Category: Accolades

Mariani newsletter recommends Bele Casel Prosecco

The newsletter, edited by the award-winning Italian-American writer John Mariani, is one of the most popular among American food and wine enthusiasts.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled to learn that Bele Casel was featured last week in an article on Prosecco by veteran American wine writer Pat Savoie for John Mariani’s celebrated newsletter.

Mariani is one of America’s leading food writers, editors, and experts on Italian wine and food culture. And his newsletter is one of the most popular among American food and wine enthusiasts.

“There is a trend developing in which interest and tastes are moving to more complex, expressive and expensive examples of Prosecco,” writes veteran wine writer Pat Savoie for John Mariana’s Newsletter. These still represent a small portion of sales, but are growing rapidly. The sweet spot for these wines is the small production area of Asolo and Montello, around the towns of Asolo and Montebelluna.

“Asolo is known as the ‘Pearl of Treviso. It and the smaller region of Montello are set at the foot of the Venetian Alps, where the landscape is mountainous to the north while to the south plains slope toward the Venetian Lagoon and Venice, 30 miles away.”

“I visited this area in May as a guest of the Consorzio Vini Asolo Montello and tasted wines from many of the 40 producers (over 85% of total) who are members of the Consorzio. These wines are a step above the rest, with intense freshness, minerality, salinity, and fruit notes.. All are classified as DOCG.”

“From 2013 to 2016 Asolo and Montello Prosecco Superiore DOCG production increased by about 800%, reaching in 2017 a total of over 10.6 million bottles. But only a few producers, many of whom are fairly small, have importers in the U.S., though several are seeking representation.”

Here’s what Pat had to say about Bele Casel and Luca and Paola Ferraro:

Bele Casel – Brother and sister Luca and Paola Ferraro now run the winery that their parents started over three decades ago. Luca makes some fine Proseccos, including the popular Extra Dry (about $15 in U.S.). The wines show the minerality and salinity that are hallmarks of the region.

Click here for the complete article.

Joel Mack, leading American expert on Italian wine, explains Prosecco Col Fondo.

Bele Casel Prosecco Col Fondo: “A merry-go-round of complex aromas and tastes, orchard fruit, rising bread, floral scents, and bread crust.”

Joel Mack, one of America’s leading authorities on Italian wine, published an excellent overview of Prosecco Col Fondo this week in the Italo-Americano.

Here’s an excerpt of his piece (which is only available in print), including a tasting note for Bele Casel Col Fondo. THANK YOU, Joel!

“Col fondo means ‘with sediment,’ that is to say, Prosecco Col Fondo is bottled on its own yeasts, i.e., sur-lie, undergoing a second fermentation in bottle… Yeasts consume sugars, slowly creating carbon dioxide gas and — voilà — bubbles. Spent yeasts remain in bottle, a part of ‘col fondo’ goodness. The result is an intense, complex Prosecco with a decidedly unique personality.”

“Prosecco Col Fondo provides a different sensory experience from Charmat produced Prosecco. If you’re used to the extreme clarity of the latter, don’t be surprised by the beautifully pale Prosecco Col Fondo, a result of its retention of sediment in bottle. Do expect from Prosecco Col Fondo complexity and exquisite texture, notes of bread crust, yeast, ripe fruit and bright acidity.”

“As is true of Prosecco in general, Prosecco Col Fondo is not just for celebratory quaffing. Prosecco are indeed great food wines, cleaning the palate, leaving it refreshed and ready to fully taste next bites. But, I must tell you, Prosecco Col Fondo is truly one of Italy’s ‘pairs with anything’ wines and is to be enjoyed throughout the full meal. Prosecco Col Fondo grandly accompanies foods from gourmet burgers to charcuterie to pasta dishes, fish, and spicy Asian and Indian cuisine.”

And here is Joel’s tasting note for Bele Casel Colfòndo (thank you, Joel!):

“And they say Nebbiolo changes in the glass!? A merry-go-round of complex aromas and tastes, orchard fruit, rising bread, floral scents, and bread crust. Elegant, at moments delicate, with palate-cleansing crispness and splendid texture.”

About Joel Mack, from the about page on his excellent wine blog Vintrospective: “Joel Mack is a freelance journalist and consultant focusing on the wines of Italy. He has studied Italy’s wines, wine regions and native wine grapes at Vinitaly International Academy in Verona, Italy, earning certification as Italian Wine Ambassador.”

Alice Feiring on the wines of Bele Casel for PUNCH

We were thrilled to learn last year that Luca and Bele Casel had been featured in Alice Feiring’s article posted today on PUNCH, the wildly popular online magazine devoted to wine and spirits.

We’re huge fans of Alice’s work and to be mentioned by her in the company of winemakers like Éric Texier, Thierry Puzelat of Clos du Tue Bœuf, and Elisabetta Foradori of Foradori was beyond our wildest dreams.

Thank you, Alice, and thank you PUNCH!

Please click here for the article, “Separating Fad from Future in Natural Wine.”

punch magazine alice feiring wine

D’Agata on our Prosecco: “90 points… lovely wine.”

D’Agata gives our wine high marks on Antonio Galloni’s Vinous tasting note portal.

Here’s what leading English-language wine writer Ian D’Agata, a senior editor for Antonio Galloni’s Vinous.com, had to say about our Prosecco Extra Brut:

Bele Casel Asolo Prosecco Extra Brut
90 points

Straw green. Apple, pear and blood orange on the nose and in the mouth. Offers lovely balance and a thick, rich mouth-feel; much deeper and more complex than the Extra Dry in this lineup. Lovely wine.

About Ian and his role with Vinous (from the Vinous website):

Ian D’Agata, Senior Editor and Head of Development for Europe & Asia

Ian has been writing and lecturing about food and wine for more than 25 years. He is currently the Scientific Advisor of Vinitaly International and the Scientific Director of the Vinitaly International Academy.

An award winning-wine writer, D’Agata has been named Italy’s “best wine journalist” and he contributes regularly to various wine and lifestyle magazines such as Britain’s Decanter and China’s Wine Press and TasteSpirit. He has written Harper Collins/Ecco’s The Ecco Guide to the Best Wines of Italy and his critically acclaimed Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press) is viewed as the definitive text to Italy’s native grapes and wines. He also wrote ten editions of the D’Agata & Comparini Guide to Italy’s Best Wines, for which he won the 2009 International Association of Culinary Professionals Gourmand Award for wine guides.

Ian lectures on Italian food and wine cultural history in the Food Sciences Master’s program at NYU. A trained medical doctor, he is a frequent speaker in Italy and around the world not just on the subject of native grapes and wine, but specifically on health and wine.

Regions Covered: Central and Southern Italy, Northern Italy (Except Piedmont and Tuscany), Alsace, Canada.

Asolo and our Colfòndo impress leading America wine writer Tom Hyland!

Asolo Prosecco continues to grow in popularity, as more and more leading wine writers discover and enjoy it.

One of “my favorite examples of Asolo Prosecco, and easily the most unique,” writes veteran American wine writer Tom Hyland, author of the immensely popular blog LearnItalianWines.com, is “Col Fondo. Col Fondo can literally be translated as ‘on the floor’ or ‘on the bottom,’ but a better and more useful translation here is ‘with sediment.'”

“Col Fondo Prosecco is an ancient tradition,” he notes, “when wines here made here before modern equipment and technology came along, so a Col Fondo Prosecco is one in which the sediment remains in the bottle (on the bottom), as the wine was not disgorged.”

One example that has “really impressed me [is] the Bele Casel… [It’s] very reminiscent of a natural wine, given its muted fruit flavors and cloudy appearance… [and it is] far removed from a typical Asolo Prosecco, and are must to taste if you want to experience the variety and distinctiveness of this area’s wines.”

Thank you, Tom, for taking time out to try our wines and write about them! We look forward to seeing you again in Asolo soon!

About Tom Hyland (from his blog):

“I am a freelance wine writer and photographer specializing in the wines of Italy. I live in Chicago and recently completed my 69th trip to Italy. I have visited virutally every region in the country and am constantly amazed at the wonderful variety of wines produced from indigenous grapes (I am never amazed at the quality of the wines!). I have been in the wine business for 35 years, have been writing for 17 years and have been a professional photographer for the past eight years. I currently contrubute to publications such as Decanter and wine-searcher.com. I am a freelance photographer for Cephas Picture Library in England and have had my photos published in the publications above plus several more.”

Snail award: Bele Casel once again wins coveted Slow Wine prize.

The Snail Award has become one of the Italian wine world’s most prestigious prizes.

Last week we learned that the Slow Food international foodways movement as once again awarded our winery its top prize.

Slow Food was established in Italy in the late 1980s by founder Carlo Petrini to counter the “fastfoodization” of Italy.

In 1986, after one of the world’s leading chains of fast food restaurants opened a franchise at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome (the Trinità del Monte as it is known in Italian), Petrini decided that he had to do something to organize opposition. It’s not hard to imagine, btw, which fast food company it was. And it was and is a complete eyesore in what is otherwise considered the most beautiful city in the world.

In what proved to be a true stroke of genius, he called his nascent movement the “slow food” movement: Not only does the name evoke the association’s ethos but its symbol and mascot — the snail — is literally the embodiment of the association’s mission and purpose.

The little animal moves slowly through the vineyards and avoids those where pesticides have been used.

The Slow Wine guide has been published each year since the late 2000s. And it’s become — hands down — the most important guide to the wines of Italy in the world. It’s also translated into English each year.

According to its editors, the top prize goes to wineries that balance respect for the environment and sustainable farming with high-quality wines that remain affordable to everyday people. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be the recipient, yet again, this year. It’s a great club to belong to. On 10 percent or so of the wineries included in the guide receive this top prize. It’s really meaningful to us.

Thank you, Slow Wine! We are proud to be a snail!

SlowFood University hosts a Prosecco col fondo tasting on campus.

SlowFood is a leader in promoting awareness of authentic and highly localized Italian food and wine traditions. Nothing could be more Slow that Prosecco col fondo!

We were thrilled to learn that the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences was going to host a campus tasting of different bottlings last week. And we were even more pleased to learn that our wine would be one of the bottlings presented by the organizer.

Yesterday, the SlowWine and SlowFood blog featured a post about the tasting, the discussion, and the wines tasted, including tasting notes (see below).

A new generation of col fondo producers, wrote the editors of the Slow Food and Slow Wine blog, “has understood in order to make a good col fondo, you have to start with the best growing zones, with the best selection of grapes and everything that those bunches bring with them. You can’t disguise yourself or hide behind cultured yeast or dosage. In fact, this is the only way to confer nobility upon this rustic wine. The result is a living and breathing wine that ages over time. It can even undergo long-term aging. And it’s a representation of the appellation where it is grown and the vineyards and wineries where it is produced.”

And when you taste wines from one area as opposed to another, “even when they lie close together, you immediately can tell the difference at first taste.”

Here’s what the editors and organizers of the event had to say about Bele Casel Prosecco Colfòndo:

BELE CASEL — Asolo Prosecco Colfòndo 2016.

The vineyards are surrounded by woods and pristine countryside. They express their distinct flavor in the savory and deliciously citrusy notes of the wine.

The fact that the SlowFood University in Pollenzo (Piedmont, Italy) would host a tasting like this reflects the growing interest in Prosecco col fondo among connoisseurs, wine lovers, and wine trade observers. Nothing could be more Slow than Prosecco col fondo!

Image via SlowFood.

Intravino, leading Italian wine blog, calls our Colfòndo its number one

Bele Casel Colfòndo is “powerfully representative” of the category and number one on their list, write the editors of Intravino.

It’s always a thrill and a source of extreme satisfaction for us when someone says that she or he likes our wine.

It’s an even greater reward when the editors of Italy’s leading and most clicked on wine blog, Intravino, write that our wine is number one (!) on their list of Top Ten colfòndo wines.

The post, published earlier this year, was part of their popular series entitled “Everyone Says” (of course it’s followed by the category of wine that they are covering, in this case, “Everyone Says Colfòndo”). And the subtitle is “Bignami” (for non-Italians or even Italian speakers not familiar with the publisher Bignami, it is best known for its summaries of works of literature, the “Cliff’s Notes” of Italy if you will).

It was also great to see that they took note of grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro’s highly active role in social media. Over and over again, Luca is mentioned by the press as one of the greatest examples of a winemaker using social media to raise awareness of his winery’s products. And it was no less rewarding to see him mentioned again by the very social media-savvy editors of Intravino.

Here’s what they had to say about the wine, the number one entry in their list of top ten colfòndo wines.

Bele Casel Asolo Prosecco Colfòndo

This wine is the first on our list not just because it deserves to be first but also because Luca Ferraro, the grape grower behind Bele Casel, is a bona fide agitpop on social media for the notion of Prosecco aged on its lees. And with this, we are saying that, indeed, his Colfòndo (be mindful of the accents!) is powerfully representative of the category. From the color alone, it announces its mission. Its nose starts out with fruity notes (white fruit) only to be transformed into something different, something totally different. It’s a classic example of winemaking philosophy that delivers wines in constant, glorious evolution.

Extra Brut Prosecco: A unique category in the Prosecco DOCG

Michelangelo Tagliente, author of Stanza del Vino, has kind words for our Prosecco Extra Brut.

From Stanza del Vino

Beginning in 2014, the Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG became the only Prosecco appellation to allow producers to label their wines as extra brut. That same year, roughly 50,000 bottles of Prosecco Extra Brut were produced there. In 2015, that number was quadrupled — a clear sign that Asolo winemakers have embraced and believe firmly in the category.

And this is great news for an appellation that stands apart from the open seas of Prosecco today. The distinctive wines produced there are rich in personality and they deserve to be recognized for their distinctive character

This is thanks, no doubt, to the Vini Asolo Montello Consortium but thanks are also due to producers who have been fermenting progress within the appellation. The fact that they have now authorized the red grape, Recantina Forner, and the white grape known as Rabiosa or Rabbioso are examples of this. Both varieties are ancient in origin and have been all but forgotten.

And we shouldn’t forget the proposed revision of the Colli Asolani Prosecco or Asolo Prosecco DOCG appellation regulations that would allow for the production of Colfòndo. Asolo winemaker Luca Ferraro has been and continues to be one of the major architects of a revival of this historic Prosecco style.

I have had the great fortune to taste Luca’s winery’s Asolo Prosecco Extra Brut Superiore DOCG.

I’ll just go ahead and say it from the get-go: This is a benchmark wine, one of the most interesting wines that I tasted during the holiday season in 2015.

It would just be wrong to simply relegate this wine to a mere table wine to be served at Christmas lunches and dinners. It’s a wine to drink all-year-round.

Definitely a wine with great class, taut with energy and direct, with a delicately bitter note that you rediscover with each sip.

This is wine for anyone looking to come to terms with the fact that the world doesn’t end and there is life beyond Valdobbiadene.

Michelangelo Tagliente

Translation by our blog master.

A study in contrasts: Giuseppe Palmieri speaks about his list at Osteria Francescana

Clicca qui per il post originale in italiano.

Working as a sommelier means continuously questioning the many certainties that ever more frequently penalize wines and dishes.

Academically speaking, we know that food and wine pairings are based on the harmony between the dish and the glass:

Lamb and Pinot Noir. Fried foods and Prosecco. Culatello and Lambrusco. Foie gras and Sauternes.

Over the years here at the Osteria Francescana, we’ve invested our time and resources in another, different route that favors great contrasts.

It’s the most complex and interesting way to arrive at harmony.

Here are a few examples:

Pickled and fried baby fish in contrast with Picolit.

Culatello in contrast with Sauternes.

Shrimp crudo with Lambrusco di Sorbara (which, today, is a refined, elegant wine and is no longer a rustic, rough-around-the-edges wine that it used to be years ago).

Oysters in contrast with ginger brandy.

After appreciating, studying, and learning about the great wines of the world (Burgundy, Piedmont, Bordeaux, Champagne, etc.), we made a sea change and decided instead to devote ourselves to small grape growers, from tiny village of Arbois and Pierre Overnoy to Sicily’s Vittoria and the wondrous Arianna Occhipinti.

Read More