Producer Profile: Of all the wines, grapes, and styles to have been felled by the mass-market-driven grape ‘cultivation,’ perhaps no style has suffered more than Prosecco Col Fondo. This style of wine comes from the gently rolling foothills of the Belluno Prealps in the province of Treviso, an area at the heart of the northeast Italian Veneto region whose main geographic feature may be the River Piave, known locally as Fiume Sacro alla Patria (translation: River Sacred to The Motherland). Here is where the greatest Proseccos in the world have been made; however, this kind of accolade in recent decades would not be seen as any great compliment whatsoever.
Around the 1960s and ’70s, industrial farms took root in the region and the introduction of the stainless steel tank, which led to a total severing of the connection between the people and the land and their Prosecco. Winemakers became grape-growers for industrial farms, who would anesthetize the fruit to make bulk, cheap Prosecco only to be used in a Bellini cocktail or in a 200mL bottle handed out by flight attendants 35,000 feet in the air. The truth is unfortunate when you consider the facts of this particular drink: Prosecco col fondo was, for centuries, the sparkling watermark of this area and this area only, with profound terroir differences expressed all through their single noble grape, Glera. For winemaker Maurizio Donadi, his project Casa Belfi is one undertaken with the upshot of all this history in mind. He wants to honestly restore the winemaking traditions of this region. His wild col fondo is only wild insofar as it is ambitious, to take on the brunt of a past with its enormity, its pressure; for the red expressions of Prosecco col fondo he uses another native grape, Raboso. These are crisp, creamy, complex delights of yore meant to evoke what Prosecco has always been, but the world was too greedy and impatient to wait for – so, here they are!
Vinification: 100% Raboso. Grapes are hand-harvested, followed by fermentation in stainless steel tank. The wine is bottled and allowed to naturally referment in the bottle, creating that gorgeous, creamy fizz. Unfiltered with no added SO2.
Tasting: Dark, ruby red in the glass with a medium-weight mousse. The palate explodes with notes of cranberry and tart cherry. Lightly chalky with a mineral finish. Energetic and endlessly drinkable. Perfect as a pairing to the heftier Thanksgiving dishes: Doing turkey and stuffing? Let this be your cranberry sauce!