"Terroir really counts. The label of every bottle of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore tells us part of the story. Find out where all of our types of sparkling wine come from:"
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is a D.O.C.G. sparkling wine produced exclusively in the hills of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene zone, from the Glera grape variety, grown in a denomination made up of 15 communes (municipal areas). The permitted grape yield in the vineyards is 13.5 tonnes per hectare. Each winery, by skilfully mixing the grapes from the various micro-zones of the area, creates the blends (“cuvées”) that act as ambassadors for its own, distinctive winemaking philosophy. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore may be enjoyed in Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry and Dry versions, classified according to their level of residual sugar.
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. In the Rive, yields are reduced to 13 tonnes of grapes per hectare, the grapes are picked exclusively by hand and the vintage is always shown on the label.
Absolute top quality within the denomination, Superiore di Cartizze comes from a sub-zone that has had its own specific regulations since 1969. It covers just 107 hectares of vineyards, lying amidst the steepest hillsides of San Pietro di Barbozza, Santo Stefano and Saccol, in Valdobbiadene. The perfect combination of a mild microclimate and ancient soils, made up of moraines, sandstone and clays, give these wines unique characteristics. The maximum yield is of 12 tonnes of grapes per hectare. The nose is characterized by complex scents that recall apples and pears, citrus fruits, aromas of peaches and apricots and hints of roses, along with a note of almonds in the aftertaste. Its flavour is well-balanced and elegant, with very fresh, mellow fruit underpinned by delicate, fine bubbles.
This is the name of the traditional Prosecco “col fondo” (“with sediment”), the first version with bubbles to be made in these hills. The yeasts ("lieviti") that give the name to this type of wine are those that fall to the bottom of the bottle in which the re-fermentation takes place, in accordance with an ancient method of making sparkling wines that now is increasingly sought after. It comes in the Brut Nature style and it is a vivacious, slightly cloudy sparkling wine, with very fine bubbles. Compared to a classic Prosecco Superiore the apple-like notes are less marked, whereas there are broader, more complex sensations on the nose, underpinned by the classic hint of crusty bread that comes from the yeasts.
In quantities that are very much smaller compared to the sparkling wine, Conegliano Valdobbiadene is also produced in the Frizzante (semi-sparkling) and Tranquillo (still) styles. In these cases the term Prosecco is not followed by the adjective Superiore.
The typology provides that the second refermentation happen in the autoclave, like the sparkling version, but with a slightly lower pressure: the maximum can be 2.5 bar, while for the sparkling wine the minimum is 3. After a rather short refermentation period, the result is a fresh and lively wine, with less demanding bubbles, with characteristics of great pleasantness and drinkability.
This is the least-known version: a real niche product. It is obtained from the most densely planted and shy-yielding vineyards, where the grapes are harvested when they are very ripe. Its colour is a delicate straw yellow, and its fragrances are of apples, pears, almonds and honey.