Sure, you should know about the Veneto area of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, where Peosecco got its fame, but, do you know about an even more elite area in Veneto, where only 250,000 cases are produced yearly? If you answered ASOLO DOCG, then you know how luscious the ‘glera’ varietal thrives on the hills in and near the medieval city of Asolo.
The fact is, with under 500 acres to produce Prosecco in this newly established (2009) DOCG appellation, ASOLO has a hard time keeping up with demand. Recent discussions with local wine shop owners in New York led to their desire to carry this sought after Prosecco over the highly regarded Prosecco from Conegliano-Valdobbiadene
Did you know that Prosecco now outsells Champagne?
Fortunately, on a recent visit to ASOLO, which is one of the most picturesque towns in Europe, I had the opportunity to understand, visually, why the town is known as the ‘City of a Hundred Horizons.’ All vantage points in ASOLO have spectacular views in all directions, making this storied city home to numerous artists, poets and writers-the most famous being-Robert Barrett Browning.
The production of Prosecco DOC covers a little under 45,000 acres and encompasses five Veneto provinces and four in Friuli Venezia Giulia. With under 500 acres and a DOCG rating, the wines form Superiore ASOLO offer the consumer a richer, fuller bodied wine versus the great diversity found in the DOC wines. I’m not saying that the DOC Prosecco’s are one dimensional-what I’m saying is that the ASOLO DOCG wines exhibit a fuller body, a lingering taste on the palate and a special quality found on the Glera grapes from ASOLO, much like the 16,000+ acres that make-up Conegliano-Valdobbiane DOCG appellation.
My belief is that the production is so low (250,000 cases) that special care is taken to produce a bottle of ‘Prosecco Superiore’ in all cases. I sampled numerous ASOLO DOCG Prosecco’s during my three day visit and these are the ones that lived up to the hype.
Dal Bello ‘Celeber’ Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Brut
Costa ‘Ardiva’ Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Dry-Millesime
Astoria ‘Fano’ Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Brut
Belle Casel ‘Col Fondo’ Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Brut
Belle Casel Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry
Montelliana Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Brut & Extra Dry
Villa Sandi Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut
La Gioiosa Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry
Ama Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry
Montelvini Vintage ‘Il Brutto’ Col Fondo Asolo Prosecco DOCG
Villa Gustiniani Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Iaya Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut & Extra Dry
As you will see, Proseeco’s sweetness comes in many forms of residual sugar:
Brut (0-12 grams)
Extra Dry (12-17 grams)
Dry (17+ grams)
If you have never visited the Veneto, the best starting point is Venice, in northeast Italy, a relatively short distance from Asolo. The Asolo area is hilly (1500 feet), where the Colli Asolani ridge of a mountain between Asolo and Cornuda define the Asolo appellation. Local producers have told me that the slopes of vineyards on the south side of the ridge produce the finest grapes in Asolo. They believe the sun, soil and proper drainage contribute to its superior varietals.
Asolo is entrenched with preserving ancient traditions. Besides award winning wines, Asolo is rich in food products that run the gamut from Maser cherries to Grappa honey. On a walk through town, the odor of wood baked bread filled the cobblestone street, where the specialty shops sold organic Asolian products rich in history: peas, miniature beans, white corn, cheese, white asparagus, red lettuce and Monfumo apples.
Any walk in Asolo would not be complete without savoring a glass of Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG at the Albergo Al Sole hotel, with its majestic balcony's commanding view of the ‘City of a Hundred Horizons.’
Philip S. Kampe