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Pioneering Prosecco

October 21, 2012 3:15 pm - Posted by Tracy in Drink

As Vice President of the company (and also of the Prosecco Superiore DOCG consortium), Elvira Bortolomiol is often the face of her family’s winery. I first met her during my inaugural trip to the Conegliano Valdobbiadene denomination and then had the opportunity to dine with her on her visit to New York, where she accepted the award for Wine Region of the Year at Wine Enthusiast’s annual dinner. Thus, I was eager to see her winery firsthand when I next arrived in the region.

Nestled just off one of the main squares in the village of Valdobbiadene, Bortolomiol is hidden from view despite its moderate size. Here, the winery facility sits adjacent to a two hectare vineyard, which has been farmed organically for the past three years. The property also features modern sculptures and a beautiful alley of trees, creating a park-like atmosphere.

Established in 1949 by Giuliano Bortolomiol, the company remains family owned and operated with sisters Maria Elena, Elvira, Luisa and Giuliana at the helm, continuing to build on their father’s legacy. The organic project has been guided by Guiliana, who had been integral in replanting all of the family’s vineyards alongside her father several decades earlier. Grapes from the new venture are destined for the winery’s IUS Naturae Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut.

For their other wines, Bortolomiol has vineyards outside the village and also works with 70 growers, all of whom have been required to sign contracts with the company agreeing to implement new protocols for sustainable agriculture. This forward-thinking approach is not new to the company. Even under Giuliano’s leadership, Bortolomiol has always been a pioneer – whether it was founding the Confraternita del Prosecco or being the first to produce a Brut-style Prosecco.

Like many daughters, the women are proud of their father, but unlike most of us, they have had the opportunity to honor his memory by naming a wine after him. In this regard, the Motus Vitae Il Brut di Giuliano, is a perfectly fitting tribute. The grapes for this wine come from a highly regarded vineyard in San Pietro di Barbozza, which qualifies this wine under the DOCG’s Rive designation.

Another wine that pays tribute to this remarkable man is the Bandarossa. The significance of this wine is that Giuliano used to make a red mark on the labels of his best bottles as a sign that these were the ones he wished to share with friends and family. Today, in this same tradition, the best batch of Extra Dry wine is reserved for and bottled as the Bandarossa, which features a red band on the label.

Bortolomiol’s portfolio is quite diverse with a range of vintage-dated wines, their I Tradizionali (which are not vintage-dated) and several others such as a frizzante and a tranquillo (still wine).

I was impressed with all of the wines I tasted during my visit, but my favorite was the Motus Vitae 2010. The second fermentation is initiated on February 27, which was Giuliano’s birthday and the wine was then aged for a longer period of time before bottling (7 months as compared to 2 months).  The result is a wine with aromas of flowers, wild herbs and minerality. The dry palate is beautifully structured, displaying citrus, melon and mineral notes throughout its long length.

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