Ca dei Zago Prosecco Ancestrale Method 2017
Founded in 1924, Ca’ dei Zago consists of 15 acres of vineyards in the well-respected commune of San Pietro in Barbozza, Valdobbiadene, Italy. Here, Christian Zanatta produces wines in the tradition of his grandfather, finishing fermentation in bottle under a crown cap in the method known as Col Fondo (better known in French as Pétillant Naturel or Pet-Nat). Wines made in this method exhibit good depth of flavor and appealing characteristics. Part of a new wave of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene growers and producers dedicated to this method, Christian was one of the first to release a Prosecco Col Fondo.
Col Fondo means with the sediment and indicates that the wine ages and remains on the lees (yeast sediment) rather than being disgorged to remove the yeast, as with traditional method sparkling wines, or being bottled directly from a pressurized tank after the secondary fermentation finishes, a method known as Charmat or close cuve. Traditionally, wines from Prosecco were produced col fondo and the resultant wines were slightly cloudy with definite sediment. In the 1970s, with the introduction of pressurized tanks in the region, Prosecco began being made using the Charmat method.
Ca’ dei Zago is located on steep terraces that are typical of Valdobbiadene. The extreme pitch of the slope makes it impossible to machine harvest. They practice biodynamics following Demeter standards. Because Col Fondo wines are not disgorged and there is no added sugar to finish the wines, Col Fondos are extremely dry. Not only is the Ca’ dei Zago Prosecco Col Fondo completely dry with no residual sugar, there are very few sulfites. Christian says, “the wine arrives to you as it was born.” I think you'll like the results.
The vines for this 2017 are 50 years old planted on clay limestone vineyards situated between 1,000-1,300 feet above sea level. It is predominantly made from Glera with small amounts of Verdiso, Perera and Bianchetta. After being harvested by hand, the grapes are gravity pressed without pumps and the juice rests on the must for approximately 24 hours. At the end of the second day, it is racked off and allowed to ferment in concrete tanks where it ferments for between 10-20 days (depending on the vintage). When fermentation has almost completely finished, a small amount of sulfur is added to avoid oxidation and the wine is bottled. The wine finishes fermenting in bottle and this produces bubbles that are trapped in the wine. The bottles are stored horizontally and are riddled for two months to keep the wine homogenous and to let the yeast do its work. The cellar is outside and the cold temperatures and the lees stabilize the wines. Because the wine is unfiltered and it is not disgorged, there is sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I recommend storing it upright while you are chilling it so the sediment can settle to the bottom of the bottle. If you wish, you can decant it, reserving the sediment to taste should you so desire.
The wine is lightly frothy, dry and at 10% abv, quite refreshing with aromas and flavors of citrus, peaches, baked bread and crushed stone minerality. This is a very versatile wine—drink it as an aperitif or with lighter dishes like salads, seafood or a meat and cheese tray.