Raise your hand if you have never heard a sommelier ask - or asked himself before making the sommelier course - at the bar a prosecchino. Prosecco wine has been massacred over the years by the producers themselves, who have seen in these splendid Veneto hills, a UNESCO heritage site, a perfect place to produce poor quality sparkling wines to sell for a pittance. Quantity and who cares about quality: the goal is to impose themselves on the sparkling market and steal market shares from the more expensive Franciacorta DOCG or Champagne AOC, especially abroad. Unfortunately - whether out of necessity, ignorance or both - people often prefer immediate profit without an overall vision, but to go so far as to ruin an entire appellation is madness, especially in the long term. It is also up to sommeliers to report these wines - and in particular the prosecco millesimato - to more normal dimensions even in the mind of the average consumer.

Prosecco Millesimato: Classical Method or Martinotti Method?

Usually the bubbles of Prosecco wine are obtained using the Martinotti or Charmat method, but in reality the regulations provide for the possibility of using the classic method. For the uninitiated, it should be remembered that the choice of sparkling method not only affects the processing of the base wine, but also the final taste. Prosecco classic method has, in addition to a finer bubble and greater longevity, aromas more related to the ageing on yeasts, i.e. bread crust, butter and toast, while prosecco Martinotti method generally has a coarser bubble, a shorter time in the bottle and aromas more related to the grape variety, i.e. flowers and white pulp fruit.

Prosecco Millesimato: 'S.C. 1931' Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG by Bellenda

S.C. 1931 is a dedication to Bellenda winery founder Sergio Cosmo with his initials and year of birth, 1931.  It is made from Glera grapes from the Carpesica area from vineyards with an average altitude of 180 m above sea level and a south, south-west exposure. Here the soil is clayey-calcareous, rich in residues of a moraine from the ancient Piave glacier that descended from the Fadalto saddle between Mount Pizzoc and Mount Visentin. The sylvoz training system is traditional in this area and the planting density is quite high: an average of 4,200 plants per hectare. The climate here is temperate, with cold winters and warm, windy summers, but above all with a large daily temperature range. After harvesting in the second half of September, there is destemming and subsequent soft pressing. This is followed by static decantation of the must and fermentation, part in steel and part in wooden tanks without temperature control. Maturation on the fine lees lasts about 3 months, followed by re-fermentation in the bottle with resting on the lees for about 18 months. Being a pas dosé, after disgorging, the space occupied by the lees is filled with the same wine without any dosage.

Prosecco millesimato bellenda

Umberto Cosmo's 'dreamer' project by Bellenda

Bellenda is a 'big' winery that produces both wines more inclined to the common palate and a selection of spectacular labels for sommeliers and 'more cultured' enthusiasts. The strong point of this winery is its attitude to putting itself on the line in an ongoing quest to push the boundaries by breaking the mould. They could have been content to make a good vintage prosecco wine like others, but they have created wines that are different, never banal and with some excellence in the classic method such as S.C. 1931 and Wurm.

Umberto Cosmo is a unique character with an uncommon culture (and style) and this is certainly also reflected in the vision of Bellenda's Prosecco millesimato. A vision that, as Gaber would say, still puts man at the centre of life:

  • do not use herbicides;
  • work the land and mow the grass (especially the sheep walking through their vineyards);
  • recover pruning residues to produce energy;
  • maintain large areas of forest to protect biodiversity;
  • use recycled glass bottles and packaging from renewable sources;
  • progressively replace conventional roofs with green roofs to slow down rainwater runoff;
  • use of heat pumps and natural gas for space heating;
  • use solar panels for the electricity they need.

They are not an organic winery, but they respect the environment. And respecting the environment means respecting people. Often this also coincides with making good quality wines. Their project to create a vintage prosecco suitable for long bottle ageing is the jewel in the crown of this winery that makes it worth discovering for all sparkling wine enthusiasts.

Bellenda wines

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Prosecco Millesimato: vertical tasting of Bellenda's 'S.C. 1931'.

At Vinitaly 2024 it was possible to taste, among others, several vintages of this exceptional prosecco millesimato.

grape: glera 100% | alcohol: 11.5% vol | sugar: 2 g/l | extract: 22 g/l | pressure: 6 bar

Tasting #1: "S.C. 1931" Prosecco Millesimato 2012 disgorgement 2015, Bellenda ❤️❤️

It is bright golden yellow with a very fine, very numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is broad with notes of candied citron, brioche, custard tarts and lavender. On the palate it enters coherently, with a lovely still bubble, great balance and a long finish with wonderful slightly oxidised nuances.

Tasting #1: "S.C. 1931" Prosecco Millesimato 2008 disgorgement 2011, Bellenda ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I have never given 4 hearts to a wine... usually my maximum is 3 hearts... but there is always a first time! Masterpiece! It presents itself brilliant golden yellow with a fine, numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is ample with clearly recognisable notes of honey, milk bread, white chocolate and cumin. In the mouth it is soft, fresh, savoury, structured and very long.

Sc 1931 prosecco millesimato 2008

Tasting #1: "S.C. 1931" Prosecco Millesimato 2006 disgorgement 2009 , Bellenda ++

It is bright golden yellow with a fine perlage that is quite numerous and persistent. The nose is broad with notes of white chocolate, walnut, candied pear and a citrine nuance. In the mouth it is creamy, structured, well balanced and with a very long finish.

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Chiara Bassi book sommelier illustrated manual

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Chiara Bassi

The potential of the Glera grape

The glera grape is almost always the prerogative of quantity production and for this reason it is not a grape variety considered perfect for long bottle ageing, as is the case with chardonnay, for example. Yet it is an extraordinary grape that lends itself to a multitude of different wines and is therefore perfect for representing the philosophy of a winery that can give it its stamp both in the vineyard and during vinification and ageing. The sommeliers' task is to recount it in all its complexity without stopping at its most common expressions so that it can be rediscovered. The common objective - of wineries and Ho.Re.Ca. operators - should be to trigger a virtuous circle of oenological ennoblement capable of sealing in the collective imagination the prosecco millesimato as a quality wine.

Grape variety glera or prosecco bunch