To decant or not to decant? That is the Prosecco Col Fondo question.

Some people like their Colfòndo (col fondo) clear, some people like it cloudy.

To decant or not to decant? That’s a question that we get from a lot of wine professionals.

Before the age of the Martinotti/Charmat revolution, when Prosecco began being made in large pressurized and temperature-controlled vats that are ideal for separating the solids from the wine, Prosecco was only sold in demijohns. It’s hard to believe but it’s true: If you visited a restaurant in Venice in the 1960s, Prosecco was served to you in a carafe, never in a bottle. The reasons for this was that the restaurateurs would use the demijohns to separate the solids from the liquid in the wine. That is, back when all Prosecco was “col fondo,” in other words, bottled with its sediment. If the wine had been bottled in a 750 ml bottle, the servers (waiters) would have to stop pouring the wine when it came down to the last glass. They feared that guests would complain that they weren’t be served the entire bottle. So it was much easier to let the wines decant in demijohns and then pour a 750 ml carafe to take to the table.

Above, you can see a the sediment in a bottle of Prosecco Col Fondo that has been stored upright but was then turned upside down after “decanting” in the refrigerator.

Today, with the Prosecco Col Fondo revolution in full force, many sommeliers are wisely storing the bottles upright in a refrigerator so that it naturally separates the solids from the liquid. When they pour the wine, they are careful not to tip it too far so that only the clear wine emerges from the bottle and the sediment stays at the bottle.

But some people like the more savory character of the wine when it’s mixed with its solids. To serve it like this, just gently turn it upside down and then right side up before serving.

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