"Terroir really counts. The label of every bottle of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore tells us part of the story. Find out where our three 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; it is made from the Glera grape variety. The denomination is made up of 15 communes (municipal areas), and takes its name from the zone’s twin capitals: Conegliano, the cultural capital, which was responsible for the creation of the Prosecco phenomenon thanks to being the site of Italy’s first School of Winemaking, where this wine’s production method was perfected; Valdobbiadene, the heart of production in the zone: it is surrounded by vineyards of extraordinary beauty, with a special vocation for producing high-quality grapes. 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 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 tonnesof grapes per hectare, the grapes are picked exclusively by hand and the vintage is always shown on the label.
The golden-hued wine that expresses absolute top quality within the denomination, Cartizze comes from a sub-zone that has had its own specific regulations since 1969. It covers just 107 hectares of vineyards, in the shape of a pentagon, lying amidst the steepest hillsides of San Pietro di Barbozza, Santo Stefano and Saccol, in the commune of Valdobbiadene.
The perfect combination of a mild microclimate and very 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.
Its colour is a straw yellow, with brilliant highlights that vary from pastel shades to golden tones. The nose is characterized by very complex scents that recall apples and pears, citrus fruits, rich 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.
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.
Apart from the type produced in autoclaves (pressurized tanks), which is extremely appealing and easy to drink, in this category we also find semi-sparkling wines which have been stored on their lees in the bottle. These are considered to be the real representatives of the local tradition, and are still produced today by almost every family in the zone. They call for a brief re-fermentation in the bottle during the spring, and are meant to be drunk in the summer and autumn following the vintage. It has a characteristic straw-like colour and, on the nose, apart from fruity and floral aromas, one also finds attractive faint yeasty hints.
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.