Friday, December 4, 2020

Sparkle up the Holidays with Prosecco Superiore

As we start to round out this challenging year I think we all need a little bubbly to raise our spirits.  Our Italian Food, Wine and Travel group (#ItalianFWT) is featuring sparkling wines from all over Italy.  My focus is on the wines of the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano Superiore DOCG.  I recently attended a tasting hosted by the Consorzio and IEEM and led by Anthony Giglio where we did a deep dive into the many facets of why prosecco isn’t just prosecco.

Prosecco is produced in the Veneto region in NorthEast Italy.  There are a number of different designations that produce Prosecco into the Prosecco, DOC, Prosecco DOC Treviso and Asolo Prosecco DOCG, but then there are those from the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene that run east to west across this area that make up some of the other Prosecco designations that we’re highlighting today.  Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG was granted DOCG status in 2009.  It encompasses 15 different communes. 

Pyramid of Prosecco designations
Copyright of Consorzio Tutela di Prosecco Superiore

The Prosecco Superiore Consortium is comprised of 182 sparkling wine producers from over 3,000 local families and growers.  In 2019 the area experienced a record year with double digit growth producing over 92 million bottles with 39 million bottles sold to foreign markets with the US ranking 4th.   

Production area of Congeliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco
Production area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG copyright of Consorzio di Tutela Prosecco Superiore
The area has ideal conditions for producing quality wines as it is situated between the Dolomites to the north and the sea to the south.  The climate there is rather mild with substantial rainfall favored by the glera grape that is what is primarily, if not solely, used to produce Prosecco.  Due to the steep, south facing slopes the vineyards have good drainage combined with breezes for drying the grapes.  The steepness of the vineyards makes taking care of and harvesting the grapes quite the challenge.  Per the Consortium, it takes about 600 laborious hours for every hectacre (about 2.5 acres) to tend to the grapes in a year versus only 150 hours on the plains.  Due to it’s unique landscape the Prosecco hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene were claimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019. 
vineyards of Conegliano Valdobbiadene
Photo taken by Arcangelo Piai

Harvest in Conegliano Valdobbiadene
Harvest photo taken by Arcangelo Piai

The Wines

Prosecco Superiore wines from the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene are required to have at least 85% of the glera grape with a maximum of up to 15% other grapes like glera lunga, bianchetta, verdiso, perera, pinot and chardonnay.  It is suggested by the consortium that these wines are at their best a year after the harvest.

2019 La Farra Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Farra di Soligo Millesimato Extra Dry DOCG

Rive translates to those on steep sites and only pertains to sparkling wines that are handpicked from single vineyards.  These grapes are grown from the Rive dei Nardi in the hills of Farra di Soligo.  Extra Dry Prosecco is required to be at 12-17 g/l with this wine coming in at 17 g/l.  Made of 100% glera this wine is brilliant straw colored.  Even though this wine had a higher amount of sugar I didn’t notice as much sweetness as it still presented rather dry with notes of apples and pears.  ABV 11.5% SRP $17

2019 La Farra Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Farra di Soligo Millesimato Extra Dry DOCG
Perlage Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Canah Organic Brut NV DOCG

Grown in the hills of Soligo this wine was a pale straw color.  Persistent bubbles and flavors of tart green apple lingering on the finish, tingly with some sapidity. ABV 11.5% SRP $20 
Perlage Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Canah Organic Brut NV DOCG
2019 Bellenda Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore San Fermo Brut DOCG

Named after the local church, San Fermo, in close proximity to the vineyards where the grapes are grown.  This wine spends 1-3 months on the lees lending some richer qualities to the wines compared to the other two.  Fresh and crisp with apples and pears and notes of honey.  My favorite of the 3!  ABV 11.6% SRP $22 
2019 Bellenda Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore San Fermo Brut DOCG
Join my fellow sparkling wine lovers as they share more wines from around Italy.  Catch us live on Twitter this Saturday at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT.

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.  Importers: La Farra (Vino Vero, Lyra LLC, J. Strecker Selections), Perlage (Triton Collection, Chartrand Imports), Bellenda (Specialty Cellars)


  1. Bellenda is one of my favourites! I love that you featured various glassware too...we don't just have to use flutes.

  2. A nice trio Jennifer! You mention the sweetness in the La Farra, I concur. The acidity is so fresh, a comment I often hear about these wines which is right on. Happy holidays to you and your family!

  3. I had it in my head that the Rive wines were much more expensive! I can't wait to explore them further! Thanks for a great piece!

  4. I've tasted that Bellenda - delish! Eager to get my hands on a Rive Prosecco sometime soon.