During the month of October, I’m participating in the #Winestudio Conegliano Valdobbiadene program. The four-week program features a region, that until last year, I was unfamiliar with.
While attending the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference, I attended a session put on by the Consortium of Italian Wine and Food. One of the wines, I tried was a Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG . It was the Masottina Rive di Ogliano (coincidentally, a wine featured in Week 2 of the program – see schedule below). It was a memorable wine with more character and depth than almost any Prosecco that I’d had before. In fact, the only other comparable Prosecco I’d had was from Sorelle Bronca, which is also from Valdobbiadene (though I didn’t realize it at the time) ! With those experiences in mind, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in the October program and learn more!
About Conegliano Valdobbiadene
The area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene lies in hilly countryside situated 50 km from Venice and around 100 km from the Dolomites. Here vine-growing has extremely ancient origins, but the first written document linking Prosecco to this area dates back to 1772. Ever since the introduction of the D.O.C. in 1969, the historic production area has remained limited to just 15 communes. Two of these give it its name: Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, one being the zone’s cultural capital and the other the heart of its production.
Italy’s oldest and most prestigious wine school, the Scuola Enologica, opened in the town of Conegliano in the Prosecco region of north-east Italy in 1876. Almost two decades later Federico Martinotti, a professor at the school, invented a way to make sparkling wine that we now call Prosecco. (Source)
Due to its complex, extremely diverse and dramatic terrain, long viticultural history and hand-crafted nature, the Conegliano Valdobbiadene has the potential to produce wines of particular interest and diversity closely tied to the place of origin.- Alan Tardi, US Ambassador of ConVal Prosecco DOCG
The vineyards are situated an altitude of between 50 and 500 meters above sea level with abundant southern exposure on stony, glacial-era morainic subsoil. With a breeze that arrives from the Adriatic to the east, the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region offers ideal conditions for producing fresh wines with vibrant acidity and signature minerality.
The wines may be labeled as ‘Conegliano-Prosecco’, ‘Valdobbiadene-Prosecco’ or a combination of the two.
The region is currently shortlisted for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. At A Glance
Soil Types: Conegliano – Primarily clay and limestone with a mix of alluvial and glacial deposits; Valdobbiadene – Mix of moraines, sandstone and clay
Grapes planted: Glera is the predominant grape; but Verdiso, Perera, Bianchetta
Styles: 95% is Spumante ( fully sparkling); Frizzante (fizzy) which is less bubbly; and Tranquillo, a still wine
Production Method: Martinotti Method (a.k.a “Charmat” method outside of Italy) whereby secondary fermentation takes place in pressurized steel tanks known as autoclaves.
Sub regions: DOCG, DOCG Rive and Cartizze (see Prosecco quality pyramid below)
Levels of Sweetness : Brut, the driest style, Extra Dry, the most traditional, and Dry, with a higher level of residual sugar.
Production: Only 25% of Prosecco produced earns the DOCG designation
The World of Prosecco (Source)
Prosecco is a white Italian wine with lively elegance and fruity and floral fragrances.
Reading The Label
Graphics courtesy of Conegliano-Valdobbiaden Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Color – Pale yellow
Aromas – Effusive white peach, ripe pear with lemon gelee, white flowers and pineapple
Body – Light/medium-bodied, off-dry and elegant with a creamy mousse
Taste – Ripe white peach and pears with a hint of pineapple
Finish – Medium-long
11.5% abv; 100% Glera. SRP – $22; but ave price per winesearcher.com; $15. Either way great QPR!
A selection of the best 20 plots of the appellation. In the past the founder marked the best bottles with a red band, thus the name Bandarossa!
— Martin Redmond (@martindredmond) October 4, 2017
Color – Pale straw yellow
Aromas – Yellow apple, pear, white flowers and dried sweet herbs
Body – Light/medium-bodied, dry, fresh and well structured with a creamy mousse
Taste – Ripe pear, yellow apple, with hints of citrus and a saline minerality
Finish – Medium-long
11.5% abv; 100% Glera. SRP – $16 average price per winesearcher.com
Not all Prosecco is created equally! Both the wines I tasted were clearly a step up in quality over the Prosecco DOC I’ve had. To my palate, the wines showed more depth and structure. Furthermore the wines made me consider, for the first time, whether Prosecco can be a terroir-driven wine that shows a sense of place (e.g. is there something about the aromas or flavors in the wine that let you know it’s from a unique place). Furthermore, my experience with these wines makes me consider whether, rather than being regarded as a cheap alternative to Champagne, Conegliano-Valdobbiane Prosecco Superiore should be considered a style in its own right.
For me the answer is to both questions is a resounding “Yes!”. I’m definitely looking forward to the driving deeper into Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore in the weeks ahead!
Oh…one more thing. Don’t even think about using Congeliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore for sparkling wine drinks….the wines have too much character for that!
For more information about Conegliano Valdobbiadene, check out their excellent website. It’s where I found this wonderful video introduction to this fascinating wine region!
#winestudio is a wine education program produced by Tina Morey. Its message is interactive wine education, thus a better understanding of our world through wine and our part in that world. Questions and comments are encouraged! You can become involved in the #winestudio conversation through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and meet new wine folks from all over the world!
The October Conegliano-Valdobbiadene program is about painting a picture of the history, terroir and people associated with this Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G zone.
The schedule is:
- Week 1 October 3 – Prosecco DOCG – History of Conegliano Valdobbiadene
- Week 2 October 10 – Rive sub-category of Conegliano Valdobbiadene
- Week 3 October 17 – The Second Fermentation: Bottle vs. Autoclave in Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene
- Week 4 October 24 – Cartizze – The “Grand Cru” of Conegliano Valdobbiadene
Join the conversation by following #winestudio hashtag on Twitter on Tuesdays. We’re live from 5:45 pm – 6:45 pm Pacific on Tuesdays in October!
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