Sparkling wine – Prosecco

Latest news

  1. Italian authorities crackdown on fake Prosecco – the 2009 reassignment of IGT classified wines to DOC, with the requisite reduction in yield from 250 to 180hl/ha, has left growers worse off.  So some have been importing grapes and selling counterfeit wines, often carbonated, under the DOC label. Decanter, 09/07/13.
  2. Bottle fermented DOCG Cartizze example reported by Decanter magazine, Italy 2017, as available in the UK (£17). Tasting notes include bakery and floral notes. 09/01/17.

What
A wine produced only in north-east Italy from glera.  Mostly tank method, giving fruity wines with fresh acidity, with a profile including apples and pears, stone fruit and flowers; at frizzante (1-2.5atm) and spumante (> 3.5atm) pressures, with about 11% abv.  In general it has a shelf life of about 2 years.

Where
DOC and DOCG regions in north-east Italy, in the Region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and a major part of the Region of Veneto. Until 2009 DOC wines used the IGT classification.

Climate
Mild, cold mild winters, hot dry summers.

Soils
Limestone in the hills and clay on the plains.

Markets
Telegraph 12/2012 – Prosecco sales doubled in 2012.
Mintel – (European) champagne sales falling at same time (as Prosecco has risen), fallen by 1/3 since 2007.
Decanter July 2013 – Prosecco is made from the glera variety; the best are 100% glera. There are lighter bodied (than varietal glera) blends, with up to 10% of other local varieties; also  blends with chardonnay, but this dominates the delicate glera – so best avoided.

Production
Drinks International 10/2011 – Prosecco production at 210m bottles, equating to 15% of global sparkling production.

Categories:

  • Prosecco – wines labelled Prosecco are the cheap end.
  • Prosecco DOC – encompasses the Region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and a major part of the Region of Veneto.
  • Prosecco Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG – the hilly area within the Prosecco DOC, in the Province of Treviso in the Region of Veneto.  The best wines are from the two villages of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.
    Conegliano – flat clay rich soil – provides body.
    Valdobbiadene – hilly limestone rich marl – provides perfume.
    Very good Proseccos can be made with grapes from either village, but it is believed that the syntheses of the two gives the best wine.
  • Cartizze Superiore DOCG – a commune in Valdobbiadene, hilly, stony, higher, cooler, higher quality – has its own superiore denomination – a cut above plain DOCG.

Production is in, or around Valdobbiadene; I cannot find the number of producers, but productions does not appear to have a co-op element.

There is a small number of artisanal producers in the Cartizze DOCG, using metodo classico, that is with a 2nd fermentation in bottle, but these must be labelled as [Cartizze] Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Frizzante DOCG rather than Superiore, so if the label shows DOCG + frizzante, then it is bottle fermented.  A few produce vintage wines for example, but also the Australians.

Viticulture
20000ha total.
Includes 5000ha DOCG.
And 100ha Cartizze subzone.
South facing slopes at 50-500m altitude.
Maximum yield 90hl/ha.
Difficult terrain – so manual harvesting.

Vinification
Most are made by the tank (aka charmat, Martinotti or cuvee close) method; the first tank fermentation (to protect against oxidation), and the second in a pressure tank to put the sparkle (prise de mousse); generally with no lees ageing as fresh fruity flavours and bright acidity are wanted; but some are made by metodo classico and differently labelled.

Low temperature fermentation, 14C – get amylic notes – apple, melon, pear; but if too low get pear drop and banana notes.

Dosage determines whether frizzante 1-2.5atm or spumante > 3.5atm.  As soon as the wine is off the lees, it is bottled.  Mushroom cork, final abv about 11.5%.

Ageing
None, consume within 2 years of harvest.
Most are not vintage dated, but a few are made – what their longevity is, is a question.

Styles
Brut, extra dry and dry (actually slightly sweet – amabile).
Pressure – frizzante or full spumante.

Tasting note
Green apple, pear, white peach, citrus, stone fruit, iris, white flowers; crisp apple acidity, 11.5%.

References

  1. Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG consorzio  – to see for the plain DOCG, DOCG Rive, DOCG Superiore di Cartizze, and the minor styles of frizzante (second fermentation in bottle) and tranquillo.
  2. Berry Green, D. (2011) Bottle-fermented Prosecco Colfóndo opens up a new front… [online] accessed 05/07/17

Updated: 06/02/17

About citbp

I am interested in everything about wine, from site selection to tasting.
This entry was posted in ITALY, italy friuli venezia giulia, SPARKLING WORLDWIDE. Bookmark the permalink.

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