Category: Senza categoria @en

Berry Brothers and Rudd: A note on Bele Casel releases from England’s premier wine merchant

The shop isn’t just a benchmark for wine sales. It’s also a top resource for great wine writing.

Berry Brothers and Rudd. Every heard of it? It’s the leading wine merchant of the British Kingdom. And it’s also Bele Casel’s importer in England.

We visited with the outfit’s Italian buyer, David Berry Green, this year at Vinitaly, the annual wine trade fair held in Verona. He tasted through our new releases with his staff. And here’s what he wrote last week on the shop’s web site and online portal.

We are the biggest fans of David and his honest approach to wine writing. And he’s probably the best taster we’ve ever tasted with. He’s also a super nice guy, btw!

Here’s what he had to say about this year’s releases from Bele Casel:

“Among the Asolo hills, Prosecco producers Bele Casel were also ‘burnt’ by April 2017’s frost, reducing their yield by up to 20%. That’s not as bad as the 30% lost to the frost by the 600 million bottle Prosecco market, mostly to plantings on the plains! Unbowed, Bele Casel’s Ferraro family continues to focus on high quality, organic Glera, Manzoni, Bianchetta, Perera, Boschera & Rabbiosa grapes from the hilly Asolo villages of Cornuda, Maser & Monfumo (hit hard in 2017 alas). Their new Extra Brut (4 grams RS) continues the trend for drier Prosecco, even among the US market. While later this year/early next, they will be releasing two new wines: Asolo Prosecco Colfondo ‘Quindici’, a special, vintage bottling & label that celebrates the pretty cassis fruit of the successful 2015 vintage. And then there’s ‘Uve Vecchie’, a (2017) Asolo Prosecco that blends the above 6 ancient Prosecco varieties from across their 10 hectares, which has been aged for 12 months in tank… a dry wine that sings of prati del montagne/mountain meadows!”

From the Wikipedia entry on the shop:

“Berry Bros. & Rudd (founded 1698) has been the official wine supplier to the British Royal Family since the reign of King George III and received its first Royal Warrant of Appointment in 1903 from King Edward VII. Queen Elizabeth II granted the company her royal warrant in 1995, while Charles, Prince of Wales granted it his in 1998.”

Image via David Skinner’s Flickr.

California and Hawaii sun, excessive rainfall back home. Prosecco Diaries May 2016

California and Hawaii were so welcoming during our May visits. Excessive rainfall back home was worrisome.

May is the month of flowering, a very delicate period for the grape grower that forces us to keep our guard up high and spend many hours in the vineyards to make sure that everything is proceeding correctly. Having rot in the vineyards during this period is a gamble that Glera grapes can’t afford. We could risk having significant damage on the grape bunches. 255 milliliters of rain fell during this year in May. That’s a lot for this time of year.

May 2 – Serving and storing temperature is so important. That’s why we believe that the choice of the right wine fridge is essential.

prosecco asolo temperatura

May 4 – Today we realized that it wasn’t the right moment to use our we torcher. The hay from the manure we spread last fall could be very dangerous.

pirodiserbio vigna bio

May 9 – From left, clockwise: Glera, Marzemina Bianca, and Rabbiosa.

glera rabbiosa

May 16 – A tasting on the Island of the Roses (Isola delle Rose) in Venice.

isola delle rose venezia

At the same time, we were also in California for the beginning of a wine tasting tour. First stop was a tasting at the Italian-American museum in San Francisco.

bele casel san francisco

And then we went to Biondivino, one of our favorite wine shops anywhere in the world.

bele casel biondivino

May 20 – Lunch Valentino Santa Monica. We had the honor of meeting Piero Selvaggio, the man who changed Italian cuisine in the United States. Here’s a perfect pairing: Our Extra Brut with fried zucchini blossoms, cheese, and balsamic vinegar.

valentino santa monica

Then we went to Sotto to say hello to Christine Veys, the restaurant’s sommelier and general manager. They serve our ColFondo by the glass.

colfondo los angeles

And we had dinner at a restaurant called Pistola, where our Extra Dry is served by the glass from magnums.

bele casel los angeles

May 23 – The first day of our tastings in Hawaii in Honolulu. How could we not wear a necklace of orchids? It’s called a lei.

bele casel hawaii

Dinner at The Pig and the Lady. Andrew Le, the chef did such a great job pairing our wines with really interesting dishes.

bele casel extra dry hawaii

May 24 – Then we headed to Kauai, another one of the Hawaiian islands where we did a seminar and tasting at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort.

colfondo bele casel hawaii

May 26 – The last day in Hawaii. Tasting at the restaurant Spago at the Four Seasons on Maui.

prosecco bele casel hawaii

May 27 – Flowering has begun in the vineyards in Caerano. If everything goes well, the harvest will begin during the first ten days of September. Here are the dates of flowering from past years:

May 21, 2015, May 22, 2014, June 6, 2013, May 29, 2012.

prosecco asolo docg

May 28 – Working in the vineyards, you always discover new life.


Prosecco Diaries January: brusar a vècia!

Brusar a vècia, a classic tradition of winter in the Veneto.

Luckily, the warm temperatures of early 2016 began to come down. The weather factor is very important during the budding of the vines. The hotter it is, the faster the buds swell up. And that’s a big problem because a lot of time is needed to complete pruning.

gala asolo

January 3 – What’s the best way to start 2016 off right?
Asolo Matinée a gala event that brings a little bit of Vienna to Asolo.

After the show, a toast with our Extra Dry.

pan e vin

January 5 – Just like every year, it’s traditional to “brusar a vècia,” in other words, “burn the old lady at the stake.” You don’t actually burn an old lady but you do make a bonfire and then make predictions about the harvest according to the direction of the flames and the smoke.

“Se ‘l fumo va verso sera (if the smokes moves toward the sunset)
tanta poénta s ‘a calièra! (there will be plenty of polenta [food] in the pot = the harvest will be bountiful)
Se ‘l fumo va a matìna (if the smoke moves toward the sunrise)
ciote el saco e va a farina!” (go get your sack and harvest some flour = the harvest won’t be one of the best)

colli asolani

January 15 – The hills of Asolo illuminated by the morning light.

gemme glera

January 15 – That film on the buds seems to indicate the bud break is close. This is worrisome.

prosecco winter fancy food sf

January 18 – We are showing our wines together with others from the Italian Federation of Independent Grape Growers (FIVI) at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2016 in San Francisco.

temperature potatura

January 19 – Now we can really get to work. Pruning at 6° below zero strengthens your body and your mind. Too bad the thermometer was below zero for just a few days!

potatura pausa

January 19 – This is the only way to warm your fingers when they are frozen!

prosecco quotidiano

January 21 – Great to see coverage of Bele Casel in the local papers.

vecchi grappoli

January 25 – Old bunches.


January 27 – Necessity is the mother of invention. That’s a grape grower’s spoon!

Meg Maker recommends our Colfòndo: “Not your fairy godmother’s Prosecco.”

As the end of the year rolls around, scores of writers post their recommendations for sparkling wine for your New Year’s Eve.

We were thrilled to learn that Meg Houston Maker, author of the popular wine blog Maker’s Table and contributor to some of our favorite wine blogs and online magazines, included our Colfòndo in her round-up of her top picks of wines that “don’t fit neatly into stereotypes.”

This wine “blooms open,” she writes. “It’s proteinaceous at first, later more citrusy, with a strong vein of earth, like clay and wet stones. Its strident cleansing acidity is accentuated by a fizzy mousse, but mostly it’s crunchy, with minerals and salt and almond-extract bitterness (which is adorable). The finishing hit of yeasty lees adds textural, savory abundance. Not your fairy godmother’s Prosecco.”

You may remember that we published a post here a few weeks ago about the different ways to write col fondo. The post was inspired by a query from Meg that she crowd-sourced on her Facebook and Twitter.

We write it colfòndo because we like the way that it scans on the label of the bottle.

We add the accent grave on the stressed syllable not because we don’t think that people don’t know how to pronounce colfondo. But rather because we like the way it looks.

Whether you write it col fondo or colfondo (or colfòndo), the designation refers to the fact that this is bottle-fermented Prosecco that has not been disgorged. In other words, the sediment (fondo) is still in the bottle (col fondo or colfondo means “with its sediment”).

Some people like to store the bottle upright so that the sediment gathers on the bottom. This makes it easier to decant when you serve it.

Others like to gently turn the bottle upside down to mix the sediment in the wine, making it cloudy and giving it a more salty character and crunchy texture.

However you serve it, it’s delicious!

Happy new year, everyone!

The Story of Bele Casel in a video by Vino Diretto

The story of Bele Casel

The story of Bele Casel began when our grandfather Ilario decided to give his little vineyard to mum and dad. The winery, which you definitely wouldn’t have called like that, actually was a simple room where they used to label and bottle by night after work or during the weekend. The only wine they produced was ColFondo (here an interesting post where we explain how ColFondo is made) that was put in our granmother’s living room in order to let the second fermentation start.

Bele Casel, today

Things have changed and today the whole family is working in the business. We produce four Proseccos:  ColFondo, the Extra Brut, the Extra Dry e the Dry. The difference between these wines is in terms of, apart from the residual sugar levels, origin. Every wine has its own story and its origin. Everyone of our vineyards on the hills has well defined characteristics that identifies our wines.

Thank you to Vino Diretto for having realised this video that sums up what we were and what we are.


One of Treviso’s artistic jewels: The Tempio by Antonio Canova

Over on their Facebook, the Ferraros recently posted this gorgeous photo of the hills of Asolo as seen from the nineteenth-century Tempio (Temple) by Italian sculptor, painter, and architect Antonio Canova.

Canova was born in the township of Possagno in Treviso province, not far from the Bele Casel winery and its vineyards, where the Ferraro family grows Glera and other indigenous grape varieties for its Asolo Prosecco DOCG.

In the early 1800s, he was asked to restore and rebuild the church in his hometown.

The result was what is now referred to as the Tempio Canoviano (the “Canovian Temple”) one of the great masterworks of Italy’s neoclassical movement during the nineteenth century.

Antonio Canova’s Tempio is just one of the major works by him that can still be viewed in Treviso province.

Even though he went to Rome to study, sculpt, and paint in his early 20s and became one of the leading forces of the art world in Italy at the time, he later returned to his native land where he executed some of the most famous works of art in the world today, many of which can also be found outside of Italy in places liked the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The most amazing thing is that you can view some of great works at the Canova museum in Possagno, not far from Asolo.

Some of his works can also be seen in the Municipal Museum of Asolo proper.

What does “col fondo” mean? How do you translate it?

So many people in Britain and America are talking about Prosecco col fondo these days.

But whenever it comes to translating col fondo into English, there seem to be myriad ways it can be rendered in the world’s de facto lingua franca.

The expression col fondo, which we write as colfòndo on our own label, means literally with the bottom. That’s not the correct translation. But it is the literal meaning.

The word col is actually what is called in grammar an articulated preposition. It is a combination of the preposition con, which means with in Italian, and the definite (masculine) article il, meaning the.

As you can imagine and/or surmise, fondo, from the Latin fundus, means (literally) bottom.

So that’s the literal meaning.

But what’s the best and most correct translation?

Prosecco Col Fondo is a Proescco that’s been aged on its lees. Lees are the dead yeast cells and other solids that form the sediment of wine after fermentation.

In most cases, the lees are filtered out of wine. But in the case of Prosecco Col Fondo, the lees are left in the bottle (look out for a discussion of what Prosecco Col Fondo is and tastes like in our next post).

So while some might prefer to translate the expression col fondo as with its sediment, the best translation of Prosecco col fondo is lees-aged Prosecco.

The beautiful Palladian Villa Maser, a UNESCO Heritage site

It’s only natural that wine bloggers like us would spend an inordinate amount of time talking about and writing about wine. We are wine bloggers after all! And that’s what we do.

But sometimes, we get so immersed in wine that we forget that Italy has so much more to offer beyond its food and wine heritage, resources, and traditions.

The photo (above) reminded us that Asolo township (in Treviso province) is the home to one of the biggest gatherings of villas designed by Venetian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who is considered to be the father of western architecture and the model for neoclassical design from the Renaissance onward.

It was Palladio who studied and started to base his works on the writings of Roman architect Vitruvius, whose manuscripts on architecture had been recently discovered at the time.

The Villa Maser is not only one of the most famous examples of Palladian architecture but is also one of the sites included in UNESCO Heritage registry (under “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto”). In case you’re not familiar with it, UNESCO stands for “United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.”

Not only is the Villa Maser beautiful to see from the outside, it also contains some of Italy’s greatest works of art on the inside, like the frescoes of Paolo Veronese, a contemporary of Palladio and one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance. He is known primarily today for his large history paintings. And he’s one of the three great Venetian painters to emerge from that era (Titian and Tintoretto are the others).

You can visit the villa (click here for the website). And it’s also the backdrop for numerous concerts and exhibitions throughout the course of the year.

So the next time you head to Prosecco country, don’t forget that you have a UNESCO heritage site at your finger tips!

Luca to lead Franciacorta seminar at FIVI Wine Fair

We are thrilled to share the news that Luca will be leading the inaugural seminar this year at the annual Italian Federation of Independent Grape Growers (FIVI) fair and market in November (29-30).

This year’s theme for the opening seminar is Franciacorta.

Click here for the complete schedule and registration info.

FIVI is Italy’s leading association for independent grape growers. Its member must grow, vinify, bottle, and sell their own wines (no négociants or bottlers are allowed to join).

Luca has served on its advisory board for some time now. And in recent years, the body has become one of the most important voices and lobbying groups for independent grape growers in Italy.

As a grower and producer of Prosecco, it’s a great honor for him to have been chosen to present Franciacorta (a separate appellation in a different region than his).

“To be honest,” he wrote on his Facebook, “I’m really nervous about this. Leading a tasting like this for such an important appellation and wineries is an enormous responsibility. I promise to do my best.”

You can view the flight of wines Luca will be pouring on Facebook.

Franciacorta is a classic method wine while Prosecco can be a Charmat method or an ancestral method wine.

Franciacorta is grown in Brescia province in the region of Lombardy.

Prosecco is grown in Treviso province in the region of Veneto.