Zucchetto Estate Vineyards
A mountain vineyard that produces wines at the height of excellence
I’ll start by sharing that I am very picky when it comes to Prosecco. After living in Venice for 12 years, I am accustomed to drinking only the very best DOCG Prosecco. The Veneto region, whose capitol is Venice, is where genuine Prosecco is made. The region is also home to the town of Valdobbiadene, the original production zone for DOCG Prosecco Superiore.
In late 2016, I drove up to Valdobbiadene at the foot of the Dolomite Mountains, in search of the perfect partner for the year’s bottling. After tasting several great wines, (honestly in Valdobbiadene it’s hard to find bad wine), I landed at Zucchetto Estate managed by Carlo Zucchetto. He is the third generation to run this family-owned winery. He gave me exactly what I was looking for: the perfect balance of quality, innovation, sustainability and hospitality.
Carlo hosted me for a tasting and was so kind, informative and generous. The Zucchetto family history and their story is very typical of Valdobbiadene, but there is something extra special about this place, wine and the people behind it. I was so lucky to find them and am very proud to represent them in California.
The area where Zucchetto Estate is located is known for its quality, due to the steep hills and sun exposure. Locals say that Valdobbiadene is the place of truly heroic winemakers due to the difficulty in harvesting the grapes (Prosecco is made from 100% glera grapes, the varietal is sometimes simply called prosecco). There are no machines used in harvesting, it is done only by hand and timing is everything! The steep hillsides and sometimes extreme climate conditions, are a true test of the dedication of local winemakers.
Most of the producers in Valdobbiadene are small with an average production of less than 150,000 bottles. In my opinion, the best wines are found with those who limit their production to 60,000-100,000 bottles annually. When production is limited it usually guarantees that the fruit is estate grown and not purchased from outside the area. Yes, estate bottled Prosecco from Valdobbiadene is the best. You can taste the difference!
Another important factor in selecting the highest quality prosecco is the vintage. Prosecco is a single vintage wine, meaning it goes from harvest to fermentation to the bottle and should be enjoyed within 12–18 months of bottling. The exception to my “drink-it-within-12-month” advice is the “Gran Cru” of Prosecco, called Cartizze. Cartizze comes from grapes grown ONLY and EXCLUSIVELY in the very small area of Valdobbiadene (just over 260 acres of land) where only a select number of winemakers who own small plots can grow their glera grapes. The wine is made with the same process as Prosecco Superiore, but it’s the quality of the grapes from the Cartizze hillside, that creates exceptional wine, which evolves well over 2–3 years.
On average, Zucchetto Estate produces approximately 25,000 bottles of the DOCG Prosecco Superior Extra Dry, and about 5,000 bottles of Cartizze. They also make another Gran Cru, very similar to Cartizze, called PuroFol (which means Pure Fol). Fol is the name of the location, adjacent to Cartizze, where the grapes are grown.
The PuroFol is drier than Cartizze, less than 1gr of residual sugars compared to 5gr in Cartizze), they only make about 9,000 bottles of this very special sparkling wine and I put my order in on the spot!
All of Zucchetto Estate Vinyard’s wines are amazing. They sparkle in the glass like sequins and are so lovely on the palate. The three wines that I have brought you, offer a wide choice of dryness: PuroFol is an Extra-Brut with less than 1gr residual sugar, Cartizze is a perfect Brut with ~5gr residual sugar, and the Superior Extra Dry, is perhaps the most widely appreciated, with ~13gr. Whichever offering you choose, one thing is certain, you wont be disappointed in Zucchetto Estate Vineyard’s wines.