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  • Writer's pictureMiguel Crunia

Can Prosecco express its terroir?

Updated: Apr 8

Have you ever wondered if your Prosecco comes from the plains or the hills?

Prosecco is seen as an unpretentious drink perfect for socializing and this accessibility has helped it conquer the world of bubbles. 

The Italian sparkling wine is made with the Glera varietal and by an industrialized method called Charmat, a technique that means re-fermentation takes place in a tank instead of in a bottle. The wine is filtered, and pressure controlled, and there is a relatively high sugar residue. 

This is a ‘fast fashion’ wine; its bubbles are not as fine or elegant as those from sparkling wines crafted using the classic method (like Champagne or Corpinnat), and its speedy bottling means it won’t develop aromas of pastry, pie-crust or nutty butter, but of fresh orchard fruits and flowers instead.

Supermarket Proseccos originate from an industrial viticultural landscape of flat lands, with hectares of vineyards. However, the most historic and classic areas, the Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Prosecco Superiore Asolo are shaped by tortuous hills. Elevated land once covered by the sea shapes a complex soil of salt, limestone, clay, and sand. Here the roots of the Glera grape varietal feed on sapid and mineral inputs. The terroir is not conducive to mechanization. 

Some winemakers produce Prosecco using the Col Fondo method which, despite being a re-fermentation in the bottle, is not a Champenoise method. However, Col Fondo is a return to craftsmanship that yields more textural, less sterile wines.

Glera was traditionally harvested with the arrival of the first snow. The sugar content of the grapes was so high that the fermentation was not complete, leaving some residual sugar in the wine. When the wines began to be bottled, after the war, the winemakers realized the wine was re-fermenting.

The Col Fondo method uses ripened grapes to eliminate vegetal nuances. Then for the second fermentation, the must of slightly dehydrated grapes is added. Also, more time spent on the lees results in aromatic complexity and texture.

So how to navigate the world of Prosecco? 

DOC signals mass production. Avoid that. DOCG expresses superior quality, as it classifies the historical areas, represented by Conegliano Valdobbiadene, and Asolo hills. A step up would be DOCG with the word ‘Rive’ on the label. A ‘Rive’ is a Cru, a different territorial location within the classic zone. The pinnacle of the quality pyramid would be found in the ‘Cartizze’ hills, which is where we find ‘Heroic Prosecco’ as the vineyards here are super vertical. 

Ca’ dei Zago, Valdobbiadene Col Fondo, 2022

Christian Zago is the 5th generation of a ‘contadino’ family who is crafting Prossecos (and also a classic method with Glera) that are the real deal. Loads of citrus, honeysuckle, and wet stone flavours. Find it in Raeburn Fine Wines.

Case Coste Piane, Frizzante ...naturalmente, Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, NV

Could there be a purer and franker Prosseco? It is particularly interesting because it also includes 5% of other indigenous varieties blended with Glera (Verdiso, Bianchetta, and Perera). Red apples, acacia flowers, and nectarines, with a sapid backbone. Find it in Raeburn Fine Wines.

Case Paolin, ‘Col Fondo, Asolo DOCG Prosecco Superiore, NV

The grapes are sourced from the family’s oldest vineyard and left to macerate on the skins for 18 hours, giving a wine with a strong personality that speaks of orchard fruits and lingers on super freshly. Find it at Woodwinters.

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評等為 5(最高為 5 顆星)。

Very informative and well-written piece Miguel


We agree!

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