Sandro De Bruno, A Winemaker To Remember

Soave Is Now A Worldclass Wine

By: - Feb 15, 2018

As chance has it, I was searching for a vineyard to visit in the Verona area during a recent visit and realized that with all of our visits (Verona is my wife’s favorite mid-size city) that I had never visited the Soave area. It is less than an hour northeast of Verona. 

My parent's friends always brought over a bottle of Soave to our house in New Orleans when they visited for my parent's bi-monthly dinner and poker parties. That’s how it was in the sixties.

Impressions remain during your lifetime and Soave was one of them.

In years to come, Soave from Bolla seemed to corner the American market with low cost magnums of affordable and very drinkable Soave. That is how taste buds for Soave developed and remain to this day.

If the world understood that Soave is more then just Soave Bolla, the Soave market would grow to the level it deserves.

One Soave producer that comes to mind and illustrates that Soave is truly a superior wine is Sandro De Bruno, the only vineyard owner that I visited on this trip.

My belief is that by visiting Sandro De Bruno, my mind opened up to the beauty and elegance of Soave wines.

On the day following my visit to Sandro De Bruno, I had the opportunity to sample a dozen Soave wines from numerous wineries at the Consorzio di Tutela del Soave office in the beautiful walled town of Soave.

That confirmed that these great wines, from various soil types, including volcanic, were wines with amazing profiles. They were made universally with balance, complexity, finesse and freshness.

Before a wonderful tasting at the Consorzio, Sandro de Bruno opened my palate to unique expressions of Soave DOC and Mount Lessini DOC areas. The wines I sampled were Soave Superiore DOCG, Durello Superiore DOC, Chardonnay, sparkling Durello Monti Lessini DOC, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Recioto di Soave DOCG.

Sandro De Bruno winery is located in the town of Pergola di Montrcchia di Crosara. The winery is a large building that houses a wine cellar and stainless steel tanks. There is an area to entertain guests with a wood burning fireplace. It is a perfect area to grill polenta, salami, marinated steaks, and whatever Sandro and his wife serve.

After sampling a sparkling Durello and a Durello Superiore, an elusive ancient grape that is known for its energetic acidity, Sandro’s wife asked if it we were hungry for her Risotto al Durello . We both smiled and nodded our heads ‘Yes.’

What followed was the beginning of a love affair for this risotto. My obvious question was, ‘Can you share the recipe for my readers?’ And fortunately, via e-mail the recipe arrived.

You must note that there are really no exact portions, the sign of a creative cook and like my Caprese mother-in-law, a hand full of this, a pinch of that, is about all you need to know.


Adopted Word by Word from the Sandro De Bruno Winery by Andrea Rocchi

Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock stays hot. At the same time in another pot, heat the Durello until it reduces by ¾.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot. Saute 3 minutes until slightly translucent.

Add the Carnaroli rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so the grains are coated with the butter and oil. Saute another minute until there is a nutty aroma. Add the Durello wine until the liquid is absorbed. Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. Its important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed.|

To prevent scorching, add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for twenty minutes or until the grains are tender, but, still firm to the bite, without being crunchy.

Stir  in the remaining two tablespoons of butter and the Monte Veronese cheese.

It is then ready to serve.

What you will need (this is my guess)
Chicken stock
Six scallions (use the white parts only)
A bottle of Durello wine, preferably from Sandro De Bruno
Carnoli rice is preferred, but Aborio is fine
Only Monte Veronese cheese. (The younger, softer style is preferred. Find it online if you can't find it in your town)
A stick of Unsalted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

During part of my life I was a cheesemonger and set-up The Wine Library’s cheese and gourmet food department. The Wine Library is most famous, not just for wine, but its guru, Gary Vaynerchuk-who has gone on to establish a large PR firm.  Two of the cheese that were popular at The Wine Library were the aged and less aged Monte Veronese cheeses. They are special types of cheese and worth seeking out. Learn more about the cheese by visiting or sending an email to: 

Looks like  priorities are twofold, learn about the wines from Soave, sample them and analyze them. Once you have a better understanding, buy a bottle or two to sip, while you cook the Risotto al Durello recipe.

During this process, you will be able to realize why, only Durello can be used in this dish.