Despite the domestic terrorism witnessed in our Capital today, I am continuing with my exploration of Italian sparkling denominations and wines. This Wine Wednesday is dedicated to Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG wines and one specifically from Bele Castel. I didn’t know much about Prosecco from Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG previously so I was excited to learn more.
Asolo is a town located in the Veneto, in the rocky hills south of the Dolomite mountains at the foot of Monte Grappa and west of the Piave river. The wines come from 19 communes that form a crown around the town of Asolo. The area is 20,000 hectares, the Asolo hills and the Montello plain. Just like in Valdobbiadene, the viticulture in these hills is done by hand and is extreme, also known as heroic viticulture. Asolo received DOCG status in June 2009 and was the very first of the Prosecco denominations to allow an Extra Brut version. The wines of Asolo have been famous since the Venetian republic although the town of Asolo and its wines were known as far back as the Romans and were widely recognized in the Middle Ages. The area’s soils are profound and rich in organic material. The climate here is influenced by winds that come from the Adriatic sea and the area is blessed with significant thermal excursion. Wines must be made from 85% Glera and the other 15% can be Bianchetta Trevigiana, il Verdiso, la Perera and Glera lunga.
The Consortium was founded in 1985 and supervises the denominations of Asolo Prosecco Superiore Docg, Montello Rosso Docg and Montello Colli Asolani Doc, all three of these are from the Treviso province. The wines since 2020 are called Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOGG and Vini del Montello DOCG and Montello Colli Asolani DOC. The white grapes grown here are Glera, Bianchetta Trevigiana, il Verdiso, la Perera and Glera lunga which are grown on the hills. There are also red grapes here that go into the red wines. These are largely grown on the plains. Recently a new subzone has been accepted which is called Montello Rosso, Venegazzù. There are international grapes as well as a grape that was recently saved from extinction called Recantina. Still a much smaller denomination then some of the other Prosecco denominations, in 2019, 17 million bottles of Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG were produced.
The one I tried today was an Extra Dry from Bele Castel which means it can have between 12-17 g/l. This winery is a family affair that was started more than 40 years ago. Despite all the changes and success of these last 40 years, it’s still a family affair, with dedication and attention to every detail. The winery is located in the hills of Cornuda in the province of Treviso.
The family owns 12 hectares in the heart of the denomination in the communes of Cornuda, Maser and Monfumo. The vineyard in Monfumo is the heart of the winery and it is here that they have their oldest vines. Danilo, the founder of the winery had always decided not to use chemical products and his children have continued this practice. The winery has grown organically certified grapes since 2014.
The family only grows grapes in the hills. The hills in Asolo all have slightly different soils but one common unifying factor, a lot of organic material. They are also red, profound and are rich in iron.
The vines at Bele Castel are trained in the Double Arched cane or Cappuccina method. The grapes are pressed using a pneumatic press and then aged in stainless steel for at least seven months after 40-50 days of fermentation. There is no filtration or sulfites added. The wine is made using the Martinotti or Charmat method. The alcohol on this wine is 11% while the RS is 16g/l. It doesn’t taste that sweet because of the acidity level of 5.3 g/l. The pressure in this wine is slightly less in some others. The pressure is 4.5 atm.
The wine had a beautiful perlage with fast and numerous bubbles, signs of quality wines. The bouquet showed apples, citrus and white flowers. It was elegant and balanced. I paired it with cheese yesterday and with a pasta today.
There are many amazing producers of Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG. Many of these producers also make Prosecco in the other denominations such as Prosecco DOC and Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG. Superiore DOCG as well as wines in the other denominations. I looked at many online platforms in order to get an Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG. Bele Castel was one of the most widely available and affordable I found. The day I ordered the wine I received a note that Vinexpo is doing a seminar on Asolo Prosecco later this month. I look forward to that and trying more of these special wines. Asolo seems to be an incredibly beautiful town and I can’t wait to visit. Until then, I encourage you to look at the Consortium website.