Category: Colfòndo

What is Prosecco Colfòndo? Luca speaks of its “magic” and “soul”

col fondo sur lie

 

Prosecco Colfòndo is the traditional wine of our hills. When my parents were children, Prosecco grapes (which are now called Glera) were harvested at the end of October. Some even remember picking the grapes with snow on the ground.

Once the grapes arrived in the cellar and the grapes were crushed, fermentation was stopped by the cold temperatures and the wine remained sweet.

During the first months of the new year, the farmers would bottle the wine. And then, as if by magic, with the arrival of warmer spring temperatures, fermentation started up again and the wine re-fermented in the bottle.

The fermentation process is the same one that is used for the most famous Champagne. The only difference is that in our case the wine is not disgorged. The yeast remains in the bottle until you decide it’s time to drink the wine.

I could keep you glued to your screen by telling you tales of people who drunk colfòndo that was thirty years old and who were amazed by the wine. I’m confident that I wouldn’t be telling you a lie.

I could tell you about how the small farmers in these hills won’t offer you a Charmat-method wine when you go to visit them. They’ll pour you a colfòndo and they’ll probably decant the wine. It’s unlikely that they’ll let you drink it cloudy.

But when you come to visit me, you’ll be obliged to drink it cloudy because that’s how I like it. I believe that the sediment — the “fondo” — is the soul of this wine and it shouldn’t be separated from the wine with which it has spent so much time.

 

Luca Ferraro

Grape grower

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from all of us here at Bele Casel.

best italian cook booksA few days ago, the mailman delivered a cook book called “Risparmia, Recupera, e Ricicla” (Save, Salvage, Recycle) in which the noted sommelier and author Adua Villa wrote a note about our ColFòndo.

With the arrival of this book, I was overcome with desire to re-read all the articles that have mentioned us. We are a very proud of our collection of clippings and we have great respect and fondness for all of our friends who have shared their interest and appreciation of what we do for a living.

For a family-run winery like ours, it’s really rewarding to read our name in important publications like these, from Repubblica to Panorama, from Corriere della Sera to Cucina Italiana and so many others.

What I’m trying to say is that so many friends have written about us, about our wines, and about the passion that we put into our work.

So, once again, please let us thank everyone who has helped get the word out to their readers about our wines.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from all of us here at Bele Casel.

Here’s what Adua had to say about our ColFòndo.

“Bele Casel

Prosecco Colfòndo

In Asolo, in the heart of Prosecco DOCG, there’s a winery that produces wines with the utmost respect for the land that makes their vines grow and with great wisdom in the winemaking process.

It’s Prosecco Colfòndo re-ferments in the bottle in a cool and dark place in their cellar.

This sparkling-wine method makes for a wine that constantly evolves and changes. Even its aromas and flavors change over time.

My advice is to delicately shake the bottle to mix the yeast in sediment with the wine. It’s a pairing experience that you won’t forget.”

Luca Ferraro responds to a Prosecco ColFondo detractor

best grape bunch prosecco

In a comment to this post on Intravino earlier this week, Prosecco producer Silvano Follador laments the lack of “credibility” in the selections of Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri winners in the 2015 Guide to the Wines of Italy.

And he writes (translation by our blogmaster):

In this moment, there are no examples [of Prosecco ColFondo] that I have found compelling. Many of them, in fact, disgust me.

It’s a category that in my view, should be used for other grape varieties but not for Prosecco.

I am entirely convinced that the Martinotti method is extraordinary in elegantly and fully translating the relationship between grape variety and terroir.

Of course, I’m not referring to the way that we unfortunately see and taste on a daily basis.

We need to start seeing and conceiving sparkling wines in their early phase of being formed, the transformation of must into wine — the most important phase. That is the moment in which wine is born. That’s when the winemaker must intervene the least, thus allowing the true aromas and flavors to form and stabilize in the liquid.

When winemakers have respect for this phase, the re-fermentation in [pressurized] tanks (when intelligently carried out) makes the most out of that which is already in the wine.

However much people enjoy it, the Prosecco col fondo route, in my opinion, is blind and has no future. At least as far as Prosecco is concerned.

*****

In a post that appeared earlier this week on Intravino, a Prosecco producer expressed his doubts about the production of ColFondo. It’s not representative of the appellation, he contends, and he attributes its success to aggressive marketing.

After I read the post, I felt obliged to respond and set the record straight.

We began producing ColFondo with the 2008 vintage because we wanted to pay homage to my grandfather and father’s passion for the category. When they started out, this was the type of Prosecco that they made.

We weren’t following an trend or fashion, nor did we believe it would be financially viable.

At first, we produced just over 1,000 bottles. And this year, after only five vintages, we were able to reach 20,000 bottles. On the one hand, this category represents just a small percentage of our total production. But it’s also the one that we are most passionate and excited about each year.

We use our best parcel for the production of our ColFondo and we age it for a minimum of six months in bottle before releasing it on the market. We do everything we can to make it the best it can be and to make sure that it speaks the language of our township, Asolo.

The most fascinating thing about this wine is that it’s never the same: every growing site, every vine, every vintage, and every bottle are different from one another. And for us, this is a sign of vitality and sincerity.

I’d just like to underline, once again, that in my view, Prosecco ColFondo and Prosecco produced with the Martinotti method are equally valid and dignified expressions of our appellation.

In closing, I’d like to quote a Facebook post by my friend, grape grower and winemaker Michele Fino:

The success of Prosecco that has been re-fermented in bottle represents a reaction analogous to [Follador’s] reaction to Martinotti-method Prosecco that does not respect Glera [the grape variety] and the appellation.

Indeed, most consumers and some of the more attentive produces have found in re-fermentation in bottle a way to get back to a wine that is more respectful of the appellation and the grapes.

There’s no doubt that when made with careful primary fermentation and little manipulation, Martinotti-method wines and wines re-fermented in bottle equally express the identity of Prosecco.

For this reason, in my opinion, neither the one nor the other category should be championed to the detriment of the other.

They are two different things. They give different results. They require different approaches in the winemaking process and they each have their own charm. As such, they both contribute in an original way to the appellation: they both champion the diversity of Prosecco in a field that is often perceived as overly commercialized.

Luca Ferraro

Colfondo trademark owner Drusian says he will give the designation to Prosecco consortia

“Colfondo” trademark owner Francesco Drusian appears poised to give the designation to the Prosecco DOCG consortia, according to a report published today by the popular Italian wine blog Intravino.

“After twelve years,” writes Intravino contributor Giovanni Corazzol, “Drusian has expressed his willingness to give the trademark to the two consortia [Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Montello-Colli Asolani]. The consortia will safeguard the trademark and they will incorporate the production method into their appellation regulations. By doing so, they will bring clarity to a field threatened by low-quality products that have been created using illicit means, often outside the DOCG area and often with different grapes.”

At present, the Prosecco DOCG (which applies to both consortia) recognizes and allows for Prosecco re-fermented in bottle as a sanctioned category. But the appellation regulations do not mention nor regulate the designation colfondo.

News of Drusian’s willingness to share the trademark arrived during a Prosecco producers conference organized in Valdobbiadene township last week by Turin university wine law professor Michele Antonio Fino.

Today, the editors of Intravino also shared Fino’s slides, including the following, which addresses the issue of how the term colfondo is used liberally by winemakers and even beer and wine-cooler producers outside of the Prosecco DOCG where it originated.

The Franciacorta designation Satén, created by the Bellavista winery and then given to the appellation’s consortium, offers a precedent, writes Fino.

      – Today, two companies own the trademark

colfondo

      (Drusian and Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene SAC).

 

      – There already exists a tested model that could serve as inspiration: the term

Satén

      (created by a winery [Bellavista, trademarked in 1990] and then given to the Franciacorta consortium with the understanding that the appellation would guarantee its oversight and regulate production of Satén wines)….

 

      – Today, the

colfondo

      trademark is under insidious attack and is being demeaned unscrupulously. It’s being liberally and widely used in a wide range of categories (that often don’t have anything to do with the production of Prosecco DOCGG).

 

      – Of the two private parties who own the trademark, only one currently produces the wine [Drusian].

 

      – The protection of such a beleaguered trademark by private individuals would be particularly complex and costly.

 

    – Were it to become a officially recognized production category, efforts to protect it would be expedited.

With characteristic hyperbole, the editors of Intravino have called the move by Drusian an “epochal shift” and “Prosecco colfondo year zero” (making reference to the 1948 Rossellini neorealist film “Germany Year Zero”).

But as interest and enthusiasm for Prosecco colfondo continue to expand unchecked in Italy, the consortia’s embrace of the category would represent a major victory for colfondo proponents.

On his Facebook today, Bele Casel grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro called it “the beginning of a revolution.”

Translations by Bele Casel blogmaster Jeremy Parzen.

best glass for prosecco

@Bele_Casel: “Why size matters: Colfòndo in MAGNUM!”

prosecco magnum

Starting this week, we are beginning to sell our 2012 Colfòndo in magnums.

Even though we don’t make nearly as much money as we do when we sell the wine in 750ml bottles, there are two reasons that we like to release the wine in large format bottles.

1. The quality of the wine increases considerably in large format.

2. By their very nature, magnums need to be shared with other wine lovers and we hope that you’ll open these bottles with people you love.