As you may already know if you have been reading this blog for a while, I am not a big fan of Prosecco: with very few exceptions (as in the case of Le Colture), I prefer the greater structure, complexity and finer perlage of a good Classic Method sparkling wine over most Charmat-Martinotti Method Prosecco’s.
However… drum roll… enter Valdo, Prosecco Brut Metodo Classico “Numero 10” DOC, the game changer, the ideal bridge connecting Prosecco with Classic Method.
Let’s start from the beginning: the world of sparkling wines (in Italian, “spumante“) is essentially divided into two camps: Classic Method sparklers (the archetype of which is Champagne) and Charmat-Martinotti Method sparklers (such as most Prosecco and Asti Spumante). We have discussed at length the differences between the two methods and the relevant production processes on previous posts, one regarding the Classic Method and the other one the Charmat-Martinotti Method, so you can refer to them in case of doubts.
The point here is that the wine we are going to review today is one of the very few Prosecco’s that are made according to the Classic Method, and therefore through in-bottle refermentation. Let’s dig deeper into it.
About the Grape and the Appellation
The main grape variety that is used in the production of the wine Prosecco was called Prosecco Tondo (now Glera) which DNA profiling has shown to be identical to a rare variety that is indigenous to the Istria region of Croatia named Teran Bijeli. This evidence supports the theory of an Istrian origin for the Prosecco/Glera grape variety. Glera is a partly-aromatic white-berried grape variety (grape variety information taken from Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012).
Prosecco wine is made in two Italian DOCG appellations and in one more loosely regulated inter-regional DOC appellation, as follows:
- Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene (or simply Prosecco di Valdobbiadene) DOCG in the Veneto region, near the town of Treviso;
- Prosecco dei Colli Asolani DOCG in the Veneto region, near and including the town of Asolo;
- Prosecco Spumante DOC, an appellation which covers a vast territory stretching between the regions of Veneto and Friuli.
The regulations of the two DOCG appellations require that their Prosecco wines be made for 85% or more from Glera grapes, to which up to 15% of Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera or Glera Lunga white-berried grapes may be blended. The regulations of the DOC appellation are similar but permit that a few additional grape varieties be blended to the Glera base grapes, as follows: Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir.
About the Producer
Valdo is one of the historical producers of Prosecco in the premium hilly Valdobbiadene area, near the town of Treviso, in Italy’s Veneto region: they have been in the sparkling wine business since 1926.
With its main offices smack in the center of the town of Valdobbiadene, Valdo nowadays is a big player, with an annual production of 5 million bottles, one third of which are exported.
The Valdo wine range is divided into four lines:
- I Frizzanti (fizzy, or slightly sparkling, Prosecco made according to the Charmat-Martinotti Method);
- I Classici (entry-level Prosecco di Valdobbiadene sparkling wines made according to the Charmat-Martinotti Method);
- Gli Spumanti (high-end Prosecco di Valdobbiadene sparkling wines, including vintage wines, made according to the Charmat-Martinotti Method);
- Il Prestigio (the flagship line that comprises the Classic Method Numero 10 and other premium Charmat-Martinotti Method Prosecco’s).
Moving on to the actual review of Valdo, Prosecco Brut Metodo Classico “Numero 10” 2009 DOC, I need to preliminarily point out that unfortunately at this time this wine is not among those in the Valdo range that are imported to the U.S.
I have reached out to Valdo’s U.S. importer to find out if they were planning on making it available in the largest wine market of the world any time soon and they told me that, while no decision has been made yet, it is something they are considering. So… not all hope is lost!
Be as it may, the bottle of Valdo “Numero 10” I had was a typical 12.5% ABV – in Italy, it retails for about €18.
The Numero 10 was made from 100% Glera white-berried grapes grown in Valdo’s vineyards in the premium Valdobbiadene area, which makes the Numero 10 a Blanc de Blancs. After the soft pressing of the grapes, the must goes through a first fermentation phase at 15C/59F. As a result of the subsequent in-bottle refermentation, the wine rests in bottle on its lees for 10 months, plus an additional 6 months following degorgement.
As usual, for my review I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.
In the flute, the Numero 10′s color was an intense straw yellow with golden hints; its perlage was abundant, quite fine and long-lasting.
On the nose, the bouquet of the Numero 10 was intense, quite complex and fine, and especially it was immediately captivating as it seemed to merge the fresh and fruity primary aromas that are typical of the semi-aromatic Glera grapes with the more complex, secondary aromas deriving from the double fermentation process and aging on the lees that are instead typical of a Classic Method sparkling wine. So, its kaleidoscopic bouquet offered aromas of Granny Smith apples, herbs (mint), apricot, and hints of minerals (graphite, chalk) and yeast.
In the mouth, the Numero 10 was dry, quite warm, quite smooth; fresh and tasty. It was medium-bodied and balanced, with intense and fine mouth flavors of minerals, brine, lime, Granny Smith apples and mint. The finish was quite long and its evolutionary state mature (i.e., ready to be enjoyed now).
Overall, as I think you can tell from my tasting notes, I really quite liked this Prosecco: personally, I applaud the producer who departed from the traditional way to make Prosecco (according to the Charmat-Martinotti Method) and instead went the Classic Method way. I think this gave to the Numero 10 that extra complexity and structure that I have almost regularly found lacking in the vast majority of the Prosecco’s that I have had so far. The choice of a relatively short period of aging on the lees also ensured that the secondary aromas would not become too pronounced at the expense of the fresh and fruity primary aromas of the Glera variety. All in all, a really solid sparkling wine for a reasonable price (at least in Italy): I seriously hope that the Numero 10 will become available in the US soon, maybe in time for next spring?…
Rating: Good to Very Good and recommended