Category: Bele Casel

Hail and rain in June but we were spared any major damage. Prosecco Diaries 2018

It’s been a very strange year weather-wise. But we were spared any major damage.

We will remember the summer of 2018 as one of the most unstable seasons in recent years. Rain and hail were abundant during the month of June.

Hail only marginally affected our vineyards, with minimal damage. We didn’t have any major problems with peronospora and we were able to act quickly to curb any problems we had due to the rains.

The vegetation is very lush and the vines continue to push in part thanks to the abundant water in the soil. We will probably have to trim again to keep the bunches as ventilated as possible.

June 11 – We are trimming the vineyard in Monfumo again.

June 13 – We welcome our new weather station in our Monfumo vineyard. When you have vineyards that lie far away from the winery like we do, it’s very important to know exactly what the weather conditions are so that you can be as precise as possible in caring for the vines. Thank you, iFarming!

June 14 – in the following order: Rabbiosa, Marzemina Bianca, Glera, Perera and Bianchetta.

Perera

Glera

Bianchetta Trevigiana

Rabbiosa

Marzemina Bianca

June 18 – Our Prà Grande vine in Monfumo after many hours of work.

June 28 – Yesterday there was light hail in the Cornuda vineyard. We are sprinkling zeolite (crushed rock) to dry and heal the wounds.

June 30 – Our new vineyard Vinga Longon finally shows off its beauty. It’s an amphitheater that I hope will give us some great wines.



The Crow: “It can’t rain all the time.” Prosecco Diaries May 2018

Rain made our work in May very challenging.

Despite the line from The Crow, “it can’t rain all the time,” May gave us some big rain days, as you can see in the graph below.

Work on the new plantings in our Monfumo vineyard are going slowly because we can work the earth with a bulldozer. What was supposed to be 20 days of work is now becoming two months of our time to get the site ready for planting.

Budding has been moving as fast as our work in Monfumo is slow. We are having trouble keeping up with everything we need to do in a timely manner: Desuckering, fastening the ties, spraying, and managing the grass between the rows. Every job keeps getting pushed back, day after day.

Flowering took place on May 21 in our Caerano vineyard. It’s always the earliest to flower. If we consider that as a rule of thumb, harvest comes 100 days after flowering, we should be picking the last week of August.

It’s incredible how much the month of May speeded up a vegetative cycle that started late.



May 2 – Desuckering has begun.

May 4: In the following order, Glera, Marzemina Bianca, and Rabbiosa. It’s interesting to see how each grape variety has a different rhythm with respect to the others.

May 7 – Our Prà Grande vineyard, before and after. We certainly couldn’t cut those marvelous flowers. So we decided just to do a little cleaning underneath the rows.

May 14 – A press tour organized by the Consortium Asolo Montello, our consortium, with English and American journalists. A stop to see our Monfumo vineyard is mandatory.

May 15 – We are hoping, with all our heart, that it stops raining soon.

May 18 – Before and after fastening the ties.

18 Maggio: È decisamente difficile stare tranquilli con questo tempo

May 21 – Flowering in our Caerano vineyard has begun.

May 30 – Following flowering, the Glera fruit set has begun.


Vinology (Houston): Bele Casel tasting and seminar Thursday, August 23

Our wines will have have their Texas debut next week in Houston with our blog master!

Vinology, one of Houston’s most popular wine bars and wine shops, will be presenting our wines next Thursday. See details below.

As we posted here on the blog earlier this week, Bele Casel wines have finally landed in Texas.

For more than a decade, we have enjoyed a strong presence in markets on the west and east coasts of the United States. But Texas, one of the toughest states to crack, has always remained just out of reach. Until now…

As it so happens, our longtime English-language blogger and marketing consultant, Jeremy Parzen (aka Do Bianchi) has lived in Texas for nearly 10 years. And Houston has been his home now for nearly 5 years. He lives there with his wife Tracie and their two children, Georgia and Lila Jane.

On Thursday, August 23, Jeremy and our Texas importer Rootstock will be presenting our wines for the first time in the state at one of Houston’s most popular wine bars.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally have Bele Casel wines in Texas,” said Jeremy when we spoke to him this early morning (his time; afternoon our time).

“The wines have been available in New York and California for years and years. But it’s illegal for retailers outside of Texas to ship wines here. So I can only drink the wines when I visit the coasts.”

“In my humble opinion, these wines represent the best of what Prosecco can be. I couldn’t be more happy to have them here in my adoptive state and city.”

Please join Jeremy and Rootstock Italian specialist, Nathan Smith, as they present our wines for the first time in the Lone Star State.

Bele Casel Tasting and Seminar
with Jeremy Parzen
wine blogger and educator

Thursday, August 23
6:30 p.m.

Vinology
2314 Bissonnet St.
Houston TX 77005
(832) 849-1687
Google map

Texas: Bele Casel has landed!

Our wines have finally arrived in Texas!

Texas is a U.S. market where nearly every Italian winemaker wants to be able to sell his/her wines. But it’s also one of the states that’s among the hardest to get into.

The fine wine scene in Texas is relatively new.

It wasn’t until the second half of the aughts that the state began to see an increase in demand for fine wines from Europe. Until that time, there was a solid market for very high end wines, like Burgundy and Bordeaux. And there was also a robust presence of California wines, especially California Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. But there weren’t a lot of wines from Italy, France, and Greece. But today that’s all changed.

A couple of things happened in the second half of that decade that made the European wine market grow substantially in a short period of time.

In the years that followed the Great Recession, it became the fastest growing state in the United States.

Today, Houston and Austin continue to be America’s fastest growing cities and Houston is poised to become the third largest city in the U.S. (the predictions vary as to when that will happen; but most believe it will happen in the next three-to-five years).

With that growth also came an influx of talented wine professionals from other big wine states, like New York and California.

During the Recession, countless high-end restaurants in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles closed. And many sommeliers began looking for jobs in other cities.

Texas was the state that fared perhaps better than any other during the financial crisis. As a result, while restaurants were closing in other cities, the restaurant communities in Houston and Austin, especially, continued to expand and mature, as it were.

Celebrity chef David Chang recently called Houston “the most exciting food city in America.”

We couldn’t be more thrilled that our wines are finally going to be available there.

They are being imported to the state by Rootstock, based in Austin. The wines arrived this week and the importer will begin to show them as early as next Tuesday.

Look out, Texas, here comes Bele Casel!

Glera is what makes Prosecco but it’s not the only grape variety in the wine.

People often assume that Prosecco is a monovarietal wine. But it’s not.

Glera is an ancient name for a grape otherwise and previously known as Prosecco. In 2009, after the reform of the Valdobbiadene-Conegliano Prosecco DOCG and Asolo Prosecco DOCG appellation regulations, the name was adopted as the official name of the grape.

Our American friends are often obsessed with grape names and percentages of grapes used in a given wine. And we are always impressed when we visit a restaurant in the U.S. and we see that the sommelier and/or wine director lists the names of the grapes for each wine. Our American counterparts definitely have a heightened awareness of European grapes and what wines they are used to make. And we see this as a byproduct of the excellent level of high-quality wine education there. It’s astounding really, especially when you consider how it’s evolved over the last 20 years.

But we sometimes scratch our heads when we see “Glera” listed as the only grape in our wines and in wines by other Prosecco producers.

In fact, a number of grape varieties can be used to make Prosecco, which must have at least 85 percent of the primary grape. But it can also have up to 15 percent of other grape varieties. And not just white grape varieties.

For example, some producers use up to 15 percent of “corrective” grapes and these include Pinot Blanc (Pinot Bianco), Pinot Noir (Pinot Nero), Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio), and Chardonnay.

But there are some producers that prefer not to use “international” grape varieties like those listed above. There is nothing wrong with them, of course. And there’s nothing wrong with the wines they produce.

The traditional grapes to blend in Prosecco beside the primary grape variety are Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, and Glera Lunga.

Our Prosecco Colfòndo is made using up to 15 percent of Bianchetta Trevigiana and Perera, for example.

Australia-EU negotiations include dispute over Prosecco labeling.

As Australia and the European Union negotiate their trade pact, Prosecco may be on the table.

Australia is one of the biggest markets for Prosecco in the world. But it’s also one of the biggest producers of homegrown Prosecco as well. And because the country isn’t subject to European Union law regulating the production and labeling of wine, many growers and bottlers there produce a wine that they liberally label “Prosecco.”

That might change now that the country has entered into a new round of trade talks with the European Union.

Last week the Brisbane Times published an article entitled “Bubbles and trouble ahead for Australian makers of Prosecco.”

Here’s the link.

The author Alison Brown writes:

“Queensland University of Technology professor in intellectual property and innovation law, Matthew Rimmer, says the light, dry, sparkling wine will be a major test for ‘geographical indications,’ or GIs, for food and wine under the proposed new Australia-European Free Trade Agreement.”

The country “has provided special protection for champagne and other European wine regions in the past. But with Italian Prosecco producers shifting the wine’s name from one of a grape variety to one of geographical location, the future of the Prosecco label on Australia wines is uncertain.”

“‘Italy has indicated it wants a geographical indication for prosecco during the Australia-EU negotiation,’ Professor Rimmer said.”

Again, quoting Professor Rimmer, Brown reports:

“‘What’s very controversial about Prosecco is that it’s a recent development in terms of its use of geographical location – it previously had the name of a grape variety.'”

“‘So, the Australian winemakers are very upset about that. They see it as a sleight of hand; a commercial claw-back to try to monopolise a very common name.'”

Veneto producers of Prosecco have complained for years about the market confusion that Australian Prosecco has created for them. But there was nothing they could do about it.

That might change now that Prosecco labeling is on the negotiating table. We will be following the story closely and will post updates here on the blog.

Best beach wine? It’s got to be Prosecco!

Thanks to Prosecco’s low alcohol, freshness, approachability, and affordability, it could be the perfect wine for the beach.

Headed to the beach? Just like many of us in Italy, many of our friend in the United States will be heading to the coast to get a break from the heat and to relax.

When heading to the beach — whether on the ocean, on a lake, on one of America’s many beautiful rivers, on the Gulf of Mexico, or on the Gulf of California (in Baja California) — or even if you’re just spending time poolside, you need a wine that’s low in alcohol (so you can drink a lot of it without it weighing you down); a wine that’s fresh, because freshness is key when you are outdoors in the sun and in the hot weather; and you need a wine that everyone (adults, of course) will like.

That’s why Prosecco could be the “perfect beach wine.”

The other thing you need is a wine that doesn’t cost a lot. And that’s another reason why Prosecco is such a great wine for summer, when picnics and outdoor grilling are the order of the day.

People ask us all the time: What’s your favorite wine or what’s the best wine in the world?

Our answer? It depends on where we are drinking it, what we are pairing it with, and with whom we are enjoying it?

When it comes to the beach, lake, river, or pool, it’s just got to be Prosecco!

And by the way, for our California friends who are eating grilled Pacific Ocean fish and fish tacos and for our east coast friends, who will be eating lobster rolls and steamed crabs, Prosecco is one of the world’s greatest fish and seafood wines. So what could be better for summer and the beach than Prosecco?

Spaghetti alle Vongole, one of Italy’s national dishes and a great pairing for Prosecco

What’s more Italian than spaghetti alle vongole?

The dialects spoken in Venice and Naples are so different from one another that Venetians and Neapolitans could hardly understand each other if it weren’t for their shared and common tongue, otherwise known as Italian.

Their languages, cultures, and temperaments couldn’t be more different.

But when it comes to cuisine, these two seaside cities and former maritime city-states share an unbridled passion for seafood.

And there is perhaps no dish more indicative of this cultural common denominator than spaghetti alle vongole.

What are spaghetti alle vongole? You’d have to have been living under a reef not to know!

Spaghetti alle vongole are long noodles that have been tossed in clams that have been gently sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil until they open and then deglazed with white wine.

It’s actually one of the easiest dishes in the world to make (as long as you buy very, very fresh clams that have already been cleaned of their beards and scrubbed of any residue on their shells).

And the clams should have enough salt already in them (from the seawater that they consume and inhabit) that you shouldn’t have to add any salt to this dish (although some might add chili flakes to give the dish gentle heat).

In Naples, the traditional pairing is Fiano d’Avellino or perhaps Falanghina, Lacryma Christi, or a Bianco della Costa d’Amalfi.

But in Venice, there’s no other wine better suited to pair with this classic dish than Prosecco.

The gentle saltiness and characteristic gently bitter citrus (grapefruit) is the ideal complement to the saltiness of the clams and the sauce they naturally created when they are sautéed and opened.

There’s an old saying about Italy: The only time they really and truly cheer as a nation is when the Italian national soccer team is playing.

But there are a few other things that all Italians agree on. And one of them, without a doubt, is spaghetti alle vongole.

Slow Wine Guide Tasting October 13 in Montecatini

The book has become the definitive guide to small-scale artisanal winemaking in Italy today.

Slow Food was created in the late 1980s by its visionary, Carlo Petrini. The movement and its manifesto were founded to counter what he saw as a growing threat to the authentic and traditional foods and foodways of Italy: The advent of fast food there.

Back then there wasn’t a lot of fast food in Italy. And McDonald’s was just beginning to expand its presence. The opening of its huge restaurant at the foot of the Spanish Steps (Trinità dei Monti) became a sort of battle cry for lovers and defenders of Italian foodways.

The movement ultimately became a publisher of guides, books, and magazine, all intended to document and promote awareness of traditional Italian gastronomy and food products. It also championed the food producers themselves.

In 2009, Slow Food Editore (the publishing arm of the movement) launched its first wine guide.

It highlights small-scale wine production by people who have a connection to the land they farm. It doesn’t exclude conventional growers but the overwhelming majority of wineries profiled in the guide are organic and many of them are biodynamic.

Perhaps the most important thing about the guide, the editors have told us, is that they don’t just provide tasting notes for the wines the editors selection. But they also tell the stories of the wines, the wineries, and the winemakers themselves. In fact, before the first year the guide was published, the other popular wine guides only offered their readers scores and tasting notes, without any mention of the winemakers and grape growers themselves.

We have been included in the guide for many years and have even won some of the editors’ prizes. We have also participated in their grand tasting/preview of the guide. This year, that event will take place on October 13 in Montecatini in Tuscany.

We support the guide and its editors in their mission! And we hope to see you there!

Veraison is the moment that “we let Mother Nature do her job.”

Today on Bele Casel’s Facebook, Luca posted the photo above and the passage below. “We’ll step aside,” he wrote, “And we’ll let Mother Nature do her job.”

Veraison, one of the most important moments of the vine’s vegetative cycle, is the onset of ripening. In a lot of ways, as Luca notes above and as you’ll see in the passage below, it’s the moment that the grape grower “steps aside,” as Luca wrote. At this point forward, when the grapes change color, the grape grower can’t do much more to “guide” the vines as they achieve full ripening. For red grapes, the berries turn from green to red. For white grapes, they lose their light green color and take on a their golden green color. It’s also the moment that the size of the berries is determined, which is also extremely important for the quality of the vintage.

The following post comes from the Treviso chapter of the Italian Federation of Independent Grape Growers. The photo as well. (English translation by our blogmaster.)

It’s such an exciting and emotional moment for us, like any grape grower. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Technically it’s called veraison [editor’s note: a French term; inviatura in Italian]. It’s one of the phases of grape ripening: The fist moment in which the berries lose their green color and they begin their journey toward full ripening. During this phase, they reveal their character. It’s a highly emotional moment. You could almost call it a “point of contact” between vine and humankind. In moments like this, you have a palpable sense that the vine is life. It’s almost like an EKG when the beep starts to follow your heart beat. In this moment, the grapes begin to “light up” slowly in the vineyard like a thousand little lamps. And it marks the last phase of the vintage.