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Prosecco on Lees

Italian winemaker Christian Zago pays tribute to his grandfather in the way he makes his Prosecco “Col Fondo”, which is aged on lees without filtration, writes Ch'ng Poh Tiong.

Proprietor Winemaker Christian Zago pays tribute to his grandfather in the way he makes his Prosecco “Col Fondo”.

The permitted yield for Burgundy Grand Cru white can be between 40 and 64 hectolitres per hectare (for Grand Cru red it’s about 35 to 37 hectolitres).

Ca’ dei Zago, produced principally from the Glera variety grown in Valdobbiadene – the “Grand Cru” DOCG of Prosecco – the yield is just 13.5 hectolitres per hectare.

Even if we take into consideration a Burgundy vineyard is planted to an average 10,000 vines per hectare and Ca’ dei Zago is just half that number of vines, doubling 13.5 hectares to 27 hectolitres per hectare is still only around half the yield of a Burgundy Grand Cru Chardonnay.

The incredibly low yield produces a wine of great purity and persistence of fruit.

That’s just part of the story.

Ca’ dei Zago Prosecco is “Col Fondo” or, as the French would say, “sur lie”. The contact of wine with lees or spent yeast results in great complexity.

Founded in 1924, Azienda Agricola Ca’ dei Zago has six hectares of vineyards in Valdobbiadene, Veneto.

There has never been any herbicide or pesticide used in the terraced vineyards on steep hills – 300 to 400 metres above sea level – that is so characteristic of the Valdobbiadene landscape.

The steep, terraced, biodynamic vineyards – 50-year old vines – are 300 to 400 metres above sea level in Valdobbiadene, the “Grand Cru” DOCG of Prosecco.

Machine harvesting is impossible so human hands (and legs) are responsible for bringing in every vintage. Since 2010, Ca’ dei Zago has been biodynamic.

Proprietor Winemaker Christian Zago returns to the traditions of his grandfather to make Prosecco Col Fondo.

The wine finishes its fermentation in the bottle. This is the traditional, ancestral way of making Prosecco.

The result is a delicately fizzy wine that is just slightly cloudy with a bit of the sediment still in the bottle, a characteristic previously, commonly found in Prosecco until the 1970s when pressurized tanks were introduced to make the wine sparkling or spumante.

Ca’ dei Zago Prosecco Col Fondo is bottled without filtration. The wine has completed its fermentation. The bottle is sealed by cork.

Tasting Notes

Ca’ dei Zago Prosecco Col Fondo Valdobbiadene DOCG 2018*

Hand-harvested, when the grapes reach the winery they are pressed by gravity and never pass through pumps. The Glera variety planted (and some Bianchetta and Verdisio e Perera) in the 6 hectares of vineyards are from very old clones. The soil is predominantly clay and limestone. The age of the vines is 50 years. Fermentation starts in concrete tanks for 10 to 20 days (depending on the vintage) and is then transferred to stainless steel tanks where the fermentation is finished. Shining bright light straw, Ca’ dei Zagois upliftingly fresh and dry. With a very attractive fizz or frizzante to it. Appley/citrus fruit with a hint of yeast. Reminds a bit of young, fresh, sparkling apple cider. Makes for an invigorating aperitif. Perfect also with a dim sum lunch.

*This Friday 30 October 2020, Ca’ dei Zago Prosecco Col Fondo Valdobbiadene DOCG 2018 will be offered at www.wineguru.com.sg at a special price. Stay tuned.

The article first appeared on Chngpohtiong.com. To read the original article, you can click here.

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