Cortina d’Impezzo is called the jewel of the Dolomites, host to the 1956 Winter Olympics, so while the region is known more for its fabulous skiing than vineyards (imagine what wines would be like from Azienda Agricola di Aspen), for practicality’s sake we will focus on the wines from neighboring Conegliano. This is Prosecco land.
Chances are one of two things just happened when you read the word “Prosecco”. Either you were reminded of insipid, bland, inexpensive, awful tasting wine with bubbles the size of nickels that you drank at your cousin’s bar mitzvah or while idling time in an airport bar, or you thought of the fantastic, elegant wines that had more race to them than the Kentucky Derby. If you drink a wine that is solely labeled as “Prosecco” chances are that you are drinking stuff from the flatlands, where the focus is churning out as many bottles of possible, without attention to finesse, but choose a bottle from the hillside vineyards of Prosecco di Conegilano-Valdobiaddene and things start to get interesting. There are a number of different styles, with the wines from the lower hills around Conegliano tending to be richer but less refined than those from the higher hills around Valdobbiadene, and the best being Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze, from a specific hill in the township of Valdobbiadene. If you’d rather a still wine there’s still Prosecco too, but more on that later.
Conegliano’s reputation as a land of excellent wines is cited in documents going back to the 10th century- Italians thrive on boasting their history. In 1606 a report sent by the Podestà of Conegliano to the Senate mentions the first international demand for the wines of Conegliano with buyers traveling from as far away as Germany and Poland and not hesitating to offer exorbitant bids to assure themselves of the finest output: imagine the demand for a top Burgundy/Bordeaux today and you will get the picture. One reason why Prosecco di Conegliano has had a constantly high level of quality within recent years is due to the presence of the School of Viticulture and Enology of Conegliano, which was founded in 1876. Since its establishment, the school has served as a point of reference for scientific and technological research by the whole of modern Italian enology.
On to the stats. Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobiaddene DOC must contain up to 85% of the Prosecco grape (yes, Prosecco is the name of the grape that the wine is made from) and up to 15% of any combination of Verdisio/Bianchetta/Perera/Prosecco lungo. At its best, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobiaddene is bright, zesty, with a noted almond character.
Come join us at Babbo this month for a glass of Prosecco and imagine yourself high in the Dolomites, getting your ski on.