Breganze DOC dates from 1969 (last revised 2018) is named after the eponymous town in Vicenza (VI) province in the Veneto in north-east Italy. The region owes its recent renown to Fausto Maculan (see link below) whose adoption of international varieties and new oak barrels in the 1980s put the region on the map. Merlot and Cabernet (and Pinot Noir) have been cultivated here since the seventeenth century.
However, Walter Speller (2015, p107-8) argues that as demand is waning for such wines, and despite Breganze producing ‘wines of real interest from Bordeaux varieties’, the region is ‘increasingly in need of redefining itself in a more Italian, indigenous context.’
History: The vine was present in the area of the Breganze DOC both in prehistoric times and during the Roman domination. The first written records date to the period of the Republic of Venice, during which the wines of Breganze and in particular the Vespaiolo enter in the stories of the events of the time. After the Second World War the real period of wine development in the area began with the planting of new vine Vespaiolo vineyards.
Later Breganze became a DOC for the wines “Breganze Rosso”, “Breganze Cabernet”, “Breganze Pinot Nero”, “Breganze Bianco”, “Breganze Pinot Bianco”, Breganze Vespaiolo “and others, up to the 16 the wines of the current DOC Breganze. Since 1995 the range of wines has been completed with Torcolato, the winemaking gem of the Vicenza foothills.
Emblem: The emblem of the Breganze denomination is the Vespaiolo grape, vinified here in three versions, still, sparkling wine and passito. In this last case it takes the name of Torcolato. The grape owes its name to the sweetness of its juices, particularly loved by wasps (‘vespe’ in Italian.
Production zone: This comprises all of the municipalities (‘comuni’) of Breganze, Fara Vicentino, and Molvena; and part of the municipalities of Bassano del Grappa, Lugo di Vicenza, Marostica, Mason Vicentino, Montecchio Precalcino, Pianezze, Salcedo, Sandrigo, Sarcedo and Zugliano.
Terroir: The production area of the Breganze DOC consists of the amphitheater basin between the Astico and Brenta rivers, whose northern margin borders on the mountainous areas of the first slopes of the Asiago Plateau. ‘Although some of the vineyards are in the foothills of the alps to the north of the city of Vicenza, a large percentage of them are in the gravel soils of the plain,’ says Daniel Thomases.
Climate: The climate of the area is very favourable for the cultivation of the vine and is characterized by the presence of hot but not sultry summers and relatively cold winters, while rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year.
Wines: Varietally labelled wines must be made from 85-100% of the grape named on the label plus an optional 0-15% non-aromatic grapes of the same colour permitted in Vicenza province. Generic wines (eg. Breganze Bianco, Rosso) abide by the same ‘non-aromatic grapes’ of the correct colour ‘permitted in Vicenza province’ principle.
Sparkling white wines
Breganze Vespaiolo Spumante: Sparkling wine from 85-100% Vespaiola plus an optional 0-15% permitted white grapes. It can also be made as a varietally labelled still wine–see below.
Breganze Bianco: From estate grapes and from 50-100% Tocai Friulano (called Tai officially in the rules) plus an optional 0-85% permitted white grapes. Breganze Bianco may also be made as a Superiore.
Breganze Chardonnay: From 85-100% Chardonnay plus an optional 0-15% permitted white grapes. It can also be made as a Superiore.
Breganze Pinot Bianco: From 85-100% Pinot Bianco plus an optional 0-15% permitted white grapes. It can also be made as a Superiore.
Breganze Pinot Grigio: From 85-100% Pinot Grigio plus an optional 0-15% permitted white grapes. It can also be made as a Superiore.
Breganze Tai: From 85-100% Tai Bianco (Tocai Friulano) plus an optional 0-15% permitted white grapes. It can also be made as a Superiore.
Breganze Sauvignon: from 85-100% Sauvignon Blanc plus an optional 0-15% permitted white grapes. It can also be made as a Superiore.
Breganze Vespaiolo: From 85-100% Vespaiola plus an optional 0-15% permitted white grapes. It can also be made as a variety labelled sparkling or Spumante wine (see above).
Breganze Rosso: From 50-100% Merlot and an optional 0-50% authorised red grapes (eg. Rossignola). It can also be made as a Superiore or Riserva.
Breganze Cabernet: From Cabernet franc and / or Cabernet Sauvignon and / or Carmenère. It can also be made as a Superiore or Riserva.
Breganze Cabernet Sauvignon: From 0-85% Cabernet Sauvignon. It can also be made as a Superiore and Riserva.
Breganze Marzemino: From 0-85% Marzemino. It can also be made as a Superiore and Riserva.
Breganze Merlot: From 0-85% Merlot. It can also be made as a Superiore and Riserva.
Breganze Pinot noir: From 85-100% Pinot Noir. It can also be made as a Superiore and Riserva.
Sweet white wines
Breganze Torcolato: From dried Vespaiola grapes. It may not be released until the 31 December in the year following the year of harvest. It can also be made as a Riserva.
No certification: Cantina Beato Bartolomeo da Breganze. | Maculan.
Daniel Thomases, The Oxford Companion to Wine 3rd edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW (Oxford University Press, 2006) p103.
Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015).
Walter Speller, Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015), p.107-8.