The Praglia Abbey and the secret of Dom Pérignon
The Abbey of Praglia, at the foot of the Euganean Hills, was founded in the 12th century and reached its present appearance in the 15th century with the completion of the construction of the four cloisters.
Surrounded by 13 hectares of vineyards, it has the distinction of being the only abbey in the world where Benedictine monks continue to produce “bubbles” following the tradition of Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk who invented the way to naturally sparkle wine in the 17th century.
Father Ignazio, responsible for the production of wines, is the “guide” who takes visitors to the most evocative place of the majestic complex: the cellar which has been created by emptying the water tank under the hanging cloister in the center of the Abbey. The high vaults are surrounded by transparent pipes where, during rainy days, the water that in ancient times was collected in the cistern can be seen flowing out. Nearby, another vaulted room is the place where the sparkling wine bottles are left to ferment and then bottled.
Everything is done in an artisanal way using very little technology. The most important ingredients, according to the motto “ora et labora”, are patience and discipline. The monks follow all the phases, from grape harvesting to labeling, assisted by reliable and experienced lay staff.
In the wine list, Emeritus, an extra brut obtained by vinifying Raboso grapes in white, immediately amazes. It’s a wine with a complex aroma and a creamy bubble, definitely one of a kind. More faithful to tradition, but absolutely original in the blend of grapes, are Domnus Abbas Extra Brut and Extra Brut, both obtained with Chardonnay, Raboso, and Garganega grapes. These are also accompanied by the production of reds, whites, and a passito wine made from Raboso grapes left to ripen in the sun under the abbey’s portico.
Before ending your visit, be sure to visit the monumental library; a large room with windows designed to illuminate the environment in the best possible way. The coffered ceiling with precious frescoes overlooks 17th-century bookcases that collect thousands of ancient volumes. In the center, a huge Songbook stands on an ancient contraption used in the past centuries to flip pages automatically.
The Praglia Abbey is an enchanted place where nature and culture come together to generate products with unique flavors. Thanks to the skillful work of the monks, in fact, the most ancient traditions were able to combine with modern tastes, giving us the magical feeling of having visited and savored another era.
For info, visits, and shop opening hours: www.praglia.it
Text and photoshoot by Giovanni Vecchiato