Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco to Make Your Holiday Sparkle – La Tordera Rive Di Guia #ItalianFWT

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The Italian Food, Wine and Travel group is winding down the year with sparkling wines of Italy for the holidays. I’m concentrating on the upper end of the Prosecco quality pyramid: Prosecco Superiore wines of Conegliano Valdobbiadene.

Note sample wines were received for this article. Compensation was not received and all opinions are genuinely my own. A sincere thank you to the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Consorzio!

We chat live on Twitter Saturday, December 5th at 8am pacific, 17:00 CET led by our host Camilla. Follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT. Until then, take a look at the line up of bloggers’ articles available to read beginning today!

Congeliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Veneto

High up in the Prosecco vineyards looking down on the Superiore di Cartizze is lovely anytime of year. Here, April is particularly verdant.

Let’s start with a brief overview of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area.

The Where and What

The Conegliano Valdobbiadene area lies in the Veneto region between Venice on the Adriatic Sea and the Dolomites. Three DOCGs produce sparkling wine here.

Included in the larger Prosecco DOC introduced in 1969, it wasn’t until 2009 (effective 2010) that Conegliano Valdobbiadene became a DOCG to protect the historical area and the many micro terriors contained within.

According to Alan Tardi, Prosecco US ambassasor for Conegliano Valdobbiadene, this is the area Prosecco was born centuries ago (dating to 1772). Although sparkling wines are made in and around fifteen towns (communes), Conegliano is the cultural center of the DOCG and Valdobbiadene the production center.

 

Label example of a ‘rive’ is on top, ‘Superiore di Cartizze’ on bottom.

To make things a tad confusing, producer’s choose one of three ways to label their wines: Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Conegliano or Valdobbiadene, each appended with DOCG. If they are one of 43 rive (top single vineyard sites), they append with the rive name too, similar to a vineyard designated wine. And if the vineyard lies in the Cartizze, the appellation’s only sub-zone, they usually label as Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG.

Style wise we mostly see spumante (fully sparkling) with the small remainder made frizzante (semi-sparkling). The difference is pressure; whereas Prosecco, Champagne and most sparkling wine are between 5 and 7 bars of atmospheric pressure, frizzante is below 3 bars. This gives it a smoother and creamier mouth feel. As a comparison, car tires range 2 and 3 bars.

And there’s a sweetness level to satiate every palate from dry to sweet:

Photo credit: Just Perfect Wines

The ‘Extra Dry’  and ‘Dry’ names are a bit misleading as one would think drier but they have sweetness.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene on the Quality Pyramid

While Prosecco is widely available, you won’t know the real potential of this wine style until you climb the Prosecco pyramid.

A hierarchical pyramid establishes quality levels in the world of Prosecco and Prosecco Superiore is at the top!

Prosecco superiore DOCG

Each level has nice wine to fit every budget. The great thing about DOCG Prosecco is climbing the pyramid doesn’t change that- you continue to find reasonably priced sparkling wine the higher you go. And just like Champagne, the intricacy and complexity grows reaching the grand cru: Superiore di Cartizze. (Graphic adapted by Savor the Harvest from https://www.prosecco.it/en/prosecco-superiore-docg/#)

Springtime in the Veneto

Mark and I drove from Verona through the Prosecco hills to the top of the hallowed Cartizze a few years ago. It was fascinating to see landscape changes along the way from rolling hills to much steeper terraced slopes then finally the Cartizze amphitheater. Hand harvesting is the norm but in the Cartizze and rive, it’s mandatory- you couldn’t maneuver a machine if you tried.

This video of the Cartizze gives you a glimpse of the area. It’s much steeper than it looks! The photo below is a good example.

 

Harvesting in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, where you want to volunteer to help for a great workout! Photo source: Consorzio di Tutela Prosecco Superiore, taken by Arcangelo Piai.

Although we did not visit producer La Tordera that trip, I tasted a bottle that needs to be shared with you!

La Tordera in Valdobbiadene

“Always with an eye towards innovation, we have never forgotten our bond with our territory and its traditions. Thanks to this respect for this small paradise and the wonderful fruit it gives us, we tend towards an always “greener” wine growing method in harmony with the environment while taking into consideration our past and future generations.”  Source: La Tordera website

This speaks mountains about La Tordera’s philosophy. Bepi Vettoretti farmed with an ear towards fully understanding the timing and processes of his vineyards, watching for peculiarities and pests and making adjustments when necessary. He used integrated pest management before this became a phrase and his grandchildren, Renato, Gabriella and Paola, continue this today in line with “lotta interata”. Integrated insect and disease control is practiced where the use of substances such as insecticides or fungicides is drastically reduced. Prevention, observation and intervention are key.

The three run the estate today, supported by their parents. 2018 marked 100 years of farming their vineyards in the region. They make about 1.3 million bottles annually from estate grapes.

They obtained CasaClima certification for their new winery, and generate electricity via solar panels. On the community side of the sustainability scale, active membership in the “Cantina Solidale” project promotes special talents of local residents in the name of solidarity and the common good.

Valdobbiadene Rive di Guia Zero – “Otreval” Extra Brut 2019

La Tordera conegliano valdobbiadene prosecco DOCGOtreval is a single vineyard wine from the Rive di Guia area. The 1.3 hectare Glera vineyard sits on some of the highest land in the DOCG at almost 500 meters on fossilized limestone soil.

Here we have a ‘dosaggio zero’ or no added sugar wine. It pours pale straw in color. Green apple, green pear, fresh dough and lime mingle together while the bone-dry palate offers more of these on a steely base. Delicate yet persistent perlage (bubbles) and vibrant acidity lend finesse and freshness while a hint of tarragon closes the crisp, medium-length finish. Mark described it exactly as I was thinking: bright and elegant.

95% Glera, 5% Verdiso | 12% ABV |about 18€ / 25$

La Tordera Prosecco Valdobbiadene cauliflower soup

Casual meal and easy going evening with La Tordera Prosecco Superiore.

 

I poured this a few nights ago, the day it was received. We already planned a casual cauliflower parmesan soup and salad night, the Prosecco was a nice match.

I would sip this wine by itself on a lazy weekend afternoon or enjoy with seafood. Grab yourself some oysters, grill yourself some white fish or vegetables and let this fresh wine tickle your palate and add sparkles to your holiday or any day! 

 

 

For information on other Italian bubbles, you can read my articles, A Medley of Italian Sparkling Wines and Brachetto d’Acqui Sparkling Wine To Brighten Up Lockdown

prosecco superiore spumante

The CasaCima certified La Tordera winery in Valdobbiadene. Photo source: La Tordera

Sources: La Tordera, Federica Gaiotti, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Consorzio, Enofylz Wine Blog and #winestudio, Just Perfect Wines (nifty sweetness scale)

 

22 thoughts on “Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco to Make Your Holiday Sparkle – La Tordera Rive Di Guia #ItalianFWT

  1. Marcia J Hamm

    We carry the rose, the brut and the extra dry from La Tordera in our store, and they are always a big hit! If given a choice, I’d always like to drink the “Rive” prosecco, and it’s just that little “extra” over the regular VCS.

    And I love explaining the levels of RS to customers when it comes to prosecco! It’s always very confusing, but I love watching the lightbulb go on over their heads when they “get it”! I bet this wine was singing with the soup! Yum!

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      This is my first La Tordera. I learned this particular Rive doesn’t get out much thus I was tickled to get this sample!
      Thanks for the feedback about their rosé and brut. And your sharing explaining RS- it can be confusing indeed. On another note, I’d love to taste the sparkling Fresia you shared!

      Reply
  2. Martin Redmond

    I attended the Prosecco DOCG class moderated by Elaine Chukan-Brown the other day. The Rive and Caartizze are wonderful wines. She indicated that the typology driven by the grapes chemistry ( sugar and malic acid when picked) rather than Marketing per se. fascinating stuff. I’ve really come to appreciate and seek out DOCG Prosecco the last 5 years of so. It’s not Champagne, but neither is Champagne DOCG Prosecco! Now I’ll be leaving ok’ing for more Rive ( though like Rosato, I suspect the Italians may be keeping the Lion’s for themselves😉)

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      I’ll bet that was fantastic Martin. I watched almost all of her webinars with the California Wine Institute. Mark and I are with you on appreciating these higher level Prosecco. I was lucky to get this particular Rive wine. Conversing with the producer they said it doesn’t usually make it out of Italy!

      Reply
  3. john

    What a fabulous, informative, entertaining and mouth-watering essay on a favorite topic! Such useful info that’ll guide me with more confidence while shopping for Prosecco next time. I’ll now be able to have a convo at the store with the wine folks, and understand them better… and know if they are pulling my leg!

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      So glad this was helpful to you John! I have another article coming with even more info. It goes into various details about Prosecco and Prosecco Superiore. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. robincgc

    I look forward to getting my hands on a bottle of Rive Prosecco. This region is so beautiful (I love your video). I saw the webinar that Martin mentioned but missed it. I should go back and catch up on those.

    Your cauliflower soup really has me craving cauliflower and your description of the wine, “with a hint of tarragon”, makes me want to search for a bottle of this!

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      It is a breath taking area, especially from where we were at the top. Meet there someday?!? Cauliflower soup is inherently bland thus a great canvas to build upon. Look forward to seeing your version Robin!

      Reply
  5. Jane

    Great explanation of the Prosecco levels! I am also a fan of the Prosecco DOCG, I just wish more were available in my neck of the woods for purchase.

    Reply
  6. Deanna

    I can’t believe you’ve actually been to the top of Cartizze! That is quite a feat not just for its location in Europe, but it seems really hard to drive up to with narrow roads! I love the pairing with cauliflower soup too because I feel like cauliflower needs a little something to perk it up, and prosecco sounds like just that.

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      Cauliflower definitely needs something, it’s a blank slate. Next time I’ll rev it up a bit more. Either way it was nice with this vibrant dosaggio zero Prosecco. Highly recommend making the trip to the top of the Cartizze!

      Reply
  7. Dennis

    Loved this Lynn. We had great Franciacorte in Rome on our last trip. Would love to get your take on some wines that are available in the US.

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      Those are the super experiences you’ll remember! Happy to share some wines with you, will send an email.

      Reply
  8. Linda Whipple, CSW

    Reading about La Tordera’s philosophy, I have such respect for Bepi Vettoretti’s care of the land. Obviously shows in the wines. Such a wonderful, informational post, Lynn. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Lynn Post author

      The older generation knew what they where doing by keeping things simple. Thanks for stopping by Linda!

      Reply
  9. Katarina Andersson

    Nice overview of the Prosecco Valdobbiadene area 🙂 There are indeed some high-quality areas within the Prosecco appellation, especially DOCG…I remember you told me you went there.

    Reply
  10. Eileen

    Love this! I need a new wine to focus on in 2021 (well a few) and this sounds perfect as I like sparkling wine. I hope they are easy to find in the US. It will be so interesting to taste this higher level Prosecco next to a regular Prosecco. Wow, those hills look steep!

    Reply

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