I was already thinking bubbles two months ago at Vini Dei Vignaioli, Italy’s oldest natural wine fair. And now that it’s almost time to ring in the New Year, here are some old favorites and new sparklers that I found there. (To learn more: “Where do the Bubbles Come From?”)
Case Coste Piano
Prosecco Frizzante “Sur Lie” Valdobbiadene DOCG
Loris Follador and his wife, Sandra, have always made Prosecco “Sur Lie” or “Col Fondo”, the traditional way of making sparkling wine with the native Prosecco grape variety in the heart of Valdobbiadene. In the 70s, when industrial methods and fermenting Prosecco in large covered vats came into vogue, the Folladors stayed the course. Now lots of winegrowers are going back to the traditional way of creating the bubbles in the bottle. (Previous post)
The Case Coste Piane vineyards are in various places at different altitudes. Most are old and planted on very steep slopes in limestone soil. The grapes are harvested, pressed and then, ferment with native yeasts until the wine is completely dry. A small amount of must is added at bottling to initiate the second fermentation, which happens in the bottle (as with champagne). In this case, however, the spent yeasts stay in the bottle, leaving the wine slightly cloudy. The wine is light (11% alcohol) and crisp with lots of delicate aromas and flavors. The yeast is a natural anti-bacterial agent meaning no need for any sulfites. It is both a perfect aperitivo wine and a wine to drink throughout the meal.
Costadilà Bianco Frizzante Dei Colli Trevigiani IGT
Cattel began a “model” farm in Tarzo, in the hills north of the classic Prosecco areas of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene as a part-time project in 2006, but he is now full time. He makes traditional “Col Fondo” prosecco in the context of a working farm with livestock and other crops. The wines are labeled according to the vineyard altitude in meters where the grapes are grown. There was quite a difference between 280 and 450 (newer vines at higher altitude for more acidity).
As with Follador, the wines are organic and made without sulfites. Fabulous for aperitivo or with a meal.
Porta Del Vento
Voria (Bianco, Rosato, Rosso) Terre Siciliane IGT
In the windy hills above Palermo in Sicily, Marco Sferlazzo has been making a lovely sparkling wine from native Cattarato grapes, Mira, with the metodo classico for a number of years (read more) but now has three new entries. His Voria wines are “Col Fondo”
The white is made with Cattarato and the rosé and the red with Perricone. “I’m the only Sicilian making ‘col fondo’ wines,” Marco told me chuckling. The wines were all fun and fascinating, a perfect example of why drinking natural wine is more interesting. The winegrowers never get tired of pushing the envelope and seeing what will happen when they apply old knowledge to their creative experiments. Voria is not yet widely available, but I hope it will be soon.
Bera Mosato D’Asti DOCG
Alexandra Bera was one of the four original Italian winegrowers, who helped Christine Marzana found the Vini Dei Vignaioli Wine Fair. Her family has made organic Moscato D’Asti sparkling wine for centuries with natural methods. (Read more)
Unlike industrial versions of Moscato D’Asti, Bera leaves you wanting another glass. It is a sweet dessert wine but not sticky sweet, more like the sweetness of a crisp apple than that of an apple pie. Its elegance brings me thoughts of men in tuxedos swirling ladies in gowns and white gloves around the dance floor.
Happy New Year!!!