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Riflessioni di metà vendemmia – Notes on harvest halfway through

English translation follows below.

prosecco acidity 2014

Oggi non si vendemmia qui alla Bele Casel, oggi si lavora in cantina.

Quest’anno la raccolta dell’uva segue ritmi completamente diversi dagli altri anni, difficilmente riusciamo a vendemmiare per una giornata intera perché qui continua a piovere almeno una volta al giorno e la selezione in vigna porta via molto molto tempo rallentando i normali ritmi.

Il mattino lasciamo asciugare l’uva bagnata dalla pioggia, il pomeriggio si raccoglie l’uva finché le condizioni meteo ce lo permettono.

Situazione sanitaria:

Sanità delle uve nel complesso è buona, alcuni vigneti soffrono un poco ed abbiamo quindi deciso di anticipare la raccolta, altre vigne hanno uva sanissima quindi attenderemo ancora qualche giorno.

Cominceremo a raccogliere la Glera di Maser (in parte), Monfumo e le colline di Caerano verso la fine di questa settimana.

Maturazione:

Ad oggi abbiamo raccolto parte della vigna di Cornuda, parte delle vigne di Maser e la vigna di Caerano.

Le analisi che facciamo giornalmente ci dicono che l’acidità è più alta rispetto agli altri anni, soprattutto quella malica e la gradazione zuccherina leggermente più bassa.

Dobbiamo tutto ciò alla mancanza di caldo e sole del mesi di luglio e agosto.

Per noi che facciamo spumanti è un problema relativo visto che tutti i nostri vini dovranno fare una seconda fermentazione che porterà la gradazione alcolica a circa 11°.

Qualità delle uve:

Non vi nascondo che fino a poche settimane fa ero molto pessimista, pensavo che tutta quest’acqua avesse reso l’uva insipida, poco saporita.

Ho tirato un sospiro di sollievo usando i primi grappoli di Glera sono entrati in cantina.

Fermentazioni:

I primi serbatoi hanno cominciato a fermentare e sembra non ci siano particolari problemi.

Forse è arrivato il tempo di essere ottimisti ed aspettare che la verità esca da sola quando appoggeremo il naso nel bicchiere dell’Asolo Prosecco Docg Superiore.

Luca Ferraro
vignaiolo

*****

Yesterday we didn’t pick grapes here at Bele Casel. We worked in the cellar instead.

This year, the grape harvest has a rhythm completely different from other years. It’s been difficult to pick over the course of a whole day because it continues to rain at least once a day here. The selection of the grapes in the vineyards takes up a lot of time and as a result, the normal rhythms of harvest are much slower.

In the morning we let the wet grapes dry. In the afternoon, we pick grapes as long as the weather permits.

State of the grapes:

Overall, the health of the grapes is good. Some vineyards have had a few problems and so we decided to pick on the early side. Other vines have very healthy fruit and so we’ll wait another few days to pick them.

We’ll begin picking Glera grapes in Maser (in part), Monfumo, and the Caerano hillsides toward the end of this week.

Ripening:

To date, we have picked part of the Cornuda vineyard, part of the Maser vineyard, and the Caerano vineyard as well.

We analyze the grapes every day and we have found that the acidity is much higher with respect to previous vintages. The malic acid in particular is high and the sugar content is slightly lower.

We attribute this to the fact that warm weather and sunshine didn’t arrive in July and August.

For sparkling winemakers like us, this is somewhat of a problem because all of our wines need to undergo a second fermentation that will take the alcohol level to roughly 11 percent.

Quality of the grapes:

I can’t hide the fact that I was very pessimistic up until a few weeks ago. I thought all of this water would have made the grapes insipid and lacking in flavor.

But I was very relieved when the first Glera bunches arrived at the winery.

Fermentation:

Fermentation in the first tanks has begun and there don’t seem to be any problems.

Maybe it’s time to be optimistic and wait until the truth emerges on its own when we stick our noses into a glass of Asolo Prosecco DOCG Superiore.

Luca Ferraro
grape grower and winemaker

All dressed up and nowhere to go…

wine crates

From the Bele Casel Facebook today:

We went to work this morning full of excitement, thinking we would begin harvesting tomorrow.

But it ended up raining all day and our vineyard in Cornuda is unworkable.

We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow and decide then what we’re going to do.

—Luca Ferraro
grape grower and winemaker

Prosecco harvest has begun!

prosecco harvest 2014

Grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro posted the photo above on the Bele Casel Facebook earlier today: he and the Ferraro family began picking their grapes this early morning.

If you’ve been following along here on the blog, you know that this is going to be an extremely challenging vintage for them: heavy rains in July and unusually cool temperatures in August created some serious issues in the vineyards.

But the last few weeks have been sunny and things are looking up. And Luca is confident that the best vineyards will deliver excellent fruit with high levels of acidity.

The fact that he began picking today is a very positive sign: he was concerned, at one point, that the fruit wouldn’t be ready until later in September. But the first week of September is a “classic” time to begin the harvest there.

Stay tuned: we’ll be translating and posting updates as they arrive from the vineyards and the winery.

A great profile of Prosecco & its rise by @BenODonn (but where’s Asolo?)

map asolo prosecco

Above: Asolo is one of three townships that produces Prosecco DOCG. Click on the map above to enlarge.

We really enjoyed two blog posts this week by Wine Spectator editor Ben O’Donnell, “One Nation Under Prosecco,” part 1 and part 2.

Ben offers an excellent overview of how Prosecco became such a popular wine in the U.S. and where it’s heading.

“Are we really going to be drinking $50 bottles of Prosecco, comparing the nuances of village terroirs side by side in 10 years’ time?” he asks in his conclusion. “It’s a question that has been asked and answered, in the affirmative, of dozens of wine styles over the past 50 years, and we’re only getting more open-minded about our wine. The mantle of Italy’s premier sparkling wine is up for the taking, and in Treviso, they’re moving all the right pieces to claim the crown.”

They’re both great posts and it’s remarkable to think how far Prosecco has come in the last two decades.

Our only lament is that he omits Asolo, which is part of the DOCG.

Many Americans are challenged when asked to pronounce Valdobbiadene (vahl-dohb-BEE’AH-deh-neh). And Conegliano can be tricky, too (koh-neh-l’yee-AH-noh).

Asolo (AH-zo-loh) is a bit easier to say out loud but sadly it’s often forgotten when the DOCG is brought up in conversation.

In all fairness, the Prosecco DOCG consortium hasn’t done much to promote awareness of Asolo’s corner of the appellation. It’s much smaller than Valdobbiadene and Conegliano and its production is dwarfed by that of its sister townships.

One of the reasons we started this blog was to draw attention to the beautiful Asolani hills and the great wines produced there.

Please do check out Ben’s great posts. We highly recommend them.

But please don’t forget Asolo!

Prosecco diaries: agosto 2014

Please click here for an English translation.

Agosto, altro mese difficile.

Le piogge, pur in quantità minore rispetto al mese di luglio hanno creato qualche problema.

L’ultima parte di questo mese invece è stato asciutto, soleggiato e particolarmente freddo per questo periodo.

8 agosto – le prove fatte nell’orto con del compost vegetale danno i loro frutti, la fertilità della terra sta migliorando a vista d’occhio.

earthworm composting

17 agosto – come vi dicevo prima da metà agosto la situazione meteo è migliorata nettamente e l’umore in casa Bele Casel pure.

prosecco sunset

18 agosto – i grappoli di Glera sono gonfi di acqua, e di una dimensione straordinaria.

prosecco grapes 2014 rain

19 agosto – durante un controllo in vigna decidiamo di raccogliere dei grappoli e mostrarveli per farvi capire con che uve lavoriamo. Come potete vedere dal vestiario di Paola, la giornata non era molto calda.

paola ferraro prosecco

Questo il risultato:

bianchetta grape variety prosecco

21 agosto – continuano le giornate soleggiate.

sunny day prosecco asolo

22 agosto – decidiamo di togliere tutte le foglie della parete ad est e qualche grappolo che crea affastellamento e probabili problemi di marciume.

deleafing vineyard vine prosecco

25 agosto – prove di abbinamenti tra ColFondo e formaggi francesi.

french cheese wine pairing

26 agosto – cominciamo a segare l’erba col decespugliatore sul sottofila per evitare ristagni di umidità.

cover crop prosecco asolo

27 agosto – ennesimo controllo in vigna, vi spieghiamo con un video la situazione nel vigneto di Cornuda.

29 agosto – la situazione nella vigna di Monfumo è nettamente diversa.

30 agosto – grappoli di Glera nella vigna di Caerano.

glera bunch vintage 2014 prosecco

—Luca Ferraro
vignaiolo

Prosecco Diaries – August 2014

Clicca qui per la versione italiana.

August, another difficult month.

Rainfall, although less than July’s, created some problems.

The last part of the month was dry, though, sunny and unusually cool for this time of year.

August 8 – our vegetal compost experiments in the garden started to bear their fruits. You can see how the soil’s fertility is improving.

earthworm composting

August 17 – as I was saying earlier, the weather situation got decidedly better around mid-August and the mood in the Bele Casel home improved as well.

prosecco sunset

August 18 – the Glera bunches are swollen with water and they’re unusually large.

prosecco grapes 2014 rain

August 19 – during one of our visits to the vineyards, we decide to pick some bunches so that we can show you the quality of the grapes we work with. As you can see from my sister Paola’s sweater, it wasn’t very warm that day.

paola ferraro prosecco

Here’s the photo she took:

bianchetta grape variety prosecco

August 21 – more sunny days.

sunny day prosecco asolo

August 22 – we decided to remove all the leaves from the eastern wall of the vineyards and we also removed a few bunches that were showing signs of rot.

deleafing vineyard vine prosecco

August 25 – we experimented with pairings of ColFòndo and French cheeses.

french cheese wine pairing

August 26 – we began mowing the grasses between the rows so as to reduce humidity in the soil.

cover crop prosecco asolo

August 27 – the umpteenth visit to the vineyards.

August 29 – the situation in the Monfumo vineyard is much different.

August 30 – Glera bunches in the Caerano vineyard.

glera bunch vintage 2014 prosecco

—Luca Ferraro
grape grower, winemaker

Healthy grapes, old vines, and hope for great wine in Monfumo

In the following video (in Italian), grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro walks us through his Monfumo vineyard.

The grapes are healthy there, he explains, in part thanks to the excellent exposure.

Because of its steep slopes, he works the vineyard entirely by hand.

And using only copper, sulfur, and algae treatments this year, he has disease- and rot-free vineyard.

One of the most impressive shots is an old, gnarly vine, greater in width than his hand (“and I have large hands!” he notes).

He plans to cut the grasses between the rows to help eliminate humidity as he prepares for harvest, he says.

All he needs is sunshine and he should be able to make great wines from this vineyard, even in this extremely challenging vintage.

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