Elisa, the dry Moscato Infinito and the day that changed her life
All right, we admit it, this time the story doesn’t come from a vineyard. It is more of a lounge story. Milan, Château Monfort. Cosmopolitan luxury. I only expected to meet Gianluca Bisol, one of the best-known Prosecco Superiore DOCG producers, but Elisa Dilavanzo was there too, a woman we have known for a few years, the lady of Maeli’s Fior d’Arancio.
The meeting with Gianluca Bisol and Elisa Dilavanzo
A planned tasting or interview will never have the same depth as a spontaneous, unexpected conversation, at the moment when a bottle of sparkling wine is uncorked. Gianluca opens the new vintage of his excellent “cru” Prosecco, Vigneti del Fol, fills the glasses and walks off to answer the phone. We are alone, so to speak: at the centre of the lounge which looks like a variety theatre.
Well beyond Miss Italia
When Elisa is mentioned by the media, they often focus on her past as a finalist in Miss Italia and Miss Universe, or for having won the “Charme Sommelier” contest. And yet, during the hurried meetings in these past months, Elisa Dilavanzo has always seemed to me anything but a woman in show business, but rather a reserved and pensive girl from Rovigo. So I thought I would break the ice and ask her about herself. In order to get the picture.
Entering the world of wine
How did she enter this world? Was it in the family? “No, not at all. If you get into wine and are a simple AIS sommelier, how can you enter the sector?” she asks me. It is an interesting question, considering the proliferation of courses and graduates who delude themselves that it will be easy to invent a job in this world. “You have to sell! And I started to sell wine. French… .”
Sudden changes of fate
At an appointment with the food and beverage manager of a five-star hotel, she was shown the door (“I’m sorry, he’s gone out. Come back another time…”), but she stubbornly waited until the manager of the hotel agreed to see her, and her fate changed. For half an hour she explained the qualities of Burgundy and Champagne to him. He let her speak. Then he said: “Look, I’m a teetotaller, but you are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic that I would like to talk to you about some vineyards that I have bought with a partner.”
The adventure in the vineyard begins
The vineyards were in the Euganean hills, in Luvigliano di Torreglia (Padua). It was her land and she couldn’t resist. The vineyards were very old, some were completely covered with vegetation. Elisa was getting into the winemaking adventure… but she had to deal with everything, 18 hours a day. Clearing the land, pruning, planting and when she came up against a problem, because after all she isn’t a technician, she let herself be guided by the winemaker via webcam: the consultant of the winery who split his time between Italy and Argentina.
The battle for Moscato Giallo
They also came up with the idea of planting everything with Malbec and Petit Verdot… She wanted to keep the Moscato Giallo. “It’s a wine for women, not for drinkers!”he said. But she loved that grape variety. She felt it was “hers”. She liked its diversity, sapidity and complexity. When the owners realised that they would have to wait years before seeing a return from the reds that were ageing in the cellar… they threw in the towel, they wanted to sell. Elisa went to see her friend Gianluca Bisol at Vinitaly, as usual. But this time she was not as radiant as usual. She confided in him her disappointment about this fairy tale that was about to end.
The happy ending
Gianluca and his brother Desiderio, the winemaker who liked the complexity of the Colli Euganei wines, thought about it. One day they turned up at the winery for a surprise visit. She was in the vineyard spattered up to her eyes in mud. She quickly made herself presentable and prepared a tasting focused on Moscato Fior d’Arancio. They tasted it, liked it but above all they observed the enchanting landscape. And they decided that the winery had to be saved. Gianluca and Desiderio bought a 35% share each, Elisa took 29 and ceded a symbolic 1% to the barely twenty-year-old girl who, with self-sacrifice, had always supported her until then. The adventure began, and Moscato dei Colli Euganei came in all its forms: Charmat as well as Traditional method, dried-grape wine. And dry.
The Infinito Dry Moscato. To cherish
Gianluca has come back and, having emptied his bottle of Prosecco in the meantime, he serves the Infinito, that is the dry Moscato by Maeli and Elisa Dilavanzo (read the tech sheet). The wine I want to talk about and the reason I started writing this article: it is a wind blowing in from Byzantium to Venice and concentrates on the volcanic rocks of the Euganean hills, provocative, golden, with sandalwood essence and rose petals, tropical fruit and citrus gardens, oranges and lemons. Caressing, but fresh, aromatic but rocky and deep. A white to cherish.
Talking of Miss Italia, charm etc. “But have you seen my hands?”asks Elisa while I’m thinking about Infinito, the wine. “Do they look like a lady’s hands to you?” She holds them out, they are energetic and she has just one simple ring on her finger. Strong hands. And the working hours have increased from eighteen to twenty-four, but what does it matter? Elisa is living her dream. Some see themselves as princesses, others as showgirls and others still as winemakers.
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