#Winestudio – Week 2; A Taste Of The Rive of Conegliano Valdobbiadene

During the month of October, I’m participating in the #Winestudio Conegliano Valdobbiadene (“CV”)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 Broncawhich 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!

Week 1 held October 3 was an overview of  Conegliano Valdobbiadene (Click here to read my post)

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.

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 Grapes 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 MethodMartinotti 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


Graphic courtesy of Conegliano-Valdobbiaden Prosecco Superiore DOCG

Quality Levels of Prosecco

As you can see from the quality pyramid below,  the Rive DOCG wines are just below the “crown jewel” of the Prosecco world – Cartizze.   The way I think it about it is that if Cartizze is the “Grand Cru” of Prosecco, then the Rive are the Premier Crus of Prosecco.


Image courtesy of http://www.biancavigna.it/en/terroir
You might ask what the difference between Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOCG?  Prosecco DOCG grown in Valdobbiadene, and Conegliano is hillside Prosecco while the Prosecco grown in the greater Veneto and Friuli is valley-floor Prosecco.  Prosecco grapes grown on hillside  must be hand-farmed because the slopes of the hills in those areas are very steep. Valley-floor Prosecco is generally machine farmed.  Furthermore there is more flexibility  in terms of both quality control and farming practices (including yields) in the valley for Prosecco DOC wines.   On the other hand, Prosecco DOCG wines have more rigorous quality controls and farming practices. Bottom line?  Higher quality fruit  = higher quality wine!

 What is a “Rive”?

According to Conegliano-Valdobbiaden Prosecco Superior, the term “Rive” indicates, in the local way of speaking, the slopes of the steep hills that are characteristic of the zone. This category of wine highlights the diverse expressions of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Rive wines are often obtained from the most precipitous, high-quality vineyards, from grapes grown in a single commune or area thereof, thus underlining the characteristics that a particular terroir gives to the wine. Within the denomination there are 43 Rive, and each one expresses a different and distinctive combination of soil, exposure and microclimate.

There are three key factors which differentiate Rive DOCG wines from Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG wines:

  1. Yields are reduced to 13 tonnes of grapes per hectare (from 13.5 permitted tonnes permitted for CV DOCG labeled wines),
  2. The grapes are picked exclusively by hand
  3. They are vintage wines meaning all the grapes come from a single harvest.  The vintage is always shown on the label (though not always on the front label)

Wines Tasted:
Valdoca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Naturae “Rive di Santo Stefano”

Color – Pale straw
Aromas – Apple, white flower,and a hint of Meyer lemon zest
Body – Light/medium-bodied, dry, harmonious  and elegant with soft creamy mousse
Taste – Green apple, ripe pear, lemon and a chalky minerality combined with a hint of bitterness that make it very appetizing for me.
Finish – Medium-long

90pts – 11.5% abv; 100% Glera
2016 Masottina Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry Rive di Ogliano 


Color – Pale straw yellow
Aromas – Pear, white peach, citrus, ginger, summer blossoms and a hint of chalk
Body – Light/medium-bodied, off-dry and harmonious with delicate mousse
Taste – Asian pear, lemon, key lime, pineapple, candied ginger and a hint of minerality
Finish – Long

90pts – 11.5% abv; 100% Glera
Tenuta degli Ultimi Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Rive di Collalto “Biancariva”


Color – Pale golden-yellow
Aromas – White peach, green apple, citrus, chalk and white flowers
Body – Medium-bodied, fresh and dry with
Taste – White peach, Meyer lemon, lime ginger with hints of apricot and a saline minerality
Finish – Medium-long

89pts – 11.5% abv; 100% Glera

My Takeaways

I am even more impressed with the  Rive sub-category of Conegliano-Valdobiaddene wines.  They are  high-quality terroir-driven wines that share very appealing freshness, elegance and minerality while offering nuanced differences tied to site where the grapes are grown.

I’m further impressed by the value the wines offer.   They are affordable ( in the $16 – $20 range) sparkling wines for any occasion with an abundance of character.  It may be a challenge to find them, but it is well worth the effort!

For more information about Conegliano Valdobbiadene, check out their excellent website. It’s where I found this wonderful video about the terroir of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene!

About #winestudio

#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 remaining schedule is:

  • 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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  1. I adore Masottina. I visited them last fall. Great wines and people!

  2. Jen Martin says:

    Great overview of this wine region. Those of the Valdobbiadene are definitely higher quality than your average prosecco.

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