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For more than three centuries, the territory of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore has hand-formed the history and future of Italy’s most renowned sparkling wine; however, people have been growing grapes there since 1220.
Even the most devoted wine lover may not realize that Prosecco is not a generic term for sparkling Italian wine, nor is it the name of a grape, like Merlot or Chardonnay.
Most importantly, not all Prosecco is created equally. Prosecco can come from three areas in Northeastern Italy, but only Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG wines are from Prosecco’s original growing area. The name “Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG” on the bottle signifies top quality and highest standards in the vineyard and winery, as well as concentrated flavour and balance.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene is produced using at least 85% Glera grapes with up to 15% comprising local varieties as Verdiso, Bianchetta, Perera and Glera Lungaor Pinot and Chardonnay grapes. Wines are constantly audited by an independent certifying agency, which guarantees origin and quality.
Versatile and elegant wine
Prosecco is a versatile wine produced in fully sparkling (Spumante or Prosecco Superiore), lightly sparkling (Prosecco Frizzante) and still (Prosecco Tranquillo) styles.
The sparkling style represents the very best expression of this wine, and it can be found with different levels of sweetness, from the driest (Extra Brut) to the sweetest (Dry). Since 2019, a new category of Prosecco Superiore has also been added: the ‘Sui Lieviti’ version, or “on the lees”, a cloudy sparkling wine strictly Brut Nature and re-fermented in the bottle.
The semi-sparkling version is appealing and very easy to drink. The category includes a re-fermented in bottle wine that is considered an authentic ambassador of the local winemaking traditions in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area. Served at 8°C, it is ideal as an aperitif.
The least known version of Prosecco is a niche product coming from the most densely planted, low-yield areas. Grapes are picked extra ripe, and the wine is served at 8-10°C.
In the region’s long history, winemakers and the landscape have modelled each other to create something magnificent—the growers have cultivated the hillsides in accordance with their natural contours, embroidering the often-precipitous slopes with vines, while the steepness of the hills has imposed a “heroic” type of viticulture on the farming families.
For every hectare of vineyard in the hills, about 600 hours of manual work is necessary each year, as opposed to an average of 150 on the plain. This has meant that most of the properties are small and often family-run. There are, in fact, more than 3,000 growers looking after the vines of Conegliano Valdobbiadene.
After a ten-year long nomination process, in 2019 Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene were awarded UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site due to the area’s unique and ancient cultivation and landscape.
The hills are a cultural landscape of unique worth and an expression of traditional and hand-picked harvest. This UNESCO World Heritage designation is a precious milestone for the people of Veneto, who have been producing handcrafted wine in Conegliano Valdobbiadene and growing grapes since 1220, and it is an invitation for people all over the world to experience this historical Italian wine region.
Quality and sustainability
Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG wines are produced according to a set of rules that regulate the cultivation of the grapes, their fermentation and the subsequent natural “prise de mousse” or “capturing the sparkle”.
The sparkling wines are produced using the Martinotti Method, perfected over the years thanks to the work of Professor De Rosa. This method calls for re-fermentation in pressurized tanks (autoclaves) and highlights the wines’ primary and secondary fragrances and their fruity and floral aromas, while preserving all of their elegance, liveliness and freshness.
Since 2011, the Consortium of vine-growers has followed a Viticultural Protocol with the goal of guiding, guaranteeing and educating about the process of change in the use of plant health products toward sustainable growth of a social, economic and environmental nature. Its goal is to minimize the environmental impact of agrochemicals by ensuring vine-growers are aware or and sensitive to these themes.
To ensure the ultimate in quality and sense of place, look for DOCG. To be assured that you have the very best, from the place that is so special it earned UNESCO World Heritage accreditation, look for Conegliano Valdobbiadene.
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