Walter Speller, Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com, 31 Oct 2012
Sparkling wine: the best alternatives to champagne for Christmas - Victoria Moore - Daily Telegraph - 23-Dec-2014
About this WINE
Bele Casel, Veneto
Bele Casel is an artisan Prosecco producer who Berrys are proud to have teamed up with. Based at Caerano san Marco, near Treviso, the small 10 hectare (120k bottles/anno) family estate lies in a fiercely protected subzone of iron red & calc hills called Asolo; the key limestone element giving wines a fragrant white peach character.
The Ferraro family have been at it since 1977, first bottling the aforementioned frizzante ‘Colfondo’ method but then when the market became too tough, accepting that they too had to make a spumante. Fast forward a generation and father Danilo, who kick started the family’s move to bottling, was joined in 1998 by son Luca (the tall one!), fresh out of wine school. Luca’s arrival ushered in a new cantina/winery, completed in 2003 that also allows them to make spumante for other small growers, along with the planting of a new vineyard, ‘Maser’; the estate being organic in all but certificate.
Bele Casel makes five wines: the region’s trademark wine style “Extra Dry” (16 grams of residual sugar), a more considered ‘Extra Dry Millesimato’ (23 grams), a crisp ‘Brut’ (10 grams), the frizzante ‘Colfondo’ and a fine Merlot! It’s a measure of the family’s competence and professionalism that all the wines without exception are of a high quality; each one distinct and great to drink.
That was clearly the case from the off as I tasted their still wines from the 2010 vintage; still in tank before destiny would decide whether they became spumante with the addition of sugar, or with grape must if they were bottled for frizzante (colfondo). I was struck by the bright purity of fruit, by the clear differences between their provenance and by the wines’ stunning length and sense of harmony.
While I’m sure you would lap up all the wines, as I did, Berrys have decided to get the ball rolling by buying the ‘Extra Dry’ and ‘Extra Dry Millesimato 2010’; the Extra Dry will light up any room; the Millesimato more earnest and measured, for a special occasion.
David Berry Green, BBR Buyer
Prosecco is officially Italy’s favourite sparkling wine. Grown among the spettacolo ‘pre-Alpi’ (Alpine foothills) that dominate the Venetian skyline from Treviso to the Austrian border and on the flats as far as Venezia, it’s a light frothy spumante that Italians drink anytime, anywhere.
And since being awarded the DOCGarantita status last year (the highest political wine award in the land!) it’s become fashionable too; the new Pinot Grigio if you like! Significantly they’ve started differentiating between the different grapes that go into the wine.
Prosecco is a wine style, at whose heart should be the Glera grape, along with healthy doses of Chardonnay, probably Trebbiano and who knows what else from down south… It’s made in the spumante industry’s equivalent of the ‘continuous still’ process whereby still wine has sugar added to it so triggering the second, bubbly ferment in tank; the Charmat method using zeppelin-shaped (and sized) stainless steel tanks and bottled to order. This facile style of spumante was born with the advent of the autoclave tank, coming during the 1970s as the industry sought a cheap source of endless fizz.
Importantly it all but rendered extinct the traditional ‘colfondo’ style frizzante (less gas, more flavour) that came from the wine’s second ferment taking place in bottle, having had grape must (not sugar) added. This latter more ‘serious’ style of Prosecco is now gently fizzing again among small artisan producers keen to reveal the true face of their fine terroir; not dissimilar to what’s happened in Champagne in fact, with the emergence of ‘growers Champagnes’.
One such Prosecco producer is Belecasel. Based at Caerano san Marco, near Treviso, the small 10 hectare (120,000 bottles/year) family estate lies in a fiercely protected subzone of calcareous clay hills called Asolo.
Prosecco is also the name of the grape that forms the basis of the eponymous sparkling wine and many of the best examples contain 100% Prosecco, although Verdiso, Perera and Bianchetta grape varieties which are considered to be of lesser stature, can be used up to a maximum of 15% .
Prosecco grape is distinguished by its aromatics of lemon and green apples, and its subtle flavours of white peaches, freshly picked flowers and notes of yeastiness. The base wine is made using the Charmat method.
Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze DOC encompasses the steepest hills in the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene district which deliver the most intense, complex styles of Prosecco sparkling wine.