Asolo: Prosecco’s premier DOCG goes from strength to strength

In the space of a decade, Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG has gone from being Veneto’s best-kept secret to one of its greatest success stories of recent years. In 2014, the DOCG’s annual production amounted to barely 3 million bottles; by the end of this year, it is expected to reach 30 million. In the last five years alone, production has grown by a staggering 118%. So what’s the secret to the success of the DOCG that has so quickly become the fourth most important appellation for sparkling wines in Italy?

The first is undoubtedly the sense of place. It may be only 45 minutes by car from the provincial capital of Treviso to Asolo, but it is a journey that takes you into another world. Italy abounds in picturesque hill-top villages, but few can compare to Asolo, with its medieval castle and winding cobbled streets against the dramatic backdrop of the Dolomites to the north.

The diverse terroirs of the DOCG

The DOCG zone extends south-east from the river Piave for around 35 kilometres, with peaks reaching up to 500m above sea level. Its boundaries enclose over 43,000 ha, but only 2,700ha are actually planted to vine – a mere 6% of the total surface area. Nearly a third of the remainder is woodland, interspersed with pastures, orchards and olive groves in an untouched rural environment of vibrant biodiversity.

Scroll down for 16 top Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG wines to try

The climate is mild Mediterranean, with the warm air of the plains of the Veneto to the south tempered by cooler currents from the mountains to the north, providing ideal conditions for olive growing as well as viticulture. The first DOC for the area that now corresponds to that of Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG was for red and white wines, uniting two sub-zones with distinct geological origins under the denomination Montello e Colli Asolani.

Montello, to the east, is a long, low hill formed by the folding process of orogenesis; it rises from the plain in the shape of a turtle shell, with gentle slopes and red ferrous soils. This landscape is quite different to that of the conical hills of Asolo, where erosion of the sedimentary soils has created steep slopes, ridges and valleys. Although now dedicated predominantly to Prosecco, historically Montello was best-known for its red wines. We know from an ampelographic survey of the late 19th century that Asolo, on the other hand, has always been associated with white wine production, and in particular with Prosecco.

Wines with unmistakable identity

Asolo Prosecco has a distinctive character, which stands out for its structure and aromatic intensity, but also offers intriguing terroir nuances to explore. Wines from the calcareous hills in the west have the classic floral and white fruit aromas of the variety, while those of Montello are typically drier, more linear and more mineral, and particularly suited to Extra Brut wines.

In fact, Asolo was the first of the Prosecco denominations to officially recognise the ultra-dry style. Across the denomination as a whole, the fruity Extra Dry remains the most popular style, but with a tendency toward lower residual sugar than in the past. Nonetheless, a handful of producers keep faith with the delicious, semi-sweet Dry style, and there is also niche production of the bone-dry and savoury ‘Sui Lieviti’ (literally ‘on the lees’) bottle-refermented wines.

Rejuvenating the DOCG for the future

This extremely dynamic area continues to see significant levels of new investment. The producers’ Consorzio estimates that nearly a third of the 64 current producers are start-ups from the last five years – rejuvenating the DOCG with new ideas and cutting-edge winemaking. Standards are high in the cellar and the vineyard, where there is an increasing trend towards organic viticulture.

One of the great strengths of Asolo is its depth of diversity, which sees small, family-owned artisan winemakers like Bresolin and Bele Casal alongside high-quality cooperatives…

Source : https://www.decanter.com/sponsored/asolo-proseccos-premier-docg-goes-from-strength-to-strength-529865/