TERROIRmapThis last October I was fortunate enough to visit the Prosecco producing region of Conegliano Valdobbiadene for their annual Prosecco Festival in the ancient town of Conegliano.  The term ancient town could apply to any town in Italy, but there are parts of the town that are prehistoric with archaeological proof of human inhabitants as early as 4000 BC.  This being said it has been our commitment to you to visit every region and winery we offer on the website to personally guarantee the quality of the wine we collectively enjoy.  The Festival was the best opportunity to evaluate over 300 individual Proseccos…..a daunting but fantastic three days.

IMG 2119Proseccos are enjoying a major surge in popularity here in the states, as well as continued popularity throughout Europe.  My favorite summer wine refreshment especially at lunch is a combination of Prosecco and Campari—many prefer Aperol instead, but both go well with a slice of orange.  As many of you know this is called a spritz in Italy.  Prosecco, like champagne has become a year round favorite.

IMG 2088Conegliano and Valdobbiadene are actually two towns that anchor different ends of the “Prosecco Highway” a 26KM narrow grape growing region that is the only Terroir officially designated(not unlike Champagne)  to produce Prosecco. The wine road is in the Province of Treviso and is considered the oldest “wine road” in Italy with grape plants that predate the Roman occupation. This comprises a wide range of hills that slope down in a discontinuous sequence from the rampart formed by the foothills of the Alps to the banks of the river Piave.  The soils physical and chemical composition, the abundance of water, the location sheltered from cold and the being mostly south facing exposure creates an ideal habitat to grow vines.  Altitude ranges from 50 to 500 meters. I will refer back to this later when we look specifically at the slopes of Oregon’s pinot growing regions.  This terroir is the DOC (Denominazation di origine controllata) designated by the Italian government to label a wine Prosecco. AOC in France, AVA to some degree in the US.

The Grape: Although the grape or varieties of the grape go back to pre-Roman occupation, the grape as of 2009 is officially called Glera.  At this time the Agricultural Ministry of Italy designated the area DOCG the highest rating attributed to wine producing regions—only 40 such regions exist in Italy.  Prosecco can be blended with no more than 15% of other grapes that have existed in the region for centuries.

IMG 2083The berry’s distinguishing feature is its warm golden yellow hue, which makes the grapes stand out against the bright green vine leaves.

The Soil: generally a mixture of limestone, clay, marl and marine sandstone.  The soil and the temperate climate make this the ideal terroir for cultivating the Glera grape.
- Rob