Focus 50: Trip 9, Ottella (Italy)

The Ottella winery To mark Enotria&Coe’s 50th anniversary this year, we’re shining a light on 50 outstanding producers who have been instrumental to our company history. As part of our celebrations, members of the E&C team took a trip to Veneto to experience the world of Focus 50 winemaker Ottella first hand – here, Brand Manager Rosalinda Zagaria shares her highlights.

Arriving at the Ottella estate, located in the Lugana DOC near the town of Peschiera del Garda, we met Michele Montresor. He owns and runs Ottella with his brother, Ludovico, and the business has been in their family for four generations. Michele welcomed us very warmly and personally gave us the tour.

Our visit began in the winery, and as soon as we entered, I immediately saw that they do things differently here, with a focus on design, art and style. The design of the winery is modern and magnificently curated, from the architecture, to the garden outside, to the house. There are many detailed pieces of art around – for instance, the rooms where they keep old vintages are decorated with contemporary paintings from local artists, sculptures and unique pieces of furniture. In one of the tasting rooms there was a beautiful pink velvet armchair with gold accents. It was quite unusual. In the barriques, the room where they age the Valpolicella, there was a beautiful chandelier: crystal and resembling the shape of water, the shape of a stream.

An amphora at the Ottella winery

After visiting the barrel room with this gorgeous chandelier, we then headed to the room for amphora-ageing the wine. It looked like a sacred place. The room needs to be totally dark, and there were about 8-10 amphorae, all with a tulip shape. The wine that Ottella produces here is called Back to Silence, and I can see where the name came from. Being in that room with the amphorae is almost like being in a temple or a spiritual place.

Next we visited the vineyards. Some are close to the winery, and other plots are offsite. We were there in April, and the vineyards were just a little bit green, so you could see the grapes still flowering and some leaves. It was even before pruning – just the early stages of the vines growing.

We looked at the soil, which was light in colour because of the clay, with a glacial origin. This gives the wine a very strong minerality and is good in terms of permeability and keeping the hydration for the vines. Throughout the tour, we had some very geeky questions for Michele, and he was really happy to answer them: very professional, very precise. You could tell he was very passionate about his job.

The Ottella winery
2018 Valpolicella Ripasso, Ripa della Volta, Otella

Then we moved into the tasting room, which is also the Ottella shop. Again, there were some beautiful pieces of art and design in here, like a chandelier and a striking counter. They offered us some appetisers, so we had a big selection of local charcuterie and cheeses, and Michele led us through a tasting of the range. We tasted the Valpolicella, Amarone, Molceo, Lugana and Le Creete.

It’s clear that the Montresor family applies their search for the unique and the beautiful to Ottella’s wines. You can tell they love art, expression and beautiful things, and they consider winemaking an art. Their wines are unique, from the bottle shape, to the labels, to the liquid inside. If you are a lover of art and wine, this is the place to visit.

The Ottella winery

The team's top 3 drinks

1 2019 Lugana Riserva DOC Molceo, Ottella Molceo 2019 Round and fresh, with creamy peach and apricot aromas leading to crisp apple and juicy nectarine notes, alongside firm acidity.
2 2020 Back To Silence Lugana DOC, Ottella Back to Silence 2020 Golden colour with orange edges. Rich, complex nose with citrus, yellow fruit and elegant smoky, sulphurous notes. Stylish.
3 2018 Valpolicella Ripasso, Ripa della Volta, Otella Ripa della Volta Valpolicella Ripasso 2018 Vibrant and elegant. Ripe red fruits and spice on the nose. Palate is velvety and round with refined tannins. Very well balanced, with a long, complex finish.

Part of our 50 Year Anniversary Focus 50 Series

This trip was carbon offset by Leapfrog

E&C 50 Anniversary Leapfrog