Primavera del Prosecco (Prosecco spring) is a wine tourism festival. The protagonist is indeed the Prosecco Superiore Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG. The festival includes a series of events, scattered in the production area, taking place in spring (from March to June). It’s the perfect occasion to explore rolling hills, charming villages, vineyards, wineries and trattorie. You can find all the info here: www.primaveradelprosecco.it. I joined a press tour to learn more about Prosecco Superiore Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG. So this post is the result of a collaboration.
Difference between Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Prosecco DOC
I had the chance to learn the difference between Prosecco Superiore Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG and Prosecco DOC. The production area of the first one includes only 15 municipalities (Valdobbiadene, Conegliano, Susegana, San Vendemiano, Colle Umberto, Vittorio Veneto, Tarzo, Cison di Valmarino, Follina, Miane, San Pietro di Feletto, Refrontolo, Pieve di Soligo, Farra di Soligo, Vidor) and many historic vineyards. While the production area of Prosecco DOC is much wider. Hence, the two products are completely different. Here below you can clearly see the difference. The yellow area is the one of the DOCG.
The Prosecco Superiore Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG area is ideal for growing grapes. The hills are exposed to the sun all year round, with the perfect amount of rain, a constant ventilation that dries the grapes and an altitude that guarantees the thermal excursion that allows to aromas development. But it’s hard work, the harvest here is called Heroic Harvest. In fact, the hills height is between 100 and 500 meters (with 45° slopes). It requires 600 hours of manual work per hectare (in the plain, 150 hours per hectare are sufficient).
Visit to La Tordera Winery
Our first stop was at La Tordera, a beautiful winery near Vidor. The great-grandfather of the owners planted the first vines in 1918 on a hill named La Tordera. They have 65 hectares of land, in a area of 20 km from the winery and produce 1 million bottles per year. Consider that the big wineries (those you can basically find at the supermarket) have a production of 20 million bottles. La Tordera offers visits to the winery and to the vineyards, tastings and bike tours.
A plus is that La Tordera is also energy self-sufficient and eco-sustainable, thanks to photovoltaic panels for heating and water, wooden structure of the walls, underground pipes, system of water recovery, wood boiler (yes, every morning an employee comes earlier than his colleagues to put it into operation) to power the bottling machinery. About that, the bottling is a delicate phase: the temperature must be strictly controlled, corks, labels and wirehoods must be perfectly placed (by the way, the corks are manually inserted).
The vinification follows the Charmant method, i.e. in autoclave or steel containers. The fermentation in bottles or wooden barrels would compromise the characteristics of this specific wine. As soon as the grapes arrive from the harvest, they must be taken care of, to avoid unwanted fermentation. The grapes are therefore transformed into must. Then the must is used to obtain the wine basis (14 days process). Attention: all the grapes and subsequently the basis are kept separated because each of them has its own peculiarities. Finally, the basis are poured into different autoclaves. There, the winemakers add a solution (to each its own) of sugar and yeasts in order to obtain the prosecco. This phase takes from 1 to 4 months. Hygiene and temperature are very important in order for every part of the process to take place regularly.
Classifications of Prosecco DOCG
The classification Brut, Extra Dry and Dry refers to the different level of residual sugar. At La Tordera we also tasted an extra brut.
The term Rive indicates that the wine is obtained from the slopes of a specific and restricted area (terroir). There are about 40 Rive in total.
While the term Cartizze indicates the finest of them all, obtained from a unique, tiny zone (only 107 hectares), between San Pietro di Barbozza, Santo Stefano and Saccol (within Valdobbiadene). This specific area has the perfect combination of soil and microclimate which grants to the wine the best characteristics.
We tasted 4 different wines: A3 (A from Asolo and 3 is the % of residual sugar, extra brut), Otreval Rive di Guia (brut with zero sugars), Tittoni Rive di Vidor (dry) and Superiore di Cartizze (dry). You know I don’t drink much, but I must admit I loved them all.
Primavera del Prosecco exhibits
Before lunch we stopped at one of the 16 Mostre (exhibits) of the festival. They’re called exhibits but they are basically places where you can taste (and buy) the prosecco from different local producers, accompanied with local dishes. Here below the list of the exhibits to come:
Lunch at Agriturismo Al Col
We stopped for lunch at Al Col, one of the first agriturismi of the Treviso area. We ate where once there was the stable of the family. Now they have a small vineyard, but they also produce salami and other local cured meats.
They have pigs, hens, ducks and other farm animals and accommodations. The trattoria is only open to the public on Saturday at lunchtime. On the other days only the guests of the agriturismo can eat there. They sell their own wine directly in the winery. Sadly, the day before our tour, hail hit hard the area and destroyed all the sprouts. The owner told us that it is better now that later. The sprouts can easily regrow. If it hits the ripe grape it’s a different story. Anyways, I can totally recommend a stop for lunch, especially for the spiedo (meaning skewer), i.e. the grilled meat (chicken, rabbit and pork). It was scrumptious!
Then we stopped in Follina, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, where we visited the Abbey. The first document about it dates back to 1127. In the era of its highest splendor the main activity was the the production of wool (behind the Abbey there’s still a quilts and duvets factory/shop). The best part is the suggestive cloister.
A special little shop in Combai
Last stop in Combai, yes, the village of the chestnut festival. There, just on top of the stairs to reach the village from the parking lot, you’ll see a new shop: Cooperativa Alta Marca. A cooperative formed by a group of inhabitants of Combai has taken over the shares of the old dairy of Miane (close village) to allow the historic activity to continue to live. Here at the grocery/deli shop you can find their products plus many products of local farms and factories: wines, beers, jams, honey, preserves, sauces, cold cuts, etc. Plus the decor is very nice, with natural inserts and ancient objects like a sewing machine, copper pots or a milking stool.
While I was in the car, along those roads up and down the hills, I was thinking: I have to remember this sensation, I have to write and tell all my readers how beautiful this area is, that you feel almost overwhelmed by the spectacular landscape. I was so happy to join this particular tour. I learned many new things, met old and new friends and had a chance to visit once more that amazing area of my region. So thanks to Zeta Group Video and to Primavera del Prosecco for inviting me!
And, if you get the chance, go visit the area of Prosecco Superiore DOCG! 😉