Skip to main content

Bellenda Conegliano Valdobbiadene

I recently had a Zoom tasting with Bellenda 1986 owner, Umberto Cosmo. We were tasting some sparkling wines from the premium Prosecco region, Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Conegliano Valdobbiadene is located in a hilly area in northeastern Italy, just 30 miles from Venice and about 60 from the Dolomites. This area has been producing wines from the Glera grape for three centuries, Glera is the most important grape in Prosecco Superiore. The region’s production area includes 15 communes and represents the heart of Prosecco territory. The wines from this region are classified as a Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (D.O.C.G.) which is the highest level of quality for Italian wines.

I recently visited the Asolo D.O.C.G. which is the only other region producing this higher level of Prosecco. Most of the Prosecco wines seen in the Houston area seem to be the less stringently regulated D.O.C. classification. You can read more in this blog about Asolo Prosecco here.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene’s location between the sea and the Pre-Alps helps it to maintain its mild climate, with an average temperature during the year of  55°F with steady breezes, which allow the grapes to dry quickly after rainfall. The hills stretch from east to west, they have a south-facing slope where the vineyards sit with excellent exposure to sunshine while the northern slopes are typically woodland which keeps the area more biodiverse. The altitude of the vineyards range from 900 and 1600 feet. The diurnal swing helps to develop aromas and maintain natural acidity. 

The Glera grape variety has found an ideal environment in these hills. The soils of Conegliano Valdobbiadene derive from ancient sea and lake beds and glacier movement. The glacier derived soils are deep, some composed of conglomerates of rock and sand with clay with some areas rich in iron oxide while others are composed of the less deep marine origin soils of marl and sandstone The different combinations of slope, exposure and soils make each micro-zone in the region unique.

At Bellenda, the business is a family affair with Umberto’s brother working as head winemaker and other members of the next generation also involved. Their total production is 8,000,000 cases which translates to about 100 million bottles, of which about 30,000 cases are D.O.C.G.. The winery has over 85 acres which are bottled under the Bellenda label. The D.O.C. wines are sourced from a few select growers. The vineyards are farmed with an eye to protecting biodiversity, following practices such as not mowing the grass between and under the vines.

The Tasting

My tasting notes were written during the Zoom meeting but as I had only poured small tastes, most were served at Thanksgiving two days after. All the wines were still in good condition and still very effervescent.

San Fermo Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore Brut 2022 - The San Fermo name comes from the church that sits next to the vineyard in the Conegliano hills. It undergoes fermentation in a steel tank before bottling. Umberto shared that this wine evolves to express the morainic soils on which the grapes grow with notes of saffron and petrol over time, at our tasting it was very fresh, lively, and mineral driven. Umberto stated that he likes it as an aperitif with salami and cheese or with risotto or roast chicken. I greeted my guests upon arrival with small pours and everyone wanted more which, unfortunately, I did not have. 

Sie Uno Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore Extra Brut Rive di Carpesica 2020 - This classic method sparkler is fresh, crisp, and elegant with notes of apple, melon, bergamot, and mint with a touch of hazelnut in the lingering finish. Enjoy it with vegetable antipasti or seafood. The term “Rive” indicates the slopes of the steep hills that are characteristic of the zone. This category of wine highlights the diverse expressions of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Rive wines are often obtained from the most precipitous, high-quality vineyards, from grapes grown in a single commune or area, showcasing the characteristics that a particular terroir gives to the wine. Within the denomination there are 43 Rive, and each one expresses a different and distinctive combination of soil, exposure and microclimate with reduced yields with the grapes picked exclusively by hand and the vintage always shown on the label. I was sipping on this during my dinner preparation so only a couple of early arrivers had the opportunity to taste this one.

Bellenda Prosecco DOC Rose - This pink crowd pleaser is made from Glera and Pinot Noir. The Glera sourced from the northernmost part of Treviso while the Pinot noir comes from vineyards with limestone soils. Full bodied, aromatic with notes of cherry, and fruit forward with a wild strawberry taste, this was also a hit with my Thanksgiving Day guests.

Con Alti - PetNat Colli Trevigiani IGT - This unfiltered wine with its cloudy look was a bit more polarizing. The younger guests were delighted to try it and seemed to enjoy it more than my older guests. Made from a field blend of grapes including Glera, Marzemino Bianca, Vertizzo, and Boschero to name a few, this wine displayed a flinty nose and a dry, yeasty, citrus finish.

All the wines are recommended.


Popular posts from this blog

An Immersive Introduction into the World of Asolo Prosecco

Dinner Views at Osteria Alla Baracca. I was very excited to visit the Asolo DOCG Prosecco region at the end of May on a press trip as it is an Italian area that I have not previously traveled through. Asolo is located in the Province of Treviso at the foot of Monte Grappa in the high hills to the west of the Piave River with views of the Dolomites. The grapes are grown in 17 communes surrounding the town of Asolo. The days were very warm while I was there but I needed a sweater or light jacket on most evenings due to the diurnal swing that makes it a great area for grape growing. Wines from the Master Class Tasting. Asolo was elevated to the DOCG level in 2009. The majority of the Prosecco that I have found in Houston is Prosecco DOC which is mostly from very large producers. Asolo was separated from this category and the region was given this higher status because there are terroir elements that make it distinctive in the world of Prosecco. The Sant'Anna Vineyard. Many of the vin

Lunch at Cépage paired with Paso Robles Sparkling Wine

Cépage is the elegant new restaurant inside of the recently refurbished Paris Valley Road Estate & Winery Tasting Room. Cépage opened in 2022 and currently serves lunch and weekend brunch. Paris Valley Estate is a fairly new brand that is named after the two lane road in Monterey County where the owners, the Stoller family, planted their first vineyard over 20 years ago. The new name inspired them to renovate the former Arciero Winery in the opulent style of French Grand Cru domaines they had previously visited, explained winemaker, Doug Hidinger. I was visiting on a rainy day so I did not get to tour the grounds or take many outside pictures, unfortunately. The table was set and ready upon arrival. Hidinger was at lunch to present both the Paris Valley Road Sparkling Wine 2019 and the Sextant Edna Valley Sparkling Wine 2012 from a sister property of Paris Valley Road. Owner/Winemaker of Vino Vargas , Pedro Vargas, was also there to present his three sparkling wines. All of these

Tasting Collavini

On a recent zoom tasting with Collavini owner, Luigi Collavini, I was able to taste six of the top selling wines from the Eugenio Collavini collection. Collavini winery is located in Corno di Rosazzo in the Collio DOC appellation, this area is a highly regarded part of Friuli. The winery is near the border with Slovenia is the area where the hillside slopes become steeper and the cooling Bora wind helps maintain the grapes natural acidity.  Luigi Collavini shared that the mountains were still white with snow and the shimmering sea could be seen below the flatlands. The winery is located 50 kilometers from the mountains and 30 kilometers from the sea so both influence the winery’s terroir. He stated that the cold north winds give the wines freshness and accent the minerality while the warm winds from the south increase the size of the grapes and the volume of wine produced as well as the grapes’ sugar level and, therefore, alcohol content.  The history of the land begins millions of yea