Many people don’t know about Cartizze Prosecco simply because the production of this remarkable Italian sparkling wine is so limited. But those who enjoy Prosecco will want to try what is considered the “Grand Cru” of Prosecco wines.
The best place to try it is at its source, in the heart of the Prosecco Hills (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The limited production of these wines can make it difficult to find Cartizze in local wine shops or bars outside of Italy.
Although Prosecco is the most popular category of sparkling wine in the world (around 753 million bottles were consumed in 2021), only a small fraction – just over a million – carry the appellation Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG Superiore di Cartizze.
A place and a wine
Cartizze refers both to this type of Prosecco and to the unique place where the grapes used to make this wine are grown.
Often referred to as the ‘Golden Pentagon’, this small, hilly 108 hectare site is located in the municipality of Valdobbiadene in the Treviso region of Italy.
The terroir includes extremely steep slopes located at the foot of the Italian Alps in the famous Conegliano Valdobbiadene wine region. Here, the steep slopes of the hills require the vines to be cultivated and harvested by hand.
Pietro De Conti, a passionate young winemaker, born in Cartizze and raised in Australia, returned to his “roots” when his great uncle died. He hoped to continue the traditions of his ancestors making wines in the vineyards around the same house where he himself was born.
Trained as a mechanical engineer, De Conti aimed to use his technical training to produce what he calls the ‘Ferrari of Prosecco’. His methodical approach to winemaking research and development combines modern technology with deep respect for the traditions of this ancient terroir.
De Conti’s Pdc Cartizze winery, established in 2012, covers 1.5 hectares. His vineyards are among the largest of the 140 small growers in the area. However, most other growers do not produce Cartizze wine. Instead, they sell their Glera grapes to major winemakers who want to add Cartizze to their wine lists.
In particular, Pdc is the only organically certified small production winery in Cartizze, focused on producing sustainable wines without chemical residues from synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or chemical insecticides.
Cartizze Prosecco: A world apart
“Historically, most winemaking styles were imported from Europe – from Italy, France and Spain – and replicated around the world,” says De Conti. “But Cartizze is a unique expression of this region.”
De Conti’s vines are older with large trunks and deep roots that keep nutrients intact. He describes some of the physical qualities of this “micro-oasis” that set his five-generation vines apart:
- The southern exposure of the Cartizze vineyards provides plenty of sun, guaranteeing balanced ripening and a high sugar content in the grapes.
- The large temperature variations between day and night contribute to the aroma of the grapes and the wine.
- The wind provides ventilation that removes moisture, which is a major contributor to fungal disease, thus favoring sustainable cultivation and allowing the vines to grow healthier.
- The clay soil is rich in minerals, providing nutrition to the vines and salty structure to the wines. Like a sponge, this soil holds water so the vines can survive dry periods.
- The specifications of yields per hectare of vine in Cartizze are lower than other production areas, ensuring overproduction.
Recognized as wines in the greater Prosecco growing region, these near-perfect growing conditions result in fresh, elegant, well-balanced wines that can be enjoyed and enjoyed before and during a meal.
Despite the worldwide popularity of the Aperol Spritz, these wines are too special to be used in mixed cocktails.
IF YOU GO
The Cartizze wine region is located between the hamlets of Santo Stefano, Saccol and San Pietro di Barbozza.
Pdc offers tastings of four types of Cartizze (Cartizze Brut, Cartizze Extra Dry, Cartizze Dry and Cartizze Extra Brut) as well as vineyard tours in a welcoming setting with stunning views of the Prosecco hills. A wine shop is located next to the tasting room located at Strada Cartizza 5, 31049 Valdobbiadene, Italy.
For reservations or additional information, please contact: [email protected]
Previously on Forbes.com:
Wine tourism: Drink the sparkling wines of the Veneto