Matilde Poggi of La Fraghe was born in 1962, the third of six children. Her first harvest was in 1984; prior to that year the grapes from this gorgeous family estate (built in 1400) were sold to another winery. She quickly fell in love with winemaking and decided to make all the wine in house and bottle it under the winery’s own name.
As she poured wine for us to taste, she revealed that it was difficult to get started as a woman winemaker and entrepreneur – some would take advantage of her. Yet today she is successful, her business is thriving, and her wines are delicious. She is hoping that her three daughters will one day continue the tradition.
The estate was certified organic since 2009, and today she exports 60% of her wines, with the USA being the first export market.
Below is a list of the wines we tried:
Le Fraghe Rodon Bardolino Chiaretto
70% Saignee with 6 hours maceration – very fragrant and floral with surprisingly firm tannins.
Following this is the 2015 and 2016 Garganega, very rich and mineral with almond notes, an almond and honey richness.
Then the 2015 and 2016 Bardolino, Ripe intense cherry, licorice, roasted fruit especially in the 2016.
2015 100% Rondinella Veneto IGT – spicy red fruit, very concentrated flavors
2015 and 2015 Bardolino Classico Brol Grande DOC – Very ripe concentrated fruit, firm tannic structure, raspberry and strawberry flavors and aromas
2007 Camporengo – very rich and concentrated, very marzipan flavors and aromas
Matilde kindly invited her friend Sylvio Piona from the Albino Piona winery to show his wines.
The original Piona winery was founded in 1893 by Albino Piona, on one of the hills of Custoza. Albino bartered his services against land, started to grow vegetables, and opened a restaurant that became quite famous. The family closed it in 1978, to focus solely on wine production. In 2005, a new winery was built in Villafranca to allow for expansion and modern equipment. Today, the estate spreads over 81 hectares of vineyards, 9 of them in Custoza.
The domaine is run by brothers and sisters Silvio (who made the presentation), Alessandro, Massimo, and Monica. Silvio, the eldest son, supervises the winemaking and all winery operations, in collaboration with an oenologist. Massimo is in charge of the vineyards, while Alessandro directs sales and marketing. Monica promoted the winery on to the cultural scene, offering local and international artists an opportunity to exhibit. She also takes care of PR, tastings and direct sales to the public.
We begin with the Bardolino Chiaretto Albino Piona, 2016, a slight copper and pink color with pronounced aromas of tangerine. 100% Corvina.
Sylvio was very proud of his Custoza wines, which are characterized by a very special, delicate fragrance. There is an assortment of grapes that go into the blend such as Garganega, Trebbiano, and Cortese, Riesling, Pinot Bianco, and Chardonnay . The wines tasted are listed below.
Custoza Albino Piona 2016, very fresh aromatic white wine aged in stainless steel.
Custoza SP 2013 (SP means experimental). Varieties the same as above but the terroir changed and it is a late harvest wine.
Custoza Superiore Campo del Selese 2012. A more gold color with more focus, concentration, and intense stony minerality.
Custoza SP 2011 is the first vintage this was produced. It was a cold year until August, then it turned very hot. On the nose very floral and sweet but only two grams of residual sugar.
Bardolino SP 2013 – very intense wild cherry fruit, raspberry with notes of tobacco. A blend of different vineyards.
Bardolino SP 2013 – made from only one vy, and a part is aged in tonneaux.
Delicious wines from both these excellent, dedicated producers.