There’s so much dull Prosecco made that it could probably have its own lake in north east Italy, but a little searching can bring great rewards in terms of both outright quality and interest. On one hand there are some fantastic Col Fondo Proseccos which are aligned with the natural wine movement and low intervention. There are also some quality conscious producers – particularly in the DOCG areas of Conegliano, Valdobbiadene and Asolo – who strive for more interesting wines through planting on hillsides, harvesting at low yields and controlling quality.
One of Valdobbiadene’s innovators, Ca’ Salina, has chosen another route for one of its wines, using technology as a way to produce a cleaner wine:
Disclosure: sample provided for review, opinions my own
Ca’ Salina Giorgia Vino Spumante Brut 2016 (11.5%, RRP £17.99 from Just Perfect Wines)
Ca’ Salina are located in the heart of the Valdobbiadene DOCG area and have an excellent reputation for quality. However, this offering does not carry the DOCG label – or even the lesser DOC tag – due to innovative methods used in the production process.
The “Flotation Method” is designed to remove from the juice anything which isn’t directly from the grapes – yeast, bacteria, other fungi and anything else coming in from the vineyard. Air is mixed into the must using a centrifuge pump which creates billions of tiny bubbles. Their electrostatic charge attracts the impurities and so the bubbles and detritus all rise to the top as a dark foam over a perfectly clear juice. This process takes a few hours, after which the foam is removed and selected yeasts are added to begin the second fermentation.
The purity of the must means that for this wine no sulphur is added at any part of the process. Of course naturally occuring sulphites are still present, as in all wine, but at the very low level of 10 mg/L compared to the legal limit of 210 mg/L. The dosage is on the light side at 8 g/L, making this a Brut.
And the most important part – the taste! Firstly, this is unmistakably a sparkling wine from north east Italy, no matter whether it has the DOCG label or not. Made from 100% Glera (the grape formerly known as Prosecco) is has lovely citrus and pear notes, with just a touch of biscuit and brioche. The modest dosage allows the refined fruit to come through without being swamped in sugar and leaves a crisp finish. This is better than pretty much all Prosecco you will find in a supermarket.
I don’t know if this new technique will catch on, but in the hands of a good producer such as Ca’ Salina it can make a very good wine!