When it comes to Italian sparkling wine, everybody knows charming and flirty Prosecco, but have you met its sophisticated and seductive compatriot, Trentodoc? Yes, they're both Italian bubblies but there's a world of difference. Here are three essential facts about this very special vino.
1 - The name Trentodoc cleverly combines Trento - the wine's city of origin, with DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) - an official designation used to classify Italian wines. Trentodoc is known as "Sparkling Wines from the Mountains" because the Trentino territory, located in northeast Italy, is surrounded by the majestic Dolomite mountains. The vineyards are planted at altitudes from 200 to 800 meters. This combination of elevation, climate, and mountain air produces healthy, fresh, and flavorful wine grapes.
2 - All Trentodoc wines are made using the metodo classico - the same labor intensive and precise technique used to produce the world's most famous sparkling wine, Champagne. The metodo classico requires the winemaker to first create a still base wine and to create a second fermentation in the base wine by adding sugar and yeast. This refermentation creates the beautiful bubbles that we all love. The wine then matures on the lees a minimum of 15 months for Brut, to 24 months for a Millesimato, and a minimum of 36 months for Riserva. Many producers exceed these minimum requirements because the time on the lees (dead yeast cells) imbues the wine with extraordinary flavor, depth, and texture. Trentodoc wines are available as white or rosé.
3 - Only four grapes are permitted in the production of Trentodoc and they are harvested by hand. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the dominant grapes (hmm, very similar to Champagne). Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier are also permitted but used sparingly. These four varieties absolutely thrive in Trentino's mountain climate and the hand-harvesting protects these gems so that they arrive at the winery in pristine condition.
image courtesy of The Istituto Trento DOC
Trentodoc may be from Italy but its elaborate manner of production and grape varieties make it more similar to Champagne than Prosecco. The Istituto Trento DOC represents 51 producers and each follows the rules of production but the wines express their unique styles and qualities of their terroir. Perfect for celebrations, special meals, or whenever you want to treat yourself to something delicious, start your Trentodoc journey with one of these crisp, elegant, and refreshing wines from the mountains.
Ferrari Brut NV ($27.99) is a superb introduction to Trentodoc because the story of Trentodoc truly begins with Giulio Ferrari. After studying in France, in 1902 Ferrari founded his namesake winery in Trentino and made Italy's first significant plantings of Chardonnay. Ferrari was determined to create a world-class Metodo Clasico sparkling wine that could compete with the finest Champagnes. He succeeded and not only did he inspire his peers to follow suit, today Ferrari is Italy's most awarded sparkling wine, even beating out Champagne in international competitions for prestigious accolades such as "Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year." 100% Chardonnay, Ferrari Brut NV is fresh and energetic, with fine bubbles, crisp ripe fruit flavors, and warm hints of crusty brioche that add a delightful richness to this pretty wine. Start with the Brut NV, but Ferrari's entire portfolio is worth exploring; it beautifully showcases the complexity and range of Trentodoc.
Rosé all day, the Trentodoc way with Rotari Brut Rosé Trentodoc 2013 ($20). A dry and fruity blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this elegant sip has fresh red fruit flavors with a hint of rich yeastiness. A precisely made wine with substance and style that delivers plenty of wow at a great price.
Altemasi Riserva Graal Brut Trentodoc 2010 ($60) really captures the essence, complexity, and aging capability of a finely made Trentodoc. Mostly Chardonnay with a bit of Pinot Noir (30%), Graal spent at least 72 months on the lees prior to disgorgement and release. Luxuriously rich and creamy, with tantalizing hints of honey and hazelnuts, this exceptional wine still exhibits incredible freshness and vitality.
What are you waiting for? Take your tastebuds on a trip to Trentodoc. Visit the Istituto Trento DOC website for info on more producers. Cheers!