Earlier this year, our friend Claudio invited us to his winery's harvest party, which took place yesterday. So we made a point of being here in Italy for it in advance of our upcoming Prosecco Experience.
The winery is L'Antica Quercia, a shockingly beautiful organic winery and vineyards on the Prosecco Road in Conegliano between Venice and the Dolomites.
Back then, Claudio and his winemaker Umberto told us about a wine he was working on -- a singular and pure prosecco.
To oversimplify, sparkling wines are made more or less like still wines. But then they're made to sparkle with a secondary fermentation, which almost always involves the addition of yeast and sugar. For champagne and most sparkling wines, this carbonation takes place in the bottle. But for most proseccos, it happens in pressurized steel tanks.
This new sparkling prosecco is unfiltered and unfined, and acquires its bubbles without the addition of yeast or sugar. Of course, carbonation requires yeast and sugar. But the yeast is from the vineyard and the sugar is from the grapes.
Long story short: This kind of wine is very hard to make. And very risky for the winemaker.
While we were standing there before dinner, Claudio showed us the brand-new labels for the new prosecco (the designers had brought it to the party). L'Antica Quercia labels form a Japanese-inspired inky “mural” when you line up the wine bottles in the right order.
The winery is named after an old and perfect oak tree (the tree is highlighted in medieval church records). After dining with Umberto and his family and colleagues at the party, we were invited to try the new prosecco under the oak tree!
The friendship, the scenery, the shade of that majestic oak tree -- and the prosecco! Wow.
The wine is actually hard to describe, but it bears all the marks of its sublime origins and natural processes.
This prosecco represents the rare ability of the winemaker to maximally insert himself into the process in order to maximally remove himself from the product and let you taste the work of the microbial world, the grape, the vineyard and the region.
It was a magical moment, and we were filled with gratitude to have been able to enjoy the party, the meal, the incredible wine and, above all, the company of such wonderful, soulful and skillful people.
Claudio told me that he might not actually sell this wine. But if he does, I'll be sure to post about it and tell you how to get some.
And, of course, our Prosecco Experience gastronomads will be tasting this wine in a special and exclusive tasting with Claudio. I can’t wait for them to try it….