~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!
- Terri of Our Good Life says Beviamo alla nostra! Prosecco Superiore and Happy Christmas!
- Marcia of Joy of Wine is Celebrating the Season with Sparkling Freisa.
- Cindy of Grape Experiences writes about Pure Trentodoc – Sparkling Wines from the Mountains.
- Jill of L’Ocassion encourages us to Be in Italy for the Holidays with This Bubbly Wine Lineup.
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator pushes Beyond Prosecco? Try These Sustainable Sparkling Wines from Italy’s Erbaluce, Franciacorta, Lambrusco, Pignoletto.
- Here at Savor the Harvest, I share Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco to Make Your Holiday Sparkle – La Tordera Rive Di Guia.
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm says Cheers to 2021…2020 Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out.
- Susannah of Avvinare pours Versatile Lambrusco for the Holidays.
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen serves Val D’Oca Prosecco Paired with Party Starters.
- Payal of Keep the Peas offers A ‘SeeYaNever2020’ Toast with Italian Bubbly.
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass says Hello Again, Lambrusco – Everyone Deserves a Second Chance.
- Jane of Always Ravenous pairs a Frizzante with Holiday Sweet Treats.
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles pours Prosecco – Joyful Bubbles to “Wring” Out 2020.
- Jen of Vino Travels is ready to Sparkle up the Holidays with Prosecco Superiore.
- Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog offers A Taste of 21st Century Lambrusco; Paltrinieri Lambrusco di Sorbara Radice.
- Nicole of Somm’s Table shares The Wide World of Italian Bubblies.
- Katarina of Grapevine Adventures posts A Year in Need of Sparkling Wine Surprises.
- And our host, Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is Celebrating with Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Amidst the Pandemic.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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
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$
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