A piece of Venice’s storied past, restored with love and patience. That is what the Bisol family of Prosecco fame can be proud of today. They had the vision to revive the long forgotten indigenous Dorona grape on the Island of Mazzorbo. A timber bridge connects this island with the Isle of Burano, and it is just a stone’s throw from Torcello, home of the historic Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
Venice was a major maritime power during the middle ages and the most important shipping point for the world. In 1300 ad Venice was known as the most prosperous city in Europe.
Mazzorbo is the place where the original settlers of Venice first resided. Back in the day, they farmed the island and grew Dorona grapes to eat at the table and produced Dorona wine for daily consumption. They later packed up all their belongings and relocated to Venice’s main island. The Dorona grape vines were left to whither and die.
After meticulous research, the Bisol family was able to track down small amounts of Dorona vines and clone them onto rootstock for replanting in a modern vineyard.
The tiny Venissa vineyard the Bisol’s planted is slightly more than 1 hectare in size (2.4 acres) and is located within a city park adjacent the boutique Venissa Hotel and Michelin Starred Venissa Ristorante Ostello. When we visited in August, the vines were netted and harvest was estimated at being just two weeks coming. Alongside the vineyard is a vegetable garden of the same size that produces many of the vegetables and herbs used at the restaurant. Left over vegetables are shared with neighbors.
Venissa’s first wine release was their 2010 vintage. Only 4,880 ½ bottles, 88 magnums and 88 double-magnums were produced.
During our visit we were fortunate to enjoy a private tasting with winemaker Desiderio Bisol and his nephew Mateo.
Venissa 2010 Dorona ****1/2 (150 E)
Bright golden color with oozing dried aged fruit. This fruit forward wine is packed with spicy fruit, mocha flavors and salty maritime notes. Great acidity and balance. 13% alc.
Winemaker Desiderio Bisol, commented, “The aim is to improve the wine over time. It is my goal to offer a six-year vertical tasting in the future showcasing the 2010 through 2016 vintages”.
Venissa’s Dorona wine labels are made from real gold and are custom baked onto their bottles on the Island of Murano. This makes the finished wine bottles collectible and useful as vases or decorative bottles.
The wine is available for sale at Venissa, at several Venice hotels, and online. Prices are expected to increase in the future as people start investing and collecting the wine.
Venissa Ristorante Ostello dishes out some the top culinary creations in all of Venice. This 1-Star Michelin awarded restaurant has a newly appointed, talented young female chef, Antonia Klugmann, at the helm.
Chef Klugmann sources local ingredients from around the lagoon as well as from her native Veneto-Friuli region. Antonia continues her close collaboration with Arianna Dalla Valeria, her trusted assistant during 2013. Venissa is said to have “the female touch” in the kitchen!
Venissa Ristorante Ostello seats only 18 guests. Their 11-course degustation menu offers a strong culinary statement for 95E per person. The wine offerings are abundantly Italian with a full range of Bisol Prosecco and dessert wines.
During our visit we enjoyed every dish, including:
•Warm Octopus with Lemon Moose, Green Pepper and Tapioca
•Zucchini Flower with spicy seasoning
•Polenta in the Sea, Sea Urchin and Oysters in Red Tomato Broth
•Basil Ravioli with John Dorry
The Venissa hotel has just 6 rooms. The bedrooms are all unique. Some have water views; others have views of the walled estate and Burano. They take their names from the islands in the Northern Lagoon Park. Rates are 150 E per night, which is quite competitive for the region.
We recommend Venissa as a must stop for any food & wine lover. You will enjoy the laid back, less crowded Islands of Mazzorbo and Burano. Best of all you are just a 30-minute public water taxi ride from Venice. For customers of Venissa a free water taxi is available connecting Ca' Noghera, where a secured private car park for guests of Venissa is located (reservations required).
Matteo Bisol, the 26-year-old son of Gianluca Bisol, has always been an authentic admirer of Venice, where he attended University. He has recently taken the helm of Venissa moving to Venice with his new wife Veronica. A young, energetic and passionate man, Matteo will dedicate his energy on expanding Venissa’s operations.
Venissa Ristorante Ostello Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 3, 30170 Isola di Mazzorbo Venezia Italy
Tel. +39 041.52.72.281
Fax +39 041.52.72.323
GPS: 45.439639, 12.322887