The most credited theory on the origin of Prosecco identifies this vine with a wine known at the time of the Roman Empire, and cited by Pliny, the Pucino, probably coming from the Friuli-Trieste hills. This theory is supported by the existence, in the Trieste area, of a town called PROSECCO and the presence of a local vine called "Glera", very similar to Prosecco, which would have arrived in the Trevigiano. At the beginning of the 1900s, there were several vines very similar to Prosecco and widespread in the upper province of Treviso, but over time they were abandoned in favor of the round Prosecco; in the last twenty years, a great work of clonal selection has been carried out aimed at safeguarding the rusticity and vigor of the vine that must adapt, from time to time, to different gastronomic, cultural, health and oenological needs.
A great success of this wine is given by the will and ability with which the Treviso minister Luca Zaia has ensured that the production of Prosecco DOC is limited to an area that extends from Treviso to the borders of Slovenia, which also includes the most exclusive Cru DOCG, the Conegliano Valdobbiadene, the area that surrounds the town of Follina.
The different types:
The Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC is born from precise rules that guarantee its uniqueness and authenticity and from a tradition that, while adapting to the changes that have occurred, has preserved a precise and unmistakable identity over time. Quiet, Frizzante or Spumante, the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG is recognized for its light straw color, for its moderate body, for its exclusive fruity and floral aroma.
Here's a brief description of the characteristics of the different types of wine produced.
Prosecco Spumante fully expresses its agile and energetic character and is mainly produced in two versions, Extra Dry and Brut. In the former, the second fermentation stops when there is still a small percentage of sugars (12-20 gr/l) left, in the latter it is carried almost to the end (maximum 15 gr/l) so that the Spumante becomes drier and drier.
This is the "classic" Prosecco, the version that combines varietal aromaticity with the flavor enhanced by the bubbles. The color is bright straw, enlivened by the perlage. The aromaticity is fresh and rich in fruit aromas, apple, pear, with a hint of citrus that fades into the floral. In the mouth the wine is soft and dry at the same time thanks to a well-present acidity. Excellent as an aperitif, it is ideal served at 8-10° C, on legume and seafood soups, pasta with delicate meat sauces, fresh cheeses and white meats especially poultry.
This is the most modern Prosecco and it has a great international success. It is characterized by richer aromas of citrus fruits and vegetal notes, which are accompanied by a pleasant hint of bread crust, combined with a nice and lively taste energy. The fine perlage ensures the persistence of the flavor and the cleanliness of the palate, making it the quintessential sparkling wine at the table.
To be appreciated served at 7-9° C on fish and vegetable appetizers, even elaborate ones, first courses with seafood and baked fish dishes or, as is customary in the production area, throughout the meal.
Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze
104 hectares of excellence alone, the heart of Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze or briefly Cartizze is produced in the Cartizze area, a small area of 107 hectares of vineyard, included between the steepest hills of S. Pietro di Barbozza, Santo Stefano and Saccol, in the municipality of Valdobbiadene. A real cru that is born from the perfect combination of a sweet microclimate and an ancient soil, originated from the uplift of sea bottoms. Above the mother rock there is a layer of very varied soil, with moraines, sandstones and clays that allow a quick drainage of the rains and, at the same time a constant water reserve, so that the vines develop in a balanced way.
The name of the location, which we find reported on the cadastral maps, is traced back, by some, to a Spanish mercenary knight, who in the Middle Ages after a long period of battles, settled in these hills. A more accredited hypothesis seems to be, however, the one that derives the name from gardiz, gardizze, a dialectal expression to indicate the graticci used for the drying of the grapes. In the Cartizze area, in fact, the grapes are harvested late, when the berries start to show the first signs of natural withering. This gives the wine a concentration of aromas and flavors of unusual intensity. In Cartizze, located in the heart of Valdobbiadene, in October the Glera grape reaches full ripening, this guarantees a higher concentration of aromas and flavors and the possibility of giving the sparkling wine a sweeter and denser taste without affecting its freshness.
The base wine is obtained by careful fermentation in white, until almost total exhaustion of the original natural sugar (a trace of sugars helps to preserve the fruitiness); after the wine is left to withstand the winter cold that strips it of tartrates and causes its clarification. It is a perfect seal to the beautiful moments of life. Already the color refers to a greater intensity, which manifests itself with a complexity of inviting and broad scents, from apple to pear, from apricot to citrus, to rose, with a pleasant note of candied almonds in the aftertaste. Produced almost exclusively in the Dry version (residual sugar 17-35 g/l), this sparkling wine goes with traditional desserts, from shortbread to fruit tarts and focaccia. Excellent not only at the end of every important lunch, but for every congratulatory toast, to make every ceremony more festive.
Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene Frizzante
It is the easiest and most immediate Prosecco: born to meet young people and to approach the less experienced consumer. In the bottle re-fermentation version (Sur lie) it is the authentic ambassador of the winemaker's tradition, an essential, dry, digestible and light wine.
But how is a wine with these characteristics produced, what is its secret? Prosecco Sur Lie. Ancient wine, produced by our grandparents more than by our fathers, when there was no technological aid. It is obtained with a bottle spumantization, like Champagne, but without, unlike this, the disgorgement with the consequent separation from the yeasts and addition of sugars. The final result is a wine with its own sediment and absolutely dry. In some rare cases there is no use of selected yeasts. The grapes, produced with low yields, are harvested very ripe and have a good sugar content that during the first fermentation often is not completely turned into alcohol. This allows during the second fermentation, in the following spring, to use these residual sugars of the grape without having to add others. If this does not happen, spumante base is added to the must obtained from dried Prosecco grape. In conclusion, the aim is to obtain a truly genuine wine with the ripest and richest possible grapes whose acidity derives from the calcareous nature of the soil and not from early harvests. In the most widespread fermentation, in autoclave, Prosecco frizzante harmonizes the fragrance of the varietal aromas of the grape with the delicate prickling of carbon dioxide, in a union that gives great freshness. The color is the characteristic straw yellow, on the nose the aroma is rich in floral and fruity scents with a predominance of unripe apple and lemon. Perfect served at 8-10° C, as an aperitif.
Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene Tranquillo
This is the lesser known version outside the production area. It is obtained from the densest and least productive vineyards and from well ripened grapes. Vinification involves brief cold maceration on the grape skins to enrich the wine in aroma and structure. The colour is a delicate straw yellow, the aromas are reminiscent of apple, pear, almond and thousand-flower honey. The structure is suave and persistent, with a sometimes pleasantly bitter aftertaste that makes it more articulate and complex. Although it is not a wine for ageing, it can be appreciated up to its second year of life. It should be drunk at 10-12° C on delicate seafood and land hors d'oeuvres, and in combination with the marinated morsels of Veneto tradition.