Moretti Polegato. Files that describe this famous building talk of the harmony of art and nature, a place where for centuries architecture and pure nature meet, but the special attraction are underground cellars of Villa Sandi – three centuries old, stretching for a kilometre and a half below the mansion. It is a perfect environment to age wine thanks to optimal natural humidity and constant temperature.

Here, surrounded by cultural centres such as Possagno, Asolo, Treviso and just an hour away from Venice, the city of art and culture, is an empire of Prosecco which, to bear the name, must contain minimally 85% of local, indigenous wine sort Glera. A long family tradition is continued here, cherishing an invaluable combination of history and excellent Italian design, honest approach to wine, dedication to work and love for nature.

Innovation and newest technological achievements live in harmony, which is a winning formula for the Villa Sandi brand, a leading brand of the finest Italian sparkling wines – in many ways, although quite different by grapes and method, can stand alongside champagnes. The vineyards of the Moretti Polegato family are situated in the hills around Crocetto del Montello, in the south of the Valdobbiadene region. This is Prosecco empire: this bright, clear sparkling wine that has been conquering the world in the last years. It is enough to say that import of Prosecco to the United States in the last five years has jumped four times. The respectable “Wine Spectator,” a bible for wine lovers, published in its April issue a portrait of Giancarlo Moretti Polegato, while the success of Villa Sandi Prosecco was sealed with 90 points awarded (for the Brut Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta) by the magazine’s leading sparkling wine reviewer, renowned Alison Napjus.

She described it as “fine, creamy, with rich notes of apricot and salty almonds and hints of lemon peel and guava.” Prosecco’s success around the world, not only in the US, is indisputable, with the best coming from the Asolo and Conegliano Valdobbiadene areas which have reached the status of Denominazone di Origine Controllata Garantita (DOCG), leading Italian wine quality badge. Prosecco is no longer, as it used to be known, a “cheap sparkling,” although it is important to distinguish between standard and premium Prosecco. Specifically, Villa Sandi is in rising demand on the British market, while their Prosecco Il Fresco has been selected for years as the best Prosecco in Germany and gathers commendations at the respectable wine fair ProWein in Düsseldorf.

Historically speaking, most Prosecco’s are produced as “dry,” which means a medium sweet fruit wine. Dry versions are still produced, but “extra dry” (juicy and slightly sweet) or “brut” (very dry) are more common today. In comparison to the traditional, champagne method of a second fermentation in the bottle, Prosecco is produced in the tank based, Charmat method. As a result of the grape sort and type of production, Prosecco is brighter and more aromatic than other sparkling wines, with the best versions well balanced and refreshing, regardless of the amount of sweetness (dry, extra dry or brut). In any case, this sparkling wine is ideal for spring or summertime, picnics and parties in the open and all types of celebrations. But, more often it is being consumed at any times of year and with any meal.

To completely appreciate Prosecco, it is important to recognise it as a unique category and not compare it to champagne as it does not pretend to be something it’s not. Enjoy it like the Italians, adding a small and important spark of pleasure to your day. If you have the chance, visit Villa Sandi – you will not regret it. In the meantime, taste this Prosecco that has been present on the Croatian market for ten years.

To celebrate ten years of successful cooperation with the Miva wine shop, Giancarlo Moretti Polegato arrived to Zagreb with his wife and close associates. After an afternoon tasting for professionals, in the evening at the best Zagreb hotel Esplanade a gala dinner was held created by chef Ana Grgić. During the guided tasting and dinner Moretti Polegato pointed out the passion and pride in continuing the family tradition, combining innovation and exploration with respect and love for heritage and terroir.

A line of labels was presented, with the first, as a welcome drink, Prosecco Doc Treviso Il Fresco Millesimato – served with a croquet of herbs and parmesan mousse. Next was Villa Sandi Il Fresco Rose Doc with Tataki tuna, Kadaif and black sesame powder. The gala dinner began with a duck liver mousse, raspberry block and crunchy brioche along with Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg Extra Dry. Pillows stuffed with boletus and a dense cream of brie cheese was combined with Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg Millesimato 2015. Poached cod fish on olive oil cream and polenta with crunchy artichokes went with Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartizze Docg, my personal favourite. It is the most valued Prosecco, made from grapes from exclusive vineyards stretching on the slopes in the Cartizza area in Valdobbiadene region, with grand cru status. Prosecco from that area has the prestigious badge Superiore DOCG, the highest Italian wine quality mark confirming controlled and guaranteed origin.

Prosecco with a full name of Villa Sandi Brut Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta is descrbied as “finely creamy, with rich noted of glazed apricot, salty almonds and lemon parfait, with a dash of guava.” It is a harmonious sparkling wine with a straw yellow colour; fresh, dry and sharp, but also mild and full of fruity sensations. This sparkling comes from the Vigna la Rivetta estate with a unique mil microclimate and exceptionally fertile soil. With Black Agnus Striploin, potatos and corn baked in charcoal, a red wine Corpore Rosso Marca Trevignana Igt was served, and dessert, a mousse of cinnamon, hazelnut sponge and chestnut, was wonderfully combined with Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg Cuvée Oris. With coffee, tea and cookies – the icing on top – a twenty year old grappa Marinali.

“The charm of superior Prosecco is -whether served as aperitif, at the end of the meal or with any courses – its natural acidity and fresh taste discreetly fulfil gastronomical pleasure, not overpowering it in any way,” said Moretti Polegato. In any case, dinner was at the highest level – and pleasure, like Prosecco, fizzled all around. The owner of the Mohor store, Gordan Mohor, expressed his exceptional pride in ten years of cooperation with the prestigious brand Villa Sandi. Wines with the label Villa Sandi not only have superior wine craft in the, but also wonderful climate and a rich history, where man, nature and architecture have always been complementing each other in perfect harmony.


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