DOCG stands for Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin. It is the Italian government's legal name for the highest quality level in a given historical wine type. After what must have been an exhausting winnowing process, Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene earned its DOCG in 2009. The Prosecco product, itself, earned its DOC in 1969 and before that it had a two hundred year pre-modern history in its northeast corner of Italy.
Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene is the hilly region in eastern central Veneto. Glera is the name of the Prosecco grape. In order to receive its DOCG, a wine from that region must be tasted by a government representative to ascertain its quality. While on the face of it that seems like a guarantee of quality, it is not. The DOCG only mandates that the rules have been followed in the production of the wine.
The Italian government is nothing if not thorough in its wine definitions. There are four subcategories in Prosecco DOCG. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is the production from fifteen communes in the region. Most DOCG Prosecco fits into this category. Each winery in the region produces its own proprietary blend, much like French Champagne, and grape yields are limited to 13.5 tonnes per hectare.
Terroir is the French term for the unique environmental characteristics in a vineyard. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive is terroir-driven wine that is sourced from forty-three rives or "steep sloped vineyards" in the delimited DOCG region. Those grapes must be hand harvested with no more than thirteen tonnes allowed per hectare.
Valdobbiadene Superiore de Carlizze Prosecco is the absolute top quality of the category. It is sourced from 107 hectares of the steepest hillsides of Valdobbiadene and yields are limited to 12 tonnes per hectare. The aromatics of this wine include nuances of apples, pears, citrus, peaches and apricots. The flavors are a minty, elegant and balanced mix of the fruits above. The finish is almondy.
The last category in DOCG Prosecco is different from the other three in that it pertains to a wine style as opposed to the terroir-reliant definitions above. Sui Lievitre is a slightly cloudy Brut Nature that has a toasted bread character. The name means sur lie and in winemaking the lees refer to the crud that lies in the bottom of the fermentation tank when the fermenting process is finished. After the grape remains are skimmed off, the spent yeasts that are left in the bottom are called fine lees. If the wine is left in contact with these for a while the wine takes on a yeasty character. This wine style is believed to reflect the centuries-old process of the region.
Why this post? Simply because of consumer demand. Prosecco is hot. Stop in and try what should be the best!