The Delle Venezie DOC
We’ve been hearing quite a bit about the Delle Venezie DOC over that last year. That is probably to be expected as this newly established DOC has been working hard to get its name out there.
The region spans Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia which is the North East corner of Italy. The region has been called the Tre Venezie or Trivento and was previously covered by an IGT (Indicazione geografica tipica).
Raising this to DOC (Denominazione di orgine controllata) was completed in 2017 in Italy. It was approved by the EU in August of 2020. The difference between the IGT and the DOC is a raising of quality. Yields were limited and regulations tightened on the percentage of certain grapes that must be in these wines.
We did a piece on this last year as part of the Virtual 2020 Wine Media Conference. Delle Venezie DOC – Italian Pinot Grigio Raising the Bar
The Wine Media Conference is for the Wine Industry Media. The Conference itself is paid for primarily through the sponsors. The turnaround is that attendees have promised to write about the sponsors and their experience. You will see more content to fulfill our obligation for posts, but quite honestly, there is so much to write about, that you will see more than our requirement. Please note that all opinions are our own.
(The conference content and wine for tasting at the sessions and excursions were provided by the sponsors, travel, hotel and most meals were paid for by attendees.)
DOC delle Venezie, discovering the revolution of Italian-style Pinot Grigio
This year at the Wine Media Conference, there was a new session on the Delle Venezie DOC. Led by Regine Rousseau of Chicago Based “Shall We Wine” this session dove a little deeper into the DOC.
(*Side note on Ms. Rousseau. I attended a session during the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers called “Term Exploder”. Regine was on the panel and she was fascinating, combining poetry and her personal history to create tasting terms that took you on a journey to see the wine through her eyes. It was an amazing session.)
One of the important factors in the new Delle Venezie DOC is that the wines from each producer that wants to use this label must go through a blind tasting process. If it passed the standards set, then it can be labeled with the DOC seal of Approval. The new campaign points up their “Seal of Wonder”.
Types of wines from DOC Delle Venezie
There are 4 types of wine that are allowed within the Delle Venezie DOC
- Pinot Grigio or Pinot Grigio Ramato/Rosato
- Sparkling Pinot Grigio Spumante or Spumante Ramato/Rosato
- Pinot Grigio Frizzante or Frizzante Ramato/Rosato
- Delle Venezie Bianco
What’s the Ramato/Rosato thing?
We are all very used to seeing Pinot Grigio as a white wine. But the grape itself is a pinkish-gray color. Regine explained that up until the 1960s most of the Pinot Grigio that you would have seen would have been a light pink or copper color.
In the 60s Santa Margherita fermented the grapes off of their skins to keep them from being pink. Thus, the wine came out with a pale straw color, rather than the coppery pink that Pinot Grigio had been before. (source)
The coppery pink wines have been macerated on the skins anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks to give them that color and they are known as Ramato or Rosato.
So the Pinot Grigio, the Spumante, and the Frizzante can all be made in a “pink” version. These 3 styles do have to be 85% Pinot Grigio at minimum with the remainder of grapes from an approved list.
And the Spumante & Frizzante thing?
Okay, bubbles my friend. These must be made in tank, so the same method as Prosecco. Spumante means 5-6 bars of atmosphere (that translates to the pressure from the bubbles in the bottle) and 2.5 to 3 bars for Frizzante. Spumante must be made from zero dosage (no additional sugars added) to dry (which would allow for less than 12 grams per liter of sweetness). Frizzante can be made from dry to medium sweet (32-50 grams per liter).
Then we move to Bianco. Here is where we move out of the typical Pinot Grigios. These are white wine blends from the region. Bianco wines from the Delle Venezie must be 50% of the allowed non-aromatic grapes which include Chardonnay, Friulano, Garganega, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Bianco and or Verduzzo. In addition until 2027, there are additional non-aromatic white grapes that may be used.
For all of these wines, there is a minimum alcohol level of 11%.
Tidbit of history…maybe?
Regine shared with us an interesting tidbit on the history of this grape. The history of this wine dates back to 1500 when the first vines arrived in Alsace (where it is known as Pinot Gris) from Hungary. The baron who brought them, after battling the Turks, was sure he had Furmint, the grape that delicious sweet Tokaji wines from Hungary. The grape made its way to Italy in the late 19th century.
At a later tasting with Albino Armani the President of the Consorzio Delle Venezie, he said that he believes Pinot Grigio to be autochthonous (indigenous) to Northern Italy.
Either way, it’s delicious, but it will be interesting to follow the science and learn its genetic heritage.
On to the Wines of the Delle Venezie
The tasting at the 2021 Wine Media Conference included 6 wines tasted in flights of 3. These were divided into a flight of Pinot Grigio that was light straw (the Pinot Grigio style you are most likely used to) and a flight of Ramato/Rosato style Pinot Grigio.
Prophecy 2020 Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio
This wine is a blend of 90% Pinot Grigio and 10% Chardonnay. We had tasted the previous with the 2020 Conference. The 2020 is light with citrus and mineral notes with a nose of blossoms and pineapple. You can find this bottle with its beautiful label for about $10.99
This Prophecy bottle has a beautiful label. Here’s a bit about the label from the winery.
“The Star: represents inspiration as you look forward towards a hopeful future.The Star is positioned with one foot in the water to represent intuition and one foot on the ground to represent practical abilities – two traits needed by our winemakers to craft our wines.
The flowing water: represents nourishment for the earth, and reflects the crisp and refreshing wine style that is a hallmark of Italian Pinot Grigio.
The golden eight-pointed stars: represents strength and speak to the shining fruit notes apple, pear, and citrus in our Pinot Grigio.”
Ecco Domani 2020 Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio
95% Pinot Grigio, 5% Chardonnay. This wine gives stone fruit notes, peach or nectarine, and white flowers. It ages 2 months sur lie (on its dead yeast cells) which adds to the body of this wine.
Ecco Domani translates to “Here’s tomorrow”. They are looking to create a contemporary wine style. This is likely a label you have seen. They are widely distributed.
Kris 2020 Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio
100% Pinot Grigio from Friuli, one of the more Northern parts of the region with silt and clay soils. This wine is fermented in stainless steel. You get minerality on this wine notes of citrus, white flowers, and a bit of almond.
The Kris project began in 1993. The hand on the label “The hand represents the role of the human hand in cultivating the grapes and crafting the wine. The gold orb in each label depicts the role of the Italian sun ripening the grapes to perfection.”
Cantini di Soave, Pinot Grigio DOC Delle Venezie 2020 Poesie Rosato
100% Pinot Grigio from Veneto, this wine saw a brief maceration on the skins before being fermented in Stainless Steel, so you have that light coppery color.
Cantina di Soave has been around since 1898. They pull grapes from a variety of small sites and have a high tech software system that allow them to monitor the soil, weather and other viticultural factors across all of the vineyards. they are dedicated to sustainable growth.
Casa Girelli Pinot Grigio DOC Delle Venezie Rosé 2020 – Canaletto
100% Pinot Grigio from the Northern Veneto, the grapes are pressed with a pneumatic press to give the wine its coppery color. Notes of a variety of citrus with light mineral notes. Regine mentioned getting barely ripe strawberries on this wine.
Casa Girelli was founded in the late 1800s by a family in Verona. The company moved to Trento to establish the current company in 1966. After WWII they increased production and now are sold in over 50 countries.
Botter Pinot Grigio DOC Delle Venezie Rosato 2020 – Bacaro
100% Pinot Grigio from the area around Venice, this wine is left on the skins for 12 hours to get its color. This wine had a fuller body with floral notes.
Botter is a 3rd generation winery founded in 1928 by Carlo Botter and his wife Maria. Today their grandchildren, Luca, Annalisa, and Alessandro lead the company.
Have I piqued your interest in Delle Venezie DOC? I hope so. I just attended a Zoom presentation with Albino Armani who is the President of the Consorzio Delle Venezie. He spoke briefly to the amazing challenge of getting 10,000-12,000 growers to limit their yields and adjust practices to raise the overall quality of Pinot Grigio from this region.
We are looking forward to tasting and pairing a series of Pinot Grigios from Albino Armani from the Delle Venezie and then from DOCs within the region, finding how this grape truly finds its character within the soil, climate, and region that it is in.
More on the wines of Italy!
- Pecorino d’Abruzzo – complexity and variety with one grape
- Pallotte Cac e Ove & Orecchiette with 2 Brilliant Cherry Red Rosatos from Southeast Italy
- Prosecco: Bubbles from Northern Italy’s lush green hills
- Banish me to Mantua with a glass of Lambrusco Mantovano
- Lazio – Exploring low intervention wines inspired by tradition and nature
- Bacon and Butternut Pasta with a Langhe DOC Nebbiolo
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.