Wait. My title may lead you to believe that I’m encouraging you to enjoy Prosecco for New Years’. Well, I am, but it’s 2020, my friends, I say we start “wringing out” this year right now! Prosecco for all of December!
This December we join the Italian Food Wine & Travel group of writers (#ItalianFWT) as they explore sparkling Italian Wines. Our leader on this adventure is Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. You can read her invitation post here.
Scroll to the bottom to see all the posts by my colleagues about the delicious bubbles from Italy that they explored. If you happen to be reading this early enough, you can join us on Twitter on Saturday, December 5th at 8 am Pacific Time to chat about Italian sparkling wines. Just follow and use the hashtag #ItalianFWT to join the conversation.
You might remember that beautiful bottle of sparkling rosé that I had at Thanksgiving? Well, we also received a Prosecco from Val d’Oca and as the Italian Food Wine and Travel Group has decided to swim in Italian bubbles this December, we thought we would pop this beautiful sample from Vigneto Communications and tell you about it.
*This wine was received as a sample. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.*
Let’s start with the basics. This wine is Prosecco. A while ago the grape was also called Prosecco, it is now known (to save us all from confusion) by the name Glera, a synonym for the grape that has always been around. Prosecco is also the name of a town just outside Trieste where this wine is first said to have been made.
The Prosecco DOC region
The Prosecco DOC region lies in the North Eastern part of Italy within the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
It encompasses 9 provinces.
5 in the Veneto:
and 4 in Friuli Venezia Giulia:
Glera the grape of Prosecco
A late-ripening, relatively high-yield white grape variety, it has long large bunches of grapes on its nut-brown vines. It is fairly neutral in flavor but holds acid pretty well, and is perfect for sparkling wine.
If you find a bottle labeled “Prosecco” it will be at least 85% Glera. The remaining 10-15% can be Bianchetta, Chardonnay, Glera Lunga, Perera, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, or Verdiso.
Types of Prosecco
There are 3 overall styles of wine made in the region
- Spumate – sparkling
- Frizzante – semi-sparkling
- Tranquillo – still
Spumante is the style most often made. The other styles are a bit rarer to find.
In addition the Spumante style may be made in 6 different levels of sweetness from driest to sweetest, these are: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-sec.
The Martinotti method of winemaking for Prosecco
You will hear this method called by many names, (the tank method, Charmant, the Italian method) but here we will call it the Martinotti Method. It is named for Federico Martinotti who patented the method in 1895. The method takes the fermented base wine and places it in a large pressurized container, where the additional yeast and sugar are added to do the second fermentation.
So how does this differ from say…Champagne or other sparkling wines made in the Traditional Method? Well, this method takes its flavors from the grape and the wine, whereas doing the second fermentation in the bottle gives you more flavor and aroma notes from the yeast.
The pressure is different also. This method typically has atmospheres of pressure of around 3, which Champagne has 5-6 atmospheres of pressure. So, you would likely lose the bubbles in a glass of Prosecco faster than in a glass of Champagne, but not as quick as your beer would go flat!
Val d’Oca – History and the future
In 1952, following the Second World War, this area was struggling to rebuild itself. 129 farmers came together to create this cooperative the Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene. The organization now includes 600 members.
They look to the future as they hold onto the heritage of the past. With the area now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the group wanted to solidify the actions that this group is taking to preserve & protect this region.
Sustainability at Val d’Oca
On September 5th of 2020 the Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene – Val d’Oca Group presented its first sustainability report. They looked at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out in the UN 2030 Agenda, and reported on those goals that they had taken concrete action on which include:
- Decent work and economic growth
- They have always guaranteed fair prices to the growers, this is a grower’s organization after all. In addition, they have incentives for members for using the best agricultural practices and bonuses for certified organic grapes as well as DOCG Storico wines, which contain local grapes varieties of Perera, Bianchetta, and Verdiso in addition to Glera.
- Zero Hunger
- Devoted to conserving the ecosystems as they adapt to climate change and working to improve the soil quality, they have promoted the SQNPI certification for sustainability. 80 members (in the Asolo DOCG) obtained this certification last year. An additional 300 members in Valdobbiadene became involved in 2020.
- Affordable and clean energy
- The group has two solar plants as well as a geothermal plant underground at Val d’Oca to provide air conditioning. They plan to move onto an energy and water-efficient system for the Cantina that will allow them to re-use “the heat generated by the temperature control plant used for the musts and wines during fermentation.”
- Industry, Innovation, and infrastructure
- They renovated two of their bottling lines with an automated program that allows them to make the system more efficient.
- They also built a new logistics facility in 2018 to keep the winemaking and bottling together saving transport and reducing CO2 emissions.
- Quality Education
- Weather stations have been put up around the region allowing the Cantina to share the data collected with the growers as to when is the best time to do certain tasks in the vineyard. As these records are made available digitally, this will provide a handbook for information specific to each vineyard that can be passed down through the generations.
- Clean Water
- Audits are done to check the quality and quantity of wastewater. They are working on a method to reuse the water used to wash bottles in the production process. They also look to conserve water in the vineyard employing micro-irrigation only in a case of emergency.
- Reduced Inequalities
- They support organizations that assist with rehabilitation for people with disabilities, as well as an organization that researches genetic diseases. Their support includes fundraising through events like “Tiramisu Day” and the “Valdobbiadene Jazz Festival”.
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- They are looking for alternatives to things like plastic and other winemaking materials that cannot be recycled during the bottling phase.
- They find suppliers that offer certified or recyclable materials.
- They look to reuse and recycle all waste materials, including vine canes after pruning, pomace, broken glass, corks, plastic, paper, cardboard as well as tartrates.
- Action against climate change
- Focusing on the ability of their members to deal with the risks of climate and natural disasters.
So we have a winery that is doing more than just making wine. They are preserving and protecting a region and people and looking to make the planet better.
Val d’Oca Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry
This Prosecco is from the province of Treviso. As always with Prosecco it is driven by Glera at 85% it also includes Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay which make up the other 15%.
This is another extremely affordable sparkling wine. At $13.99 you can buy a case! Maybe mix it with the beautiful sparkling rosé we tasted at Thanksgiving!
Or perhaps, make a gift! Share the joy of this wine widely! It’s inexpensive enough!
We enjoyed this with a Roman Orecchiette with chickpeas and spinach. This was another quick, healthy, and delicious meal from Sun Basket. The bubbles and acid in the wine, make it good to pair with a wide range of foods. Try it with a simple cheese platter. You can enjoy it with anything!
More Prosecco to come!
We will be writing more on Prosecco! Watch for more on a Prosecco from Terre di Bacco as well as 3 stunning Prosecco DOCG wines that we just received! Oh and don’t forget the rosé style. This style will soon be labeled as Prosecco Rosé, as it was approved in the DOC this past year!
I mean, it’s 2020 and I intend to enjoy watching this year-end and I’ll do it sipping bubbles!
There is more than just Prosecco that sparkles in Italy, check out the wide variety of sparkling Italian wines that my writing colleagues have dipped into!
- Terri of Our Good Life says Beviamo alla nostra! Prosecco Superiore and Happy Christmas!
- Marcia of Joy of Wine is Celebrating the Season with sparkling Freisa.
- Cindy of Grape Experiences writes about Pure Trentodoc – Sparkling Wines from the Mountains.
- Jill of L’Occasion encourages us to Be in Italy for the Holidays with This Bubbly Wine Lineup.
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator pushes Beyond Prosecco? Try These Sustainable Sparkling Wines from Italy’s Erbaluce, Franciacorta, Lambrusco, Pignoletto.
- Lynn of Savor the Harvest gives us Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco to Make Your Holiday Sparkle – La Tordera Rive Di Guia.
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm says Cheers to 2021…2020 Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out.
- Susannah of Avvinare pours Versatile Lambrusco for the Holidays.
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen serves Val D’Oca Prosecco Paired with Party Starters.
- Payal of Keep the Peas offers A ‘SeeYaNever2020’ Toast with Italian Bubbly.
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass says Hello Again, Lambrusco – Everyone Deserves a Second Chance.
- Jane of Always Ravenous pairs a Frizzante with Holiday Sweet Treats.
- Jen of Vino Travels is ready to Sparkle up the Holidays with Prosecco Superiore.
- Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog offers A Taste of 21st Century Lambrusco; Paltrinieri Lambrusco di Sorbara Radice.
- Nicole of Somm’s Table shares The Wide World of Italian Sparkling Wines.
- Katarina of Grapevine Adventures posts A Year in Need of Sparkling Wine Surprises.
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is Celebrating with Prosecco Superiore Amidst the Pandemic.
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.