#1 child returned from university and announced she was interested in learning a bit about wine, so we started with some Prosecco lessons.
Prosecco DOC is the basic stuff, whereas the DOCG region of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is higher up the quality scale.
What is the difference between DOC and DOCG? The extra "G" stands for garantita, as if somehow the DOC classification is not quite as reliable.
In practice, it's not so much the words used as the hierarchy that matters; the DOCG is higher than DOC in the same way that an A** is higher than an A*.
Within the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG classification, there are further distinctions and sub-divisions, but if you only remember one thing, it's this: look for the "G".
Pretty much all Prosecco is made by the Charmat method of fermentation in tank - this is quicker than in-bottle fermentation, meaning that the wine is less expensive to produce (and buy).
Whilst a shorter second fermentation gives less savoury complexity to the wine, the fresher flavours match better with the local cichetti.
Moreover, the second fermentation is only part of the equation, the part that makes the bubbles. Fruit selection and ripeness, blending and the initial vinification all play a part in the overall quality of the final wine.
However, it seems not everyone has gotten the DOCG memo; expat winemaker Jonathan Hesford wondered what there is to learn in a Prosecco lesson, while wine-writer Jamie Goode referred to Prosecco as "cheap plonk", albeit later explaining he was joking and had actually recommended one in his newspaper column.
BORGO COL Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Brut Rive di Follina 2020 (Looking for importer)
a steely rive wine: extra Brut
very small producer, just 9ha biscuity with citrus, white stone fruits and brioche; supple, rounded and elegant with orchard fruits
ADAMI Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Brut Rive di Farra di Soligo “Col Credas” 2019 (Astrum Wine Cellars)
extra Brut rive wine
family producer, from a stony, breezy area white flowers with brioche, gingerbread and sea-spray; sappy white stone fruit, conference pear and green apple; fresh and tangy with persistent saline-minerality.
CARPENÉ MALVOLTI Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza 2020
delicate, floral and herbal; green apple and orchard fruits with fresh citrus and some brioche complexity; subtle and sensitive with a gentle mousse and acidity
These four wines were all non-rive assemblages with a soft broadness
MALIBRAN Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Ruio” 2020 (Vinhuset Nofra)
from gentle, rolling hills, single-vineyard wine
broad with an almost exotic fruit character, almost peachy roundedness, salty; a classic Conegliano style, plumper and more mouthfilling
IL COLLE Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Millesimato 2020 (Looking for importer)
family company dating back to Venetian traders, organically-farmed and uses a cut-the-cordon method for on-the-vine passito character
orchard fruit and melonskin; plush, broad and peachy with tropical citrussy freshness; aromatic, floral and tropical with pear fruit; clean, precise and very elegant.
BORTOLIN FRATELLI Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry “Rù” Millesimato 2020
18g/l of residual sugar with fruit from both Conegliano and Valdobbiadene
delicately floral with camomile; white stone fruits and orchard fruit; weighty and saline, fresh and citrussy; finishes dry and mineral
Will match with slightly richer foods than the lighter, drier wines; think creamy risotto, soft white cheeses or mushroom-and-cream pasta.