Riccardo Zanotto is part of a small group of young Prosecco vintners who are making Prosecco the traditional way. We recently sat down with Riccardo to talk to him about ‘Col Fondo’, what it is, and why he decided to start selling Col Fondo prosecco again.
Riccardo: Col Fondo Prosecco is made from glera grapes and is produced in the historic Prosecco area north of Venice in Italy. This kind of Prosecco
is natural, unfiltered and re-fermented in the bottle. The words ‘‘Col
Fondo’’ mean “with lees on the bottom” or in the commonly recognized French, “sur lie”. This is the way Prosecco was produced years ago, before it was produced, as it is today, in a pressurized autoclave, called Charmat or
Sedimentary: Why did you decide to start making Col Fondo?
Riccardo: Until recently, most of our grapes were sold to wineries, but we have always reserved a part of the harvest to produce Col Fondo for our
family and friends. Over time, the word spread about our special
wine, and after much encouragement, I decided to make the family
wine into a business.
Sedimentary: What is Methode Ancestrale and how is it different than
Riccardo: Methode Ancestrale is an ancient technique for making sparkling
wines. Wines made by this method see the fermentation process,
which produces the carbon dioxide, occurring in the bottle. The
grapes are partially fermented in tanks and then bottled along with
the remaining yeast and residual sugar. Secondary fermentation
occurs in the bottle using up much of the remaining sugar to
produce a fresh, dryish and delicious sparkling wine. These wines
can be quite cloudy as the lees are not disgorged from the bottle.
The Methode Champenois differs in a number of ways, although as
with the Methode Ancestrale, the fermentation takes place in the
bottle. First, the Champenois begins with a blend of wines and not
with a single vintage. The natural fermentation process is begun with the addition of a blend of yeast and sugar. Then there is the delicate
process which moves the yeast into the neck of the bottle, in
preparation for the “disgorgement”, when the yeast is removed from
the bottle. Col Fondo does not have any added yeast or sugar and there is no disgorgement.
Sedimentary: Your family’s vineyards are located in a very special place in
Prosecco. Can you tell us more about them?
Riccardo: Our vineyards are in Resera, a small town nestled in the hills close to Valdobbiadene, in the historic Prosecco area. The position of the
vineyards is protected from the cold northern winds, and the thermic
inversions create quite constant temperatures which allow for
optimal conditions as the grapes mature. The breezes which are
almost always present keep the vineyards dry, and allow us to keep
intervention to a minimum for natural wine making. It is also worth noting that this particular area of Prosecco was, in another geological era, a sea bed. Still today, we find marine fossils buried in the soil. Thanks to this calcareous soil, our Col Fondo is imbued with wonderful minerality.
Sedimentary: What is the best way for someone to enjoy a bottle of Zanotto Col Fondo?
Riccardo: Compared to Prosecco, Col Fondo is dry on the palate with a fresh and clean minerality, a light sparkle, and a delicate fruit finish. It
makes the perfect accompaniment to light dishes, including seafood,
pasta, even pizza – or alone, as a refreshing aperitif. In the summer
months, it’s dry, crisp taste, makes Col Fondo a true thirst quencher.
We suggest serving at a temperature of 10° c , cool but warm enough
to exalt the wine’s extraordinarily delicate flavor.
Disclosure: We import Riccardo’s Col Fundo. To see our proile on Riccardo go here. We should be offering them this week.