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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.