Situated among nine stunning provinces in northeast Italy (between the Dolomites and the Adriatic Sea), you will find the most beautiful landscape you will ever come upon. It is comprised of rolling hills and flat lands filled with Prosecco vineyards for as far as the eye can see.
This past July, we spent five days with Prosecco DOC, touring seven winemakers throughout the DOC and DOCG. One does not truly realize the commitment, technology, and family tradition that goes into each bottle until you are there–in person–meeting with the families and walking through the process of harvest to bottling.
What makes Prosecco DOC so unique is the interaction between the climate, soil, and winemaking tradition. Although the art of cultivating vineyards in the fertile Prosecco areas has been developed over centuries, it is really over the past several years that the production of these sparkling wines has been perfected.
Throughout our tour, the one word we heard repeatedly was Glera— the grapes used for making Prosecco DOC. The Glera grape is a type native to Northeast Italy and renowned since Roman times. This white grape variety with nut-brown vines produces long, generous bunches of golden yellow grapes. Cultivation involves vertical training of the shoots and thinning, as well as pinching and trying to create the perfect microclimate to encourage aromatic substances to settle on the grapes.
DURING OUR VISIT, WE TOURED THE FOLLOWING WINERIES: Prosecco DOC in the province of Treviso and Pordenone.
MASSOTINA: Located in the hilly area of Conegliano, sustainability is at the center of the company’s philosophy. The territory and the care of every single detail are key elements of the Massotina production philosophy. The history of the Dal Bianco family is closely linked to these magnificent hills, and it is here that every aspect of tradition is reinterpreted in a modern and exalted key through a rigorous commitment to every area of production.
BOTTEGA: This family winery located in the province of Treviso upholds quality, design, and innovation as its company’s values. From the vineyard to the bottle, each moment of product creation is monitored with artisan care and attention to detail. Having received over 280 prizes and awards, Bottega can be found in 132 countries and is one of the most sought-after Prosecco brands. In addition, Bottega is certified IFS and BRC Global Standard for food safety (in 2018 with AA – level of excellence), it’s also part of the Institute Eccellenze Italiane Certificate, an association that unites Italian excellence producers from different sectors and high-profile companies. Bottega is also ISO 9001 certified for its Quality Management System.
PIERA 1899: Located in the province of Pordenone and founded in 1899, this successful brand is currently run by Piera Martellozzo, the granddaughter of founder Giovanni Piera. The recognized quality of Piera 1899 wines is the result of everyday arduous work founded on respect for the land and its traditions nurtured by an innate propensity for innovation, professionalism, responsibility, and openness to the new. These are the values that inspire Piera Martellozzo. Expanding her working group, she has built a cohesive team of trained professionals with whom she shares her drive for quality and respect for the environment she works in.
THE 3 TYPES OF PROSECCO:
The most famous and widespread type has fine and persistent bubbles. Thanks to its sugar content, PDO Prosecco. Spumante can be Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, or Demi-sec.
Lighter with less persistent bubbles.
PROSECCO DOC: in the areas of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.
LA MARCA: Founded 40 years ago, La Marca is the largest winemaker sitting on the most magnificent grounds, which are still occupied by members of one of the local royal families. Located in Castello Roganzulolo, La Marca is a second level cooperative representing nine cooperative wineries. Their blue label has become a staple in the US.Having lunch inside La Marca was truly a special treat!
MIONETTO: This vineyard was founded in 1887 and is located in Valdobbiadene. In 1982, the Mionetto family introduced autoclave fermentation by switching to the Charmat method, which allows for better preservation of the flavors and aromas of Prosecco. From the beginning, Mionetto has always been a modern and innovative winery able to anticipate trends, while marinating a strong bond with traditions from the homeland.
VILLA SANDI: Part of the DOCG and devoted to wine culture for many generations, the Moretti Polegato family, owner of the Villa, has fostered this ancient tradition by making Villa Sandi the headquarters of the winery, and by promoting grape growing in the area on a modern basis. As the only winery from the DOCG that we toured, it was amazing to see the differences between the two–the hills, vineyards, and VIP on-site accommodations were really something special! We even signed a bottle (that only their top clients can do!), which will remain in the Villa Sandi villa for the remainder of time. That is something we still can’t get over!
BAROLLO: Located just outside of Venice, Barollo is managed by two young brothers who describe their wine as young, passionate. and modern (like them!). With a modern, fresh approach, these brothers have taken their family heritage and brought it into 2019. With each tour, we felt we learned even more–about the grapes, the history of the families, and the vineyards. The love, passion, and respect that goes into raising Glera grapes, harvesting them, and turning them into a distinct-tasting Prosecco is something I will always think about when I open my next bottle. Every wine has a story to be told–and the story of Prosecco is one of the most BELLA of all!
WHAT IS THE DOC?
DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin), a mark of international recognition based on compliance with the official product specification. Like DOCG – Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, it is included in EU standards for Denominations of Protected Origin.
By: Courtenay and Daniel Hall
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