A glass of Masottina Prosecco represents the unique nature of the terroir and the embodiment of a traditional production method which sees man and man’s wisdom as the key to superior quality.
Just north of Venice, there is a magical place that produces some of the most beloved sparkling wines of the world. Prosecco is the bubbly of choice for most Italians, and if you look further, it is the sparkling wine of choice across the globe. Prosecco is fresh and crisp, the bubbles tickle your palate and elevate your mood. The best Proseccos come from Conegliano Valdobbiadene and the most enchanting Proseccos are made by Masottina.
Dal Bianco Family
The Dal Bianco family has been making Prosecco for three generations. The family’s passion for wine, tradition and love of the land is clearly expressed in their wines. Masottina is one of the most respected producer of Prosecco in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene region.
Masottina was first started by Epifanio Dal Bianco in 1946, shortly after World War II. He was one of the pioneers to truly understand the potential of the region. Later his three sons, Adriano, Valerio, and Renzo, took over the company and transformed it from grape growing to winemaking. Today the third generation is at the helm, with Adriano as winemaker; respecting the values of grape growing traditions and winemaking techniques that go back centuries. The quality of the wines are a tribute to the hard work, passion and dedication of the Masottina family
The area where Masottina Prosecco is produced, is lined with rolling hills, steep terraces and gorgeous landscapes; 350 hectares of vineyards that extend over the hills of Conegliano and in the lands of the Piave, in Gorgo Al Monticano. The varied physical characteristics of the earth and the complex geological and climatic nature of the area make these lands the perfect production settings for Prosecco Superiore.
On my recent visit to Masottina, we were greeted by Federico Dal Bianco atop the hills of Ogliano at their new state of the art, three level winery. Innovation, sustainable technology, responsibility and precision are the guidelines of the Masottina production system. These values allow Massotina to achieve the highest qualitative standards all the while staying true to the traditions of their unique terroir.
Over our three days with the Dal Bianco family we toured the breathtaking rolling hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Driving through the narrow, windy roads between Conegliano in the east and Valdobbiadene to the west was a visual dream. The scenic route is known as The Strada del Prosecco(the Prosecco Route) and is lined with charming villages, churches, castles and vineyards. It was an opportunity to fully grasp the history, culture and winemaking traditions of Masottina wines.
Food & Wine
Part of the culture of the region is the food and cuisine of area. The signature dish of the Veneto region is unmistakably Risotto. During a lunch at Al Castello in the hills of Conegliano, overlooking the jaw dropping Pre-Alps, Federico shared with us his grandmother’s recipe for Risotto. Federico reached for a bottle of Masottina “Contrada Granda” Rive di Ogliano Brut Prosecco, and we all immediately thought he was going to pour us a glass, but instead he proceeds to pour a few splash of the Contrada Granda Prosecco over his Risotto.
We all looked in astonishment. With all our mouths watering, we were intrigued and curious to try. I have to say the idea is GENIUS. I have since attempted to make Prosecco Risotto at home for my friends and family and it always bring a laugh to the table and a sparkle to the palate. The memory of devouring a plate of Prosecco Risotto with Federico Dal Bianco overlooking the spectacular hills of Conegliano is a memory that I will never forget, nor will my palate. Click here for the delectable recipe.
The Prosecco mania has certainly taken the world by storm, even outpacing Champagne as the bubbly of choice in terms of unit sales, but not all Prosecco is created equally. There is a vast difference between Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOCG. Prosecco Superiore DOCG needs to be differentiated and understood.
Federico had created a tasting seminar to help educate our palate on the Prosecco pyramid. We tasted through seven Masottina wines that fall under the Prosecco four tiered pyramid. Understanding the difference between DOC, DOC Treviso, and DOCG Superiore, all comes down to the slopes, quality and terroir. Ultimately the palate is able to differentiate the various levels of the pyramid, as the Masottina wines clearly were distinct and representative their terroir.
The Prosecco production zone is quite large and so the pyramid hierarchy was a great way to understand the regions, terroir and quality of Masottina wines. The vast majority of Prosecco is made at the base of the pyramid. As you go up the pyramid the production gets smaller, and the rules for DOC versus DOCG become more stringent. Lastly at the top of the pyramid, are the limited production Grand Crus(Rive and Cartizze) that are pure terroir.
Ogliano is one of the very best Rive and it was here that Masottina chose to invest, harnessing the potential of the area’s unique characteristics to produce the company’s finest wines.
Masottina Prosecco Brut Organic DOC NV
At the base of the pyramid, comes this Brut Organic Prosecco DOC. This is the only DOC that Masottina makes, and they do it incredibly well. This fresh and light Prosecco is from certified organic vineyards and showcases all the complexities of the Glera grape. Simply a beautiful bubbly.
Masottina Prosecco Brut DOC Treviso NV and Masottina Prosecco Extra Dry DOC Treviso NV
As we move up the pyramid there is clearly more intensity of flavor and acidity with this Treviso DOC versus the DOC. Both the Brut and Extra Dry have the same base wine, the Extra Dry has a little more residual sugar(14 g/l)
The Brut is a best seller for Masottina and has been award 96 points by Steven Spurrier. This is quite a feat for Masottina, as no Prosecco has ever been awarded such a high rating by Spurrier. The bubbly expresses notes of red berries, leather, and smoke. It is really fresh and clean with many layers of complexity.
Due to the extra residual sugar, the Extra Dry DOC Treviso will pair beautifully with food that has a little spice.
Masottina Conegliano Valdobbiadene Brut DOCG Prosecco DOCG Superiore and Masottina Conegliano Valdobbiadene Extra Dry DOCG Prosecco Superiore
Clearly the complexity of the wines are exhibited at the DOCG Superiore level of the pyramid. Due to the rich clay soils, the Proseccos of Conegliano are firm, crisp and structured. The steep terraced vineyards of Valdobbiadene with sandy soils, deliver aromatic, fragrant and clean wines
The Masottina Brut DOCG Superiore and Extra Dry DOCG Superiore are a unique blend of grapes that are 80% Ogliano(village where their winery is located) with the other 20% coming from the village of Solighetto and Rolle. The Dal Bianco family wanted a wine with the structure and intensity of Ogliano, blended with the complexity of white flowers and minerality from Solighetto, and the bright acidity from northern area of Rolle.
You clearly feel and taste the intensity of this wine versus DOC. Both the Brut and Extra Dry have more acidity and freshness and more floral characters. Ogliano wines have a spicy sage, white peppers, and cardamom flavors, which are evident in these two Proseccos.
Masottina “Contrada Granda” Brut Rive di Ogliano Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore 2018
Now we get to the Grand Cru level of the pyramid with Rive single vineyard Prosecco. These limited production Proseccos are more precise and intense. The Contrada Granda is a very delicate wine, coming from the western side of Ogliano which has less influence from the winds, and more influence from the sun. It is a Prosecco that is fresh, clean and charming. There is incredible structure and persistence. Contra Granda has minerality and a tight edge that is refrained and quite elegant. This is a wine that clearly exhibits Ogliano micro-zones.
Masottina “Le Rive di Ogliano” Extra Dry DOCG Prosecco Superiore 2018
This is an iconic Prosecco that captures the essence of the Grand Cru “Le Rive di Ogliano”. It is very distinct from the Contrada Granda because it is from eastern part of Ogliano, which has more winds and less sun. The winds impart a natural concentration to the grapes which give you an explosion of fruit, body and structure. The grapes come from 50 year old vines, giving the Prosecco excellent structure and persistence. “Le Rive di Ogliano has twice been awarded Best Prosecco in the World, by Decanter Magazine.
Federico says, “The Contrada Granda and Le Rive di Ogliano are two different souls of the soils of Ogliano.” The western side of Ogliano is more fruity, intense and aromatic. The eastern side is intense with a bigger body and more structure . Both very complex and both alluringly good.
When you taste through the pyramid you realize that Prosecco is not one-dimensional. You come to the conclusion that the higher up the pyramid you taste, the structure and the intensity of the wines increase.
The pyramid exploration was an exercise that showcased the differences and nuances of the various Proseccos, but no matter what Masottina Prosecco you choose, it will be one of quality, elegance and sophistication. The Masottina Proseccos showcase the Dal Bianco’s, passion and dedication to the region.