Category: Bele Casel

Methode ancestrale or petillant naturel? Prosecco Col Fondo is neither.

Confusion still reigns when it comes to sparkling wine terminology.

“The methode ancestral,” write the editors of the Oxford Companion to Wine, “results in a lightly sparkling wine, often with some sweetness and sediment, and most closely parallels how wines were originally made sparkling. It involves bottling young wines before all the residual sugar has been fermented into alcohol. Fermentation continues in bottle and gives off carbon dioxide.”

This method of sparkling wine production has been “given new life by the petillant naturel vogue,” they add, referring to the sparkling wine production method known popularly as “pet-nat.”

There is still a lot of confusion in the wine world as far as sparkling wine production terminology is concerned.

Many still refer to wines like our Prosecco ColFòndo (col fondo) as an ancestral method (méthode ancestral) or pet-nat wine. In fact, our col fondo is neither.

The overwhelming majority of Prosecco is produced using what is properly called “the tank method.” In Italy it is called the Martinotti method, after the enology professor who developed and perfected it. And many also call it the “Charmat” method after the man who patented the technology. (We wrote a post about the terminology just last year.)

For tank method wines, a base wine is produced and then it is re-fermented in large, pressurized tanks, hence the name.

Today, more and more Prosecco producers are also making “col fondo” wines. We call ours Prosecco ColFòndo.”

It’s different from the ancestral method. Instead of bottling the wines while they are still fermenting (the technique described above), a base wine is produced and fermentation is carried out until completion. The wine is then bottled and the wine undergoes a second fermentation, thus resulting in a sparkling wine thanks to the CO2 that’s produced by fermentation in a pressurized environment.

Unlike traditional method wines (the name for Champagne method wines made outside of Champagne), col fondo wines are not disgorged of their sediment.

Perhaps the English-language term would be “re-fermented in bottle” wines.

Vanity Fair Italy features Bele Casel

It’s not every day that our wines are featured in a fashion magazine!

Vanity Fair Italia featured Bele Casel earlier this year in a feature story on Prosecco.

Click here for the link (in Italian) and the translation of the writer’s tasting notes follow below.

It’s so wonderful to see high-profile magazines like this feature wines like Prosecco. It wasn’t so long ago that it would have been unthinkable for a fashion magazine to feature wine at all, let alone Prosecco.

But as wine has become more and more mainstream, we have been seeing more and more articles like this one by Anna Mazzotti.

“It’s the most well known Italian sparkling wine in the world,” she writes. “Fresh, aromatic, ‘democratic,’ and very versatile… You pull the cork and the party immediately begins. Fresh, light, lively, fruity, and with floral notes. Prosecco is the most approachable of all sparkling wines and it’s conquered not just Italy but also the world as it has become a true phenomenon… an icon of Italian lifestyle.”

Tasting note:

It’s fresh, dry, and lively, rich with notes of fruit. It’s a Prosecco dei Colli Asolani, re-fermented in bottle and unfiltered.

This Prosecco “Colfondo” was inspired by a desire to bottle the character of the land, in the most natural way possible, using only natural yeasts.

The second fermentation takes place in the bottle, without filtration.

The unique thing about this wine is that you can drink it clear or you can drink it cloudy by turning the bottle upside down.

Made with the Glera grapes and old grape varieties (Bianchetta Trevigiana and Perera), this wine is straw yellow in color, although sometimes lightly veiled. It’s a wine that’s still evolving, with fresh and fruit notes on the nose that only become more complex as the wine ages. It has lingering mineral flavor on the palate, with notes of bread crust and a slight bitterness.

Chestnut trees remind us of our history and heritage: Prosecco Diaries August 2018

August saw a lot of rain and it made our work even harder.

Caring for the chestnut trees (below) makes us remember our history and heritage. It was just one of the highlights from a challenging but rewarding month in the 2018 vintage.

August is the month when you begin to feel the harvest approaching.

It’s the time when you concentrate on preparing the vines and making harvest easier by mowing the grasses between the rows, trimming the canopy, and removing the weeds around the vines.

As you can see from the graphic below, at the end of the month, there was a concentration of rains, just a few hours before the beginning of the most difficult period of the year.

The grapes will be inundated with a lot of water. We will put off the beginning of the harvest for a few days so that the soil can dry and so that the vines get some light and some warmth from the sun.


August 13 – Our ColFòndo appeared in the pages of Vanity Fair (Italian version)!

August 17 – Weed management during the first year after planting is somewhat delicate. The small cuttings need light and they need to be unencumbered by competition from other plants in order to grow well and quickly.

Because we are an organic estate, we cannot use herbicides. So we have to remove all the weeds by hand. As you see, certain patches remain but they will be removed soon thanks to a second pass with a harrow.

August 20 – The vines planted on steep slopes need to be constantly cared for and maintained. This was the second time we went through the vineyards with a small tractor specialized for difficult-to-work vineyards like this.

August 24 – A photo from our Prà Grande vineyard in Monfumo. It’s time to figure out how the Bianchetta Trevigiana is doing and it’s time to mow the grass.

August 29 – The thing that makes a small winery stand apart is the fact that it never considers anything or anyone to be just a number. One of the nicest things for us is to welcome people who come to see us, even if just for a little while, without expecting anything in return. It was wonderful for us to receive these bottles of English sparkling wine directly from England. They were sent as a thank you for the time we spent together. We know we will really enjoy these, Charlie! Heartfelt thanks!

August 30 – The chestnut trees that surround our Cornuda vineyard have been there for hundreds of years. We are working to preserve them. The are an important part of the history and heritage of this place.

August 30 – In just a few hours the rains will come. We need to trim the canopy and mow the grass because next week we will begin harvesting and we need everything to be in order. This means that we are going to have to put in some serious over time.

August 31 – Thank you, Giulia, for this fantastic article on Scatti di Gusto.

Houston, we have a Prosecco Col Fondo!

Bele Casel’s wines are finally available in the Texas market!

Houston, we have a problem. You’ve all heard the iconic expression.

Well, now, we are proud to say that Space City, Texas now has our wine: Houston, we have a Prosecco Colfòndo!

Everyone in the wine business will tell you that Texas is one of the hardest markets to break into. But we finally did it. Our wines are now officially available in the state for the first time.

Those are a couple of bottles of our Prosecco Colfòndo as spotted recently on the shelves of Vinology in the Bayou City, as it is known. Vinology is an artisanal wine bar and wine shop focused on natural, organic, biodynamic, and sustainably farmed wines. We couldn’t be in better company.

H-Town, another one of its nicknames, is currently the fourth largest city in the United States. And it will soon surpass Chicago to become its third largest. Together with Austin, it’s the fastest growing city in the U.S. as well.

During the financial crisis (some may remember that Lehman Brothers officially went bankrupt in September of 2008, 10 years ago this month), tens of thousands of Americans moved to Houston. And with them also came literally hundreds of food and wine professionals who left the coasts in search of better job opportunities. The migration of food and wine people from New Orleans after Katrina only contributed to the growth of the food and wine community there.

What was once a oil and gas hub in fly-over country is today a major destination for food and wine tourism. The city is also home to what is now the largest medical center in the world and is one of the leading cancer research and cardiological research centers.

We couldn’t be more thrilled that our wines are available in this cutting-edge American city that celebrity chef David Chang recently called the “most interesting food city in America.”

Solidarity is what we needed in the very challenging month of July. Prosecco Diaries 2018.

July was one of the most difficult months we can remember.

Solidarity in the form of Solidarietà, a local business, was a bright spot in an otherwise extremely challenging months in the vineyards.

We will remember the month of July for its high temperatures and its hailstorms. There were two extreme events that were combined together and the amount of rainfall was truly significant.

We tried to limit the impact as much as possible by leaving the grapes covered by the vines’ leaves. By doing so, we hoped to avoid exposure to too much burning sunlight and what would be a subsequent drop in acidity.

This year, the vines are particularly lush and the canopy management will be crucial to getting the grapes in good condition at the end of the vegetative cycle.

Rains and high temperatures have brought on an attack of peronospora on the suckers, especially in our Monfumo vineyard. We’ll have to see if there will be an effect on the sugar level since the new leaves have been compromised and they won’t do much photosynthesis.




July 5 – Hail and rain. The vineyard in Maser was the one most impacted by the hail. In Monfumo, there were problems only because of the massive amount of water that fell in such a short time period.

Here’s a video from our Cornuda vineyard.

Luckily there wasn’t any major damage.

Vigna Vecchia di Monfumo: Video

No damage. These are old Bianchetta vines.

Video from our Prà Grande vineyard.

Here the hail definitely struck harder than in the other vineyards. But the damage was still light.

Video from Vigna Monfumo Longon.

Nearly 100 mm of rain in just 20 minutes or so. The damage is owed to the city road here.

Video from Maser.

This is the vineyard that suffered the most.

July 11 – The leaves tell us a lot about the health of the vines. Here, for example, there is a clear lack of magnesium.

July 16 – Another big rainstorm. This time Monfumo was the vineyard that got the most rain. Luckily, there was no damage to the vineyards.

Just to give you an idea of how severe the weather was, here are screenshots from the Bassano and Pedmontana del Grappa weather forecast.

July 31 – This was a truly special day for us and it really touched our hearts. The people from the cooperative Solidarietà came to visit us. They’re based in Treviso and they have been making our neck takers for our ColFondo for years. Solidarietà, which means Solidarity in English, has been working in our area for 35 years. Their goal is to “make a cultural contribution through social inclusion.” It was a great pleasure for us to show them our winery and spend some time with them and get to know them better.

Slow Wine tasting, Saturday, October 13, in Montecatini (Tuscany)

Arguably the best and biggest tasting of artisanal wineries in Italy.

The Slow Wine annual Slow Wine Tasting will take place on Saturday, October 13, in Montecatini in Tuscany. Montecatini is known for its hot springs and “restorative” waters (some may remember that Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, the film “8½” starring Marcello Mastroianni is set there).

Bele Casel is one of the wineries awarded the coveted “Snail” prize this year. And we will be at this year’s tasting, of course! it’s really one of the best Italian wine tastings we’ve ever attended, partly because of the size but mostly because of the “slow” nature and character of the wines.

Here’s the complete list of 2018 winners.

And here are details and registration for the October 13 tasting.

Slow Wine is part of the Slow Food movement.

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!

Truth Be Told: The 2018 harvest is one of “the most difficult I can remember.”

“One of the most difficult harvests I can remember,” says Bele Casel grape grower Luca Ferraro.

Truth be told, goes the age-old expression. One of the things the Ferraro family has always believed in is 100 percent transparency. From their “Prosecco Diaries,” published here on the blog, to their social media activity and engagement, they have always made a point to write and speak with full transparency when it comes to describing their growing conditions and the wines that they produce.

Across Italy and northern Italy in particular, the 2018 vintage will be remembered as an extremely wet growing cycle. Intense late spring and early summer rains were followed by extreme heat. The alternating cool and warm temperatures, combined with excessive humidity in the vineyards, were less than ideal, to say the very least.

The Ferraro family and Bele Casel were spared major damage from the year’s many hailstorms. But like their neighbors, they could not escape the bizarre weather patterns and conditions.

The following notes were published this week by Bele Casel grape grower this week on his Facebook.

The 2018 vintage has been “one of the most difficult harvests I can remember,” he wrote in his Monday, September 17 post on the social media platform.

“We began by picking just certain parts of the rows with the ripest grapes. Then we would return to the same row and finish our work.”

We “machine-harvested 20 tons of grapes after we saw how the acidity was dropping abruptly.” We did this to “speed up the picking time.”

“We had a small team of people” working the harvest, he noted. “And we were able to pick 20 tons of grapes every day in the Cornuda vineyard and just over 10 tons in Monfumo.”

“Sigh,” he wrote to express his disappointment with the Monfumo yield.

“We’ll have to wait until the middle of October,” he added, to determine “the quality of the wines” from this vintage.

Harvest in Asolo began 10 days ago.

The 2018 vintage will be remembered as a challenging one but Bele Casel has been extremely fortunate.

Harvest in Asolo began 10 days ago.

You may have noticed that there’s not been much action on the usually very busy Bele Casel social media. That’s because everyone in the family — mom, dad, and all kids and grandkids — are busy picking and sorting the grapes that will become the 2018 vintage.

The Ferraro family is always 100 percent transparent about growing conditions and the challenges of weather in the era of climate change.

Month by month, they chronicle the vegetative cycle, as it is called in wine parlance. And they also write openly about weather patterns. Whether on the winery’s Facebook (which includes its Instagram feed) or grower Luca’s Facebook, you’ll always find wonderful images of the vineyards. And it’s not just limited to beautiful shots of the grapes or the many little animals they discover living in their organically farmed vineyards.

Luca and his family also post regularly about rain and hail. And the write openly about their fears and concerns.

One of the big events of this harvest was the installation of an automated weather station in their Monfumo vineyard, which lies a sizable distance from their home and winery. The station allows them to monitor the weather as well as the humidity and temperature. Thanks to the information they receive, they know if and when they need to rush to the vineyard to check for any issues.

“We work under the sky,” Luca often says. In other words, the grape grower can’t always control what happens in her or his vineyards. There was a lot of rain this year across Prosecco country and there was some serious hail. Bele Casel and the Ferraro family were extremely fortunate though and they are really happy with the results of their harvest (as you can see by the image of the grapes above).

We’ll be posting their harvest notes as soon as they have time to post them!

Marriage proposal in the vineyard! Damir and Elaine, we wish you a lifetime of happiness!

Nothing could be more sweet than seeing this happy, happy couple!

A marriage proposal was made in the Bele Casel Monfumo vineyard last week, the winery’s oldest and most prized growing site where its Prosecco Colfòndo is grown.

Damir proposed to Elaine. And she said… YES!

“Never would have we imagined,” wrote the Ferraros on their Facebook, “to be part of one of the best days of a couple’s life. Damir proposed to Elaine in our vineyard in Monfumo! We wish you a lifetime of happiness, guys.”

As the Ferraros noted in their post, it’s not something that you see every day!

But it’s only natural that a vineyard, especially a Prosecco vineyard, would be the ideal spot for someone to propose marriage to her/his loved one.

That’s the table that was set up for the lovely couple the other day, adorned, of course, with a bottle of our wine and a couple of sparkling wine glasses.

What better wine than Prosecco, after all, to toast the beginning of a lifetime together.

Of course, Prosecco is often served at weddings and all kinds of festivities and parties. Ever since the 17th century, when sparkling wine became immensely popular among the upper classes of England and cosmopolitan London in particular, sparkling wine has been at the center of celebrations throughout Europe and the New World.

Over the last few decades, Prosecco has emerged as the sparkling wine of choice in so many countries, including Italy, the United States, and England.

This may be the first proposal but many of our friends in America have sent us images of Bele Casel Prosecco at their wedding reception and wedding table.

Now the big question is: What will Damir and Elaine drink at their nuptials? Let’s see…

Congratulations, guys, you are a wonderful couple and we wish you a lifetime of happiness!

Mistral in Princeton, New Jersey, a wine program we are so proud to be part of!

Nothing makes us more happy than knowing that our wines are in good hands!

Mistral, write the owners on this Princeton, New Jersey restaurant’s website, “The name evokes a sure Mediterranean wind bringing clear water and 
fresh weather to those sailing upon the sea. Now, Mistral Restaurant offers 
chefs Scott Anderson and Ben Nerenhausen the chance to create ever-changing, seasonal offerings that
 can be adjusted to the prevailing winds of their unsurpassed creativity and taste.”

It comes from their “philosophy” page: You gotta love a restaurant that includes a philosophy tab on their website’s navigation!

It makes perfect sense. These are very thoughtful restaurateurs, who are working with some of America’s best chefs. In fact, they write, “both Scott and Ben were named as 2014 James Beard Foundation Award Semi-Finalists — Scott for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, and Ben for Rising Star Chef of the Year.”

Like their superb menu, their wine list is equally thoughtful. It’s divided into “new world” and “old world” selections and it’s clear that the focus is on food-friendliness and acidity-driven wines with restrained alcohol.

It features some of our favorite wines from Italy and France, classics that most wine connoisseurs can all agree on. And we would love to try some of the “new world” wines that we don’t know. But we can imagine that they are equally balanced and great for pairing with the restaurant’s beautiful food.

Our wines, now served by the glass there, feel right at home!

Check out the Mistral wine list here. We are so proud to be part of this wonderful program! Thank you, Mistral!

Currently, the program includes our Bele Casel Prosecco (Glera) Extra Brut, one of our newest labels, released after the Asolo Prosecco DOCG introduced the “extra brut” category (Asolo is the only Prosecco DOCG that has an extra brut).

Mistral
66 Witherspoon St.
Princeton NJ 08542
(609) 688-8808
Google map

Image via the Mistral Faceobook page.