Shaking it up: 2 bottlings of Prosecco Colfòndo

The following tasting notes were posted today by VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani on his blog devoted to Italian sparkling wine, Le Mille Bolle. The wines were tasted in November 2010.

The first wine proudly reported “Asolo DOCG” on its label, a designation that we often forget to mention we talk about Prosecco DOCG and we lazily limit ourselves to Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. It’s produced by a winery called Bele Casel, which also makes “canonical” Prosecco. But Luca Ferraro, a young wine blogger who’s not afraid of controversial wine blogging, has been bringing a new and youthful energy to his family’s winery. It was Luca who organized the first official and much blogged-about tasting of Prosecco Colfòndo producers, wineries that make traditional- and ancestral-style lees-aged, bottle-fermented Prosecco, in November 2010.

This wine was made from a selection of old vineyards in the township of Maser (just east of Asolo), not far from the winery’s facilities in Caerano San Marco in the province of Treviso. The same growing sites provide the fruit for the company’s vintage-dated Prosecco. The quality of the grapes is what gives the wine its structure and intense flavor, according to the winemaker, who uses cultured (as opposed to native) yeasts for this wine (a fact that may trouble purist lovers of Prosecco).

The was served to me by Luca only after he vigorously shook the bottle. While the other producers stored their bottles upright and still before removing the crown cap, Luca served his cloudy because “the yeasts are part of the wine” and their presence and active nature is a key element in the tasting experience. Every bottle, he said, will tend to be slightly different.

There’s not much to say about the visual impact of the wine: the colfondisti, as they call themselves, like their wines cloudy! The nose was dense, warm, and ripe, with intriguing citrus and orange flower notes, with the expected hints of bread crust and yeast. As the wine evolved in the glass, apricot and peach began to emerge in a variegated medley of aromas that did not fail to impress. In the mouth, the wine was smooth and bight, full-bodied, rich, warm, seductive, with a surprisingly “fat” texture, true substance, insistent and flavorful on the palate.

The next wine was produced at the San Rocco winery by Riccardo Zanotto, founder of Selezione Zanotto, a small retailer of artisanal wines, charcuterie, and cheeses. When he’s not aging salamis, Riccardo makes wines from 100% Glera (Prosecco) grown in hills with glacial moraine and calcareous subsoils.

No addition of yeast here. This wine was much “clearer” than the previous one tasted, with straw-yellow and greenish tones, lively and bright. The nose was entirely different: incisive, nervy, fresh, with taut elegance and delightful notes of grapefruit and citrus that dominated a certain floral quality.

The wine’s stony backbone and energy commanded the taster’s attention, as did its depth, a fantastic snapshot of the appellation and style (bottled at the end of March in the same year). The clean flavors of this wine are a testament to the meticulous attention to detail and the vision of a winemaker ever mindful of the wine’s drinkability.

VinoWire editors Franco Ziliani and Jeremy Parzen will be attending a second gathering of Colfòndo producers later this month. Stay tuned.

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