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Sparkling Wines Of Col Vetoraz

About 26 miles north of the Treviso airport in the Veneto region of Italy are the small and picturesque towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. These towns are the home of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG and Prosecco Superiore DOCG where some of the finest Prosecco is made from the Glera grape variety. 

Conegliano Valdobbiadene has ancient origins of vine growing dating back to the Roman Empire, but the first written documentation of connecting Prosecco to this area is 1772. The DOC was established here in 1969 and the historic production of Prosecco has been limited to 15 communes. In 2009, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG certification was issued. In 2019 the Prosecco hills of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is a countryside filled with hills and rolling slopes rising up from the Piave River. From early origins, a glacier slid down from the Dolomites and came to rest in a valley that eventually became the riverbed of the Piave. The river begins in the Alps and flows into the Adriatic Sea. The local soil is attributed to this glacier and can vary depending upon the slope of the hill. Some areas contain rock, sand, clay and iron oxides. In areas unaffected by the glacier, the soils contain marls and sandstone and are less deep and more porous. Because Conegliano Valdobbiadene is situated between the sea and Pre-alps, the area experiences a mild climate with constant breezes. Vineyards have great sun exposure and benefit from the altitude and broad differences between day and night temperatures. The slopes, micro-climate, sun exposure and various soils make this an ideal setting for growing Glera grapes and producing sparkling wine.

Between the hills of Valdobbiadene are the vineyards of Valdobbiadene DOCG and Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG. Also situated among these hills is Col Vetoraz, a winery with a family history that goes back 182 years. 

Photo courtesy of Col Vetoraz

In 1838 the ancestors of Francesco Miotto settled on Col Vetoraz located on the highest peak of the Cartizze Hills of Valdobbiadene and began growing vines. During WW1 the vineyards were damaged from bombing and so the Miotto family began the repair and growing of the vines again. In 1980, at the age of 29, Francesco Miotto took over the company when his father died.

He started producing sparkling wines using the traditional natural fermentation “Col Fondo” ('with the bottom' in Italian) method where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. But unlike Metodo Classico (Champagne/traditional method) there is no disgorgement or filtration so the sediment/lees remain in the bottle. However, most of Col Vetoraz wines are produced using the Charmat method (second fermentation takes place in steel pressure tanks).
In 1993, Francesco joined forces with Paolo De Bortoli  (agronomist) and Loris Dall’Acqua (winemaker) and founded Col Vetoraz Spumanti. They only produce Valdobbiadene DOCG and Cartizze DOCG wines which they consider unique expressions of their roots.

Photo courtesy of Col Vetoraz

The philosophy that guides Col Vetoraz is “We follow a method that preserves the expressive integrity of the fruit; this is the only way to obtain the natural balance and harmony that the vine has given us”. This philosophy and respect for “the raw material and the highest quality” is expressed in the elegance of their sparkling wines.

Col Vetoraz wines are not treated in any way, not even with fining agents. “This safeguards the integrity of the aromas and structure of the original fruit, developing a natural roundness and creamy, full-bodied creamy effervescent mouthfeel.”

I noticed that none of the samples I received had the word “Prosecco” on it. Col Vetoraz provided me with an answer. “Col Vetoraz has such a deep bond with the territory that it rebelled against a choice made in 2009 when “Prosecco” became an appellation extended to nine provinces between Veneto and Friuli. The simple distinction between "Prosecco" (the wine produced in those territories created in 2009) and "Prosecco Superiore" (the wine produced on the historical hills of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano) has ceased to convey the age-old history and winemaking vocation of the hills of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. For this reason, we believe it is fundamental to begin a new, different type of communication, in which the wine’s territorial identity is extremely clear and unmistakable. Beginning with the 2017 vintage, Col Vetoraz has decided to remove the word “Prosecco” from all of its labels and all  communications media, using just the denomination "Valdobbiadene DOCG" - our wines’ true and unique territorial identity.”

All of the following wines are made with 100% Glera grapes, using the Charmat method. Due to the steeply sloping hills, all work and harvesting are done by hand.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Valdobbiadene DOCG Brut 2019
A dry and savory wine with aromas of floral, pear, apple and peach. Palate offers rose petals, apple and white stone fruit with fine and creamy bubbles.
Alcohol: 11.5%
SRP:  $20-$22

Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry 2019
This is a lovely dry wine with fruit and floral aromas. The palate offers delicate notes of peach, pear and apple with a creamy mouthfeel and a dash of citrus.
Alcohol: 11.5%
SRP:  $20-$22

Valdobbiadene DOCG Millesimato Dry 2019
Delicate aromas of floral, citrus, pear and apple segue onto the palate with notes of apricot and white stone fruit.  Fine and persistent bubbles are nicely balanced with subtle sweetness and a fresh mouthfeel.
Alcohol:  11.5%
SRP:  $28-$30

Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Brut Cuvée 5 2019
This wine is a lovely blend of grapes selected from five vineyards. Although it is very dry, the wine still expresses a fresh and fruity palate. Aromas of pear, apple and citrus notes spill onto the palate with fine bubbles and creamy mouthfeel.
Alcohol:  11.5%
SRP:  $28-$30

Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry Cuvée 13 2019
This is a blend of grapes selected from 13 vineyards. A subtle bouquet of floral, citrus and white stone fruit opens to a dry but pleasing palate of floral, pear, peach and citrus. It has a creamy and persistent perlage with a lengthy finish. This wine is fresh and vibrant.
Alcohol:  11.5%
SRP:  $28-$30

Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG 2019
The grapes for this wine are sourced from the steepest hills of Col Vetoraz and Mont in the well-known Superiore di Cartizze DOCG area. Succulent aromas of white flowers, fresh fruit, citrus and apples open to an elegant palate of pear, sweet apples, peach and a trace of citrus on the finish. A delicate acidity blends beautifully with a velvety mouthfeel and fine perlage.
Alcohol: 11.5%
SRP:  $45

All of these wines can be enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with light fare such as shellfish, grilled fish and appetizers. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

As of now, only the following wines are available in the United States:

Valdobbiadene DOCG Brut
Valdobbiadene DOCG Millesimato
Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG

It was a treat to taste these wines and be momentarily transported back to a magical trip that I took to Conegliano Valdobbiadene two summers ago.

Until next time...



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