The very first day in Lake Garda we experienced gorgeous sunny weather, a visit to an ancient lemon garden, and then a visit to the luxurious Relaix & Chateaux hotel and winery Vigneti Villabella.
It is located very near Verona, so beyond tasting wine and seeing the vines at this fabulous property, guests can hunt for truffles, sun bathe in season, and engage in a number of other activities.
Upon our arrival to this estate, we were greeted by the lovely Monica Marogna, the PR director, who told us about the estate and its history. A few decades back, two families (one being that of the current general manager Franco Christoforetti) recognized the value of the estate and purchased it, restoring it to its ancient former glory.
The vineyard is organic, and quite extensive — it is located on a hill where we can see Lake Garda in the distance. Though only early October, the harvest is over … and last season’s harvest is already inside the bottle of sparkling Chiaretto that greets us on the way to lunch.
Sparkling Chiaretto, especially when produced by a prestigious estate such as Vigneti Villabella, is one of the best sparklers in the world. Though nearby Franciacorta DOCG is the “official” quality sparkling wine in Italy, nothing can beat this crisp refreshing Villabella Chiaretto sparkler.
Though we were told lunch would be “casual,” in Italy – or at least at the palatial Villabella, there is no such thing. Really delicious cuisine, extremely fresh, to match the delicious Villabella wines.
The wines were very impressive, as was the estate. Hats off to Franco Christoforetti, his family, and partner for creating such a luxurious hotel and winery.