VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO: TRADITION AND INNOVATION
   

Conegliano-Valdobbiadene is immediately recognizable thanks to its lively elegance, its pale straw colour, its restrained body and its distinctive fruity and floral nose. It is produced in the hills of the 15 communes lying between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Of special worth among these are the crus, i.e. the famous Superiore di Cartizze and the Rive, made from grapes that come exclusively from a single Commune or hamlet/village therein. Conegliano Valdobbiadene D.O.C.G. is produced in Sparkling, Semi-Sparkling and still versions. The sparkling version is the iconic one for the denomination; appealing and versatile, it has created its own distinctive style of drink. The Sparkling Wine (“Spumante”) is produced in Brut, Extra Dry and Dry versions, depending on the residual sugar contained in the wine: “Brut” is the driest style, “Extra Dry” the classical, “Dry” the sweetest.

 
   

 

   

THE CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE METHOD

A fundamental role was played by Italy’s first School of Oenology, where the Conegliano Valdobbiadene procedure for making sparkling wines, a modified version of the Italian Method, was perfected by Antonio Carpenè. These are its distinctive characteristics. After the harvest the grapes, picked by hand in the various vineyards, are taken to the winery in order to begin the production process.

The first stage is pressing, carried out using sophisticated machinery that acts on the grapes in a gentle manner, thus extracting only the free-run juice, which comes from the heart of each berry. From 100 kilograms of grapes one can obtain a maximum of 70 litres of wine. This is followed by settling, in which the cloudy must is chilled to 5°-10° C and kept in stainless steel tanks for 10-12 hours. At the end of this operation, vinification of the clear part of the must begins thanks to natural yeasts which, added to the must, start off the alcoholic fermentation. This lasts for 15–20 days in stainless steel at a constant temperature of 18°-20° C. At the end of vinification one obtains the base wine.

The prise de mousse takes place when the base wine has become clear. The various parcels of wine that are available in the winery are – after careful tasting – blended together: these wines, which up until this moment have been kept separate according to their origin, date of harvest and organoleptic properties, are mixed together in very precise proportions. The wine is made sparkling using the Italian Method, by introducing it into large pressurized tanks together with sugar and yeasts. This technique allows one to preserve the grapes’ varietal aromas, giving a fruity and floral wine. In this method, during re-fermentation the yeasts feed on the sugar to produce CO₂, or in other words the silky bubbles that are characteristic of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. The Italian Method calls for re-fermentation in pressurized tanks for at least 30 days, while the Classic Method takes place in bottle and lasts many months, or even years. Both, however, are based on the same principle, that is to say the transformation of sugar in carbon dioxide, thanks to the action of yeasts.

Once the wine is sparkling, bottling takes place and, after 30-40 days, the wine is ready to be released onto the market.

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