It all started when Gianluca Bisol, a Prosecco producer, saw four grapevines on an island in the Venetian lagoon and discovered they were a forgotten and near-extinct variety called Dorona. He planted the grapes on the island of Mazzorbo, across from Venice, in 2007, and the tiny production from his 2.5-acre vineyard received international acclaim. It also caught the attention of Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli, who were getting ready to open an Italian steak house as their third Naples restaurant.
“You could say that Dorona discovered us,” says Ingrid, whose husband is a native of the Venice region. “We were looking for a concept for the restaurant, and we became fascinated with how the vines were brought back to life. It’s a story of rebirth.”
The couple contacted Bisol at his Venissa winery on Mazzorbo, and they became friends. Bisol was the first person to walk through the door of Dorona when the restaurant opened in January, and the Aiellis visited him at the winery this summer.
At Dorona, the namesake wine is available in both its traditional white ($350) and red versions ($320, a blend of Merlot and Carménère) in 500-milliliter bottles. The rare offerings cap a wine list filled with gems from Italy, France, and California. The red Dorona is a graceful accompaniment to any of the restaurant’s 17 cuts of aged beef.
Dorona is one of the few places in the United States where customers can experience the restaurant’s eponymous wine. Anyone who tries it will receive a taste of history, along with a bottle designed by a master Murano glassblower and a label composed of gold leaf from a seventh-generation Venetian gold worker. (doronanaples.com)