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From the importer:
If it seems unusual that Pierluigi Lugano, the proprietor and vignaiolo behind Bisson in Liguria, is also our source for the declassified Prosecco known as Glera, one might ask how this wine came to be. After all, Prosecco hails from an appellation 400 kilometers to the northeast of Lugano’s hometown of Chiavari in Liguria, in an area of the Veneto abutting the foothills of the Dolomites.
Lugano’s tie to the area is his longtime friend Eli Spagnol, who is the proprietor of Torre Zecchei in Valdobbiadene. This location is important to note, as it is the namesake of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, arguably the finest site for Prosecco in the region. All of the wines in this appellation are sourced exclusively from the Glera grape, which is how we came to the name “Glera” for our bottling. The sole reason the Glera is not classified under the DOCG is the closure: the wine is under a crown cap, which falls outside of recently changed appellation laws that require a cork closure. We have experimented with returning to a cork for this wine, but ultimately made the decision to stay with the crown after careful consideration of feedback from the market.
While most of the more commercial wine labeled as Prosecco is sourced from flat, machine-worked vineyard land in the plains below the foothills, the wine sourced from the Valdobbiadene appellation is from steeply-sloped hillsides in the series of valleys ranging east from the village. The soil is composed of glacial deposits from the Dolomites. Due to the landscape, all of the vines must be worked by hand at every stage of the growing season, including harvest. Yields for standard DOC Prosecco are permitted up to 180hl/ha, while the DOCG around Valdobbiadene limits production to 135hl/ha.
Torre Zecchei counts 15 hectares of vineyard holdings, and it also collaborates with a neighboring estate on an additional 15 hectares of vines, providing the equivalent of 30 hectares under direct supervision. Average vine age is around 40 years, which is maintained by only replacing vines that have become too old or sick to continue production. The manual harvest usually occurs towards mid-September, when potential alcohol levels are around 9.7%. This is the ideal level for Prosecco, as even 10-10.5% is pushing the upper limits, for reasons we will discuss later.
After the fruit enters the cuverie, a pneumatic press slowly crushes the fruit, which generally lasts about four hours per session. The first dose of Sulphur dioxide is administered here. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats and lasts approximately ten days, with one racking halfway through to remove the gross lees. A second and final shot of Sulphur dioxide is applied after fermentation, which brings the total SO2 addition to a mere 40mg/L.
Over the next three months, the wine rests in steel tanks, with an occasional racking as needed. A 15-day fining is performed through the addition of bentonite, and then the wine is filtered through a 0.45 micron tangential cartridge filter. The base wine is generally through all of these steps and finished by February 1st.
To take the wine from the still base to frizzante, the Charmat method is employed, where a secondary fermentation in tank provides the pressure to the wine prior to bottling. One of the outcomes of the Charmat method is a retention and emphasis on the freshness of fruit, with no effect of any aromatic material from the yeasts used for secondary fermentation. In contrast, “Metodo Classico” spumante, also known as the classic Champagne method where secondary fermentation occurs in bottle, is actually partly dependent on the secondary fermentation yeasts to achieve the flavors that ensure the ‘house style’ is consistently produced.
To begin, the base wine is racked into a special tank called an Autoclave, which can handle high-pressure contents, up to nine atmospheres. Yeast and concentrated grape must are added and the temperature is brought up to 17-18 degrees Celcius, which launches the secondary fermentation. The reason for the grape must as the sugar source is actually political, as grape growers in the warm and “organized” southern provinces of Italy needed an outlet for their grapes that were too high in natural sugar to make reasonable wines. In the middle of the 20th century, they used their influence in the government to make it law that all frizzante wines must use grape must for secondary fermentation. “Metodo Classico” wines evaded this requirement due to the relatively insignificant volumes being produced during that era, so to this day, they may use cane sugar if they so choose. The question isn’t necessary qualitative, however the mandate from the state for all Prosecco removes the option for growers in the appellation to use other types of sugar if desired.
Over a period that lasts roughly 15 days, the temperature is lowered on the Autoclave as the pressure rises from the conversion of sugar to alcohol. At the end of the process, the wine what will become Glera reaches nearly four atmospheres (atm) of pressure and adds about 0.9% alcohol to the wine. The formula that is followed is 4g/L of sugar creates 1 atm of pressure, and it takes 16.5g of sugar to create 1% alcohol. Thus by adding 15-16g of sugar to the base wine of 9.7% alc., the final wine arrives at 10.6% alc. with roughly four atmospheres of pressure. The final element here is the question of residual sugar in the finished wine, as Prosecco is essentially never left completely dry, with zero residual sugar. In fact, most commercial Prosecco runs on the sweet side, in the 12-18g/L of residual sugar. We prefer a much dryer style and ask Bisson to limit sugar levels to 2-3g/L, which is among the lowest level found anywhere. So for Bisson’s Glera, the level of sugar added for the secondary fermentation would be in the neighborhood of 6g/L, with 4g/L undergoing fermentation, then the temperature is brought down to arrest the fermentation, leaving the 2g/L in the finished wine.
To provide some context for the pressure differences in frizzante and spumante wines, the appellation laws consider wines up to 2.5 atm to be frizzante, while anything above 3 atm is spumante. This puts Bisson’s Glera into an awkward place, as by the time it reaches bottle, the wine still retains about 3.5 atm of pressure, which is what Bisson says is required to maintain a finer and more elegant bubble. To be considered spumante, the wine would need to be under a mushroom cork (ie. typical Champagne cork), which is not the case for the Glera. So, we effectively have a spumante wine, labeled as a frizzante, though it conforms to neither set of guidelines as currently produced and packaged. Let’s leave it at that and avoid getting the appellation board involved here.
After the wine finishes secondary fermentation, it is filtered again to ensure those last 2g/L of sugar are not put back to work with any leftover yeast. Now the wine is in its final Autoclave tank and ready for bottling. A hose connects the tank to the bottling line, then the bottles start to move while the pressurized wine flows from the tank into each bottle. The bottles must be lowered to the same temperature as the wine (about 2 degrees Celsius) to prevent any bubbles from being released when the wine hits the glass. Of course the bottling chamber must also be kept as a vacuum to keep the bubbles intact in the wine. The crown cap is applied immediately, the bottles are labeled, and now ready to be sent around the world and enjoyed.
Blend of Perera, Bianchetta, Verdiso, Grapariol, Boschera, and Glera Lunga
Produced and Bottled by Azienda Agricola Vigna San Lorenzo S.S.
From the Tamarìe hill, an organic sparkling white wine refermented in the bottle (col fondo or sur lie), obtained from the native grapes of the Treviso tradition (Glera, Bianchetta, Boschera, Grapariol, Perera, Verdiso). Harvest at the end of September with manual harvesting in small boxes. Vinification with indigenous yeasts without addition of sulfur dioxide, short maceration on the skins (1-2 days). The wine rests all winter with its own yeasts and is then bottled in April with the previous year’s must in order to produce the second fermentation in the bottle in the first heat. Refinement in the bottle 10 months minimum before release.
Marche IGT Bianco Frizzante
SIGHT: Pale yellow color, veiled.
NOSE: Intense, very persistent, fine, fruity with hints of yeast, bread making, wild fennel.
TASTE: Dry, acidulous, refreshing, quite soft; great persistence, very balanced, fine.
GASTRONOMIC COMBINATIONS: The evolution of taste – olfactory characteristics makes this product suitable for fatty dishes based on cured meats, or any fish-based dish; excellent as an aperitif.
PRODUCTION AREA: Hills and foothills in the Castellaretta district (about 442 m. S.l.m.) in the municipality of Staffolo.
VINEYARD: The vineyard has an extension of about 1 HA.
HARVEST: 80 quintals of grapes per hectare.
SOIL: of calcareous-clayey origin
VARIETY: Verdicchio 80%, Trebbiano 20%.
HARVEST: Carried out manually in the optimal ripening period.
AGING: After the harvesting and pressing of the grapes, spontaneous fermentation takes place, with the “pied de cuve” technique; at the end of the fermentation the wine is bottled so that it can finish the fermentation in the bottle and thus become sparkling. This part of the fermentation has a variable duration ranging from a couple of weeks up to even 40-50 days. During this step the wine remain in
aging in the cellar, with the bottles horizontally in order to favor the contact between the wine and its lees Refinement before sale lasts at least 6 months.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 11.5%
SERVICE TEMPERATURE: 8-10 ° C.
PERIOD OF OPTIMAL CONSUMPTION: 1-2 years after harvest.
Fondo Luogaccio, San Giuseppe di Comacchio (FE), Bosco Eliceo
The harvest is strictly carried out by hand and it normally takes place during the first decade of October. Grapes are destemmed and pressed and then left to macerate on the skins for about 24/36 hours. The spontaneous fermentation lasts about two weeks and then the wine is kept in cement tanks for 60 days until the primary fermentation. The secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle (Champenoise method), without racking off the lees. Bottle aging for some months, prior to the selling of the product.
From The Importer:
MARIOTTI ‘SÈT E MÈZ’ FORTANA DELL’EMILIA ROSATO
WHY BE CURIOUS: Beach vines! Beach wines! The unique Bosco Eliceo has vines on the beach, and a long tradition of making frizzante m etodo ancestrale wines with extremely old vines, some reaching more than 100 years old.
WHO: the ever charming and quirky Mirco Mariotti; recreational Sèt e Mèz card player (similar to Blackjack).
WHERE: Emilia-Romagna region, in the unique seacoast area of the Bosco Eliceo, the “one grand cru for the rare Fortana grape.”* Salty, sandy, windy, with alternating fog and sun makes for a dramatic place for vines to grow.
TASTE: Frizzante pressure, vinified bone dry. Tart red cherry, sea salt, high hats riffs of bitter quinine.
REGION: Emilia-Romagna. GROWING AREA: Bosco Eliceo. FARMING: Practicing organic.
VINEYARD: 5 Ha.
ALTITUDE: -1 m / -3 ft (first negative elevation wine we have).
SOILS: 89% sand, 7% clay, 4% lime.
VARIETIES: 100% Fortana.
VINE AGE: Extremely old vines. Almost 80 years old vines (planted in 1952), and ultra 100 year old vines on native rootstock (piede franco). Some vines grow on the web-mother of all training systems: Propaggine.
VINE TRAINING: Cordon and Guyot. Vine roots are 1.5 meters deep.
HARVEST DATE: beginning of October.
YEASTS: first fermentation in tank with native yeasts and then second done in bottle with addition of grape must from same year.
FERMENTATION: 20days, without temperature control,1day on the skins.
MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION: No.
SULPHUR: 48 mg/L total.
ALCOHOL: 11.5%. ANNUALPRODUCTION: 800 cases.
* Ian d’Agata’s Native Wine Grapes of Italy.
Colli di Luni D.O.C. Vermentino
Fosso di Corsano
The ‘Fosso di Corsano’ by Terenzuola is a Vermentino white wine from the Colli di Luni with elegant mineral notes. A wine obtained from a production philosophy that tends to biodynamic!
This Vermentino has a delicate straw yellow color and subtle aromas. Elegant notes of Mediterranean scrub yes followed by floral memories of broom and fresh and crisp fruit. The flavor is intense and dominated from a very pleasant citrus flavor, makes the tongue snap! The finish is long, subtle and slightly almondy.
Vines: Vermentino 100%
Vineyards: Located in the municipality of Fosdinovo at an altitude between 200 and 350 meters above sea level. Schisty and rich in skeleton soil for the main vineyard of about 3 hectares, in the remaining parcels the soil is mainly sandy.
Plant: Guyot training system with an average density of 8,400 plants per hectare.
Harvest: Manual, divided by ripening of the different plots during the last weeks of September and the first of October.
Vinification: Soft systems for the reception of the grapes, short cold maceration, fermentation at low temperatures, divided into the different plots, with aging on its own yeasts in steel vats for six / seven months.
Bottling: March with release on the market after two / three months of aging in glass.
Yield per hectare: 70 quintals of grapes per hectare.
Alcohol content: 14% vol.
Bottles produced: 30,000
The rows of vines are properly aligned within the natural coliseum that encircles the cellar, and they watch the Magra river from above following its descent towards the sea. This wine looks forward and defies time with an ageing potential which is granted exclusively by it’s great structure.
Region: Emilia-Romagna (Colli Scandiano)
Vineyard: Biodinamic, eco-certified
Vinification: 48 hours cold maceration. Spontanous fermentation in steel and open wooden casks. No clarification or filtration.
Aging: 6 months.
Super mouthwatering lightly macerated wine from Il Farneto. Lovely floral nose with undertones of slighty sour whey, and juicy nectarines. In the mouth it is salted lemons, juicy elderflower and a refreshing acidity that dominates.
Pecorino d’Abruzzo Doc Anfora.
The Pecorino grapes, coming from our own vineyards, are collected in boxes and carried to the cellar.
Here the grapes are de-stemmed and gently crushed, then transferred into the clay amphoras for a 24 hours maceration.
The skins are then separated from the juice and softly pressed, before our indigenous yeasts take over and lead the fermentation process.
The Pecorino wine then rests and refines in the amphoras all the way through the malolactic fermentation, untill it is ready to be bottled after a 12 months period of refining.
Vineyard Size: 2 hectares
Soil: calcium, clay
Average Age of Vines: 6 years
Harvest: by hand
Winemaking: destemmed, gentle press, 24 hour maceration, spontaneous fermentation in amphora with indigenous yeasts
Aging: 12 months in amphora
Filtration: before bottling with 1 micron cartridges
Added S02: low
Straw yellow in color, the nose expresses hints of yellow fruit and floral notes while in the mouth it is fresh, savory and harmonious.
Paestum Fiano – Mercoledì: Mercury – The Messenger
Vineyard Size: 3.60 hectares
Soil: granite, schist, limestone, quartz
Average Age of Vines: 13 years
Farming: organic, biodynamic
Harvest: by hand
Winemaking: 1 day maceration, spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, malolactic fermentation
Aging: in stainless steel
Fining: with bentonite
Added S02: 20 mg/L
From our vineyard in the valley in Casal Velino a zippy, zesty Fiano with a soft, bees wax, chamomile hint of dry apricot and saline lift. Versatile, it rolls as an aperitif or a great partner to fish and seafood prepared with citrus or with butter.
Region: Emilia Romagna, Italy
Grape Variety: Blend of Albana 50%, Famoso 40%, Pignoletto 8%, Trebbiano 2%
Nicolini Piccola Nera delle Venezie IGT
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Soil type: Clay
Grapes: Piccola Nera
Method of fermentation: Hand harvested in small baskets, macerated on the skins for 48-72 hours, spontaneous native yeast fermentation, traditional hand-crank press, aged eight months in large oak barrels, bottled unfiltered w/less than 50mg/l of total sulfur
Bottles made: 500
Intense pink color. The nose is fresh and vinous with very slight notes of wild berry, primarily dog rose
It has a good body, delicate in the mouth, slightly acidic and slightly tannic. A simple and free-range rosè, to be drunk young, fresh or at room temperature
It goes well with fresh and seasoned cold cuts.
Good with first courses that include a sauce with meat and vegetables with a simple and defined flavor: from simple risotto with sausage to stuffed or dry pasta. Try it with a tasty and rich fish soup.
Il Marinetto, rosato Calabria I.G.T.
Grapes: 100% “organic” gaglioppo
Training system: sapling
Name of the vineyard: marinetto
Yield per hectare: 90/75 quintals
Altitude: 50m a.s.l.
Soil composition: calcareous and not very clayey
Aging: in steel with a short stay in the bottle
Bottle size: 750ml
It is bright and bright pink. The nose shows fresh hints of flowers and fruit, very involving and fine. On the palate it is medium-bodied, fresh, soft, characterized by an excellent acidic shoulder. It closes with a finish characterized by a savory aftertaste.
Nebbiolo 65% Croatina 30% Vespolina 5%
Vinification and aging
The Mimmo grapes are harvested through a manual harvest. Following a soft crushing-destemming, fermentation takes place with long macerations of 30 days for Nebbiolo and maturation in cask for two years and short macerations for Croatina and Vespolina, maturation one year in tonneaux and one year in large Slavonian oak barrels. The wine ages for over two years in total, partly in large Slavonian oak barrels, partly in tonneau.
Technical characteristics of the wine
Mimmo di Le Piane is ruby red with garnet reflections. The nose reveals hints of plum, wild strawberries and cherries, then also licorice and aromatic herbs. On the palate it is fresh and mineral characterized by a velvety tannin.
Food pairings and serving temperature
Mimmo di Le Piane is perfect to accompany stewed red meats and game: in particular it goes perfectly with baked pork. The recommended serving temperature is 16°-18° C.
Mimmo is a tribute to Domenico Staropoli, known as Mimmo, a historic figure in the management of the company’s vineyards to remember his intuition. It was he who noticed the different, more ready and floral character of Nebbiolo and Vespolina of a given plot. Those grapes, instead of ending up in Boca, were first diverted into a new wine with a balance of 30% of Croatina.
Vineyard Size: 30 hectares
Average Age of Vines:
Harvest: by hand
Winemaking: 3-5 day maceration, spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts
Aging: 8 months in concrete
Added S02: minimal
An extravagant and controversial wine obtained from spontaneous fermentation with maceration of 3-5 days, not clarified, unfiltered and aged in concrete tanks for 8 months.
The little more than pink color gives it character. Spices and fruit prevail on the nose. The mouth starts round and ends with a nice final tannin. Spontaneous fermentation, aged in cement.
Proposed in the fun white one-liter bottle.
“ SCHIOPPETTINO BEHAVES LIKE A WHITE GRAPE.”
Schioppettino needs to grow in cooler microclimates because its relatively thin skins suffer from sunburn easily. Even worse, hot daily temperatures blunt the crisp, fresh blue and red fruit aromas and flavors and impede the formation of the spicy green peppercorn aromas.
Vineyard: 100% Schioppettino
Classification: IGT Venezia Gulia
Average age of vines: 15 years
Vinification : Fermentation on the skins in open tonneau.
Aging : Concrete vats, old barrique and tonneau. Malolactic spontaneous.
Filtration : No
Alcohol : 13%
Total acidity : 5,3 mg/l
SO2: 30 mg/l
Production: 300 – 600 bottles
Bottle size: 0,75l
The Villa Job Schioppetino presents itself in the glass with a ruby dress, edged with garnet reflections. From the first smell you understand that you are dealing with a deep and multifaceted liquid, given the multiplicity of references it exhales. Black cherry jam, cocoa, earth, black spices in infusion: an almost stunning complexity! The liquid, despite its natural richness, brings an innate elegance, even to the sip. Tasting that reveals a full and powerful wine, with a creamy tactility, but always supported by freshness and a caressing tannin.
For this Alicante, grapes are sourced in plot n° 148 of cadastral sheet 153 called “Vigna della Pieve”. Here the soil is rich in sand with a great amount of pebbles, ideal for the Alicante Nero – a common Mediterranean variety also known as Grenache in France, Cannonau in the neighbouring island of Sardinia and Garnacha in Spain.
Elegant, mellow, bright, airy, expressive. A great wine.
Biodynamic, six months in concrete, this Alicante is a beautiful deep ruby red, with floral notes of geranium and dried flowers, thyme and rosemary. In the mouth it is fresh and of good flavor, with intense and persistent aromas.
Montepulciano in purity. Coming from a small vineyard of 0.27 hectares at 200 m a.s.l. facing west. Equipped with freshness and drinkability, as it carries out a short maceration of 2-3 days. The fermentation ends in exhausted barriques and steel tanks, refining on the fine lees for 9 months.
It is a wine that skilfully combines structure, freshness and elegance, giving a taste of full satisfaction.
Ruby. Intense and rich on the nose, it expresses itself with hints of red fruits, in particular morello cherry, and hints of tobacco. On the palate it is well structured, with a pleasant finesse and long persistence.
Classification: Terre Siciliane IGT
Variety: 70% Frappato 30% Nero D’Avola
Altitude: 280 Meters above sea level
Soil: Medium density. Red sands and chalk from apennine limestone rocks
Agricolture: Organic, without chemical intervention
Training system: Guyot and cordone speronato
Average age of the vines: 15 years
Plant density: 6,000 plants per hectare
Harvest period: Last week of September, first ten days of October
Fermentation: Indigenous yeasts only. 15 days of maceration on the skins
Aging: 6 months in concrete vats. 1 month in bottle, unfiltered
SP68 is a road but it is also a young wine. Cool and pleasant, with a delicate taste that it brings the flavour of the sun and the freshness of this land.