Prosecco recently has seen a tidal wave of change at every quality level. The popularity of the DOC wines has driven global markets for sparkling wines in recent years, making even Champagne sweat.
The lesser-known story, however, is the rise of the DOCG wines and vineyards. They make a tiny portion of Italy’s Glera-growing vineyards – just under 20% of the all wines bearing the name Prosecco Superiore.
The distinct but neighboring areas of Congeliano and Valdobbiadene, where DOCG wines are made, is truly special – for vini and for vistas. The dramatically steep and unusually trained vines – particularly in Valdobbiadene – are delightfully distinct from all others, and they have been nominated by the Italian National Commission to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you ever have a chance to visit, do. Valdobbiadene has one of the most dramatic vineyard-scapes in the world.
I recently tasted a selection of DOCG Prosecco (Superiore) worth writing about. One was a still Prosecco and the other three are “rive” bottlings. Non-sparkling Proseccos are novelties but have been around a long time. The rive wines, while also produced in small quantities, are relatively new – at least in terms of noting them on labels. “Rive” means “shore” or “bank” in Italian but refers to “hillside vineyards” in the local dialect. Rive wines can come from only 43 specified vineyards and make up a tiny portion of the already small DOCG area.
by Christy Canterbury MW