by Fred McMillin
for March 13, 1998
Winery of the Week
Ah Hah! It's Bolla!
Now that there was a united Italy [1861), the
new country's wine production doubled between
1870 and 1890.
...Hugh Johnson, "Vintage"
1883—Abele Bolla knew a good thing when he
saw it. Owner of the Hotel Gambero in Soave,
west of Venice, he started a winery. His first wine
was a Soave.
1993—Much of the fame earned world-wide by the
wines from the Venician hills, particularly
Soave, is owed to one brand, Bolla, which has
become a household word in the United States.
...Carlo Petrini, "Slow Food Guide to Wine"
The Rest of the Story
What a legacy. Abele's original inn is still
operating. His great grandson, Francesco Bolla,
heads the 2.5 million case winery. Francesco
pays close attention to U.S.A. tastes.
The first Bolla wine arrived in this country
just 50 years ago...200 cases of red Bardolino.
Today, Bolla is the biggest-selling premium
import brand in America. Here are some of the
reasons for such success.
Bolla Soave Classico
My first tasting notes on Bolla Soave were
written on Jan. 15, 1971, about a wine produced
exactly 30 years ago. The 1968 vintage had much
more body and intensity than I had expected.
Today, it is crisper, with more pronounced fruit
flavors. That fruit comes from Bolla's new
"cryomaceration" facilities; the freshly-crushed
grapes are held in contact with the skins at
very low temperatures to increase varietal
flavors before fermentation is started.
This is another landmark import: In 1953 Bolla
brought the first Amarone into U.S.A. market.
Amarone is made by an old Italian process in
which the grapes are laid out on mats and
allowed to dry for several months. The water
content dimishes, the intensity increases, and
the grapes are crushed in January or February.
Critic Alexis Bespaloff calls Amarone one of
Italy's "most powerful reds." My panel was very
Just the Facts
U.S.A. Representative—Brown and Foreman
Contact—Barbara Waits Juckett, (800) 456-8946
While you may not have known that
Francesco Bolla spends much time in Verona, you
do know of two earlier Verona residents. Their
names were Romeo and Juliet.
||About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.
More articles by
Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend
A Sterling Pinot
A Chardonnay Mystery
Winery of the Week
Red Hot Rosemount
"Organic," the Start of Something Big
A Sip of the 1600s
A Pape White, Love
at First Sight
Texas Independence Day