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The Veneto in pictures

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to stay at Venissa, a guest house focused around an ancient walled vineyard on the island of Mazzorbo owned by the Proscceco producing Bisol family. Buying the 0.8-hectare vineyard in 2002, Bisol’s owner, Gianluca Bisol, quickly went about making a wine from the native Dorona grapes grown there, which take their name from the golden colour of the skins when fully ripened. Venissa made its debut with the 2010 vintage.

Paying tribute to Venice’s glass making tradition, each bottle of Venissa is made on the island of Murano and features a label crafted from gold leaf applied by hand. Just over 4,000 bottles of both the 2010 and 2011 vintages where made, with a small number bottled in magnum and Jeroboam. The wines are distributed in the UK through Bibendum.

Gianluca Bisol’s son, Matteo, was on hand to talk me through a tasting of the 2010 and 2011 vintages of Venissa, which is macerated on its skins for 24 days, offering notes of aniseed, fennel, honey, baked apples and mandarin.

Another key feature of Venissa is its Michelin-starred restaurant, run by head chef Antonia Klugmann. Passionate about the farm to table concept, the majority of Klugmann’s dishes use ingredients grown on the estate, which boasts a vegetable garden and orchard, while fish comes from the lagoon. She’s snapped here showing off a new spaghetti dish made with saffron and jasmine.

Klugmann works with homegrown ingredients, meaning vegetables and fish feature prominently on her menu.

She does however buy in a small amount of meat, with exquisite smoked venison making an appearance on the tasting menu during my visit.

While basking in the sun here, being by the lagoon, Venissa is constantly at risk from flooding and can become emerged in water, though Matteo assured me the threat of the high tide has yet to cause any damage to yields.

The Dorona grapes used to make Venissa, named due to the golden colour of their skins when ripe

During my visit to Venissa, I was taken on a tour of nearby island Burano, known for its brightly-coloured houses, which captured the imagination of French designer Philippe Starck so much, he bought four.

In addition to its pastel-coloured houses, Burano is also famous for its lace

During the trip, I also paid a visit to the island of Saint Erasmus, where Frenchman Michel Thoulouze has a four-hecatare vineyard and the only other winery in the lagoon. The fruit of his labour of love is Orto, a blend of Malvasia, Vermentino and Fiano which spends two years in bottle before the release.

Having worked in the TV and film industry for over 30 years, which led him to date American actress Kelly McGilles for three years, Thoulouze is enjoying a second life as a winemaker, employing Claude Bourguignon as a consultant.

Michel’s farmhouse

No trip to the Veneto would be complete without a stop in Venice, where the gondoliers were out in full force….

… as were the masks

On the final day of my stay, I was taken to the island of Torcello, inhabitants 12, which boasts a 7th century church.

Torcello is also home to a tiny Dorona vineyard, which Bisol buys grapes from for Venissa.

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