After our tasting of Alice Prosecco, Cinzia handed us off to her husband, Umberto Cosmo, co-owner of Bellenda, who walked us through an educational tasting covering the history and various styles of Prosecco. Umberto’s family has focused on farming for generations (eggs and cheese), and he went to veterinary school. However, he and his brother decided they wanted to do something different and make wine instead. Today they own and operate Bellenda.
Umberto explained that Prosecco is sparkling wine, similar to Champagne and Cava, but it comes from a hilly growing area in the Veneto (Northeastern Italy) where sparkling wine has been produced since the mid-1800’s. It is made from Glera, a native white grape varietal unique to the region. The Glera grape is also sometimes called “Prosecco” by enologists, so it could be said that Prosecco is both a grape and a region. Interestingly, within the region of Prosecco, there are also producers of semi-sparkling and still wines. You can find everything from small-production to mass-produced wines in the region, but seeking out high quality wines from artisan producers like Bellenda or Alice definitely makes a difference in the notes and flavors that you’ll experience.
All of the Bellenda wines are delicious, but it was especially fun to taste the frizzante and bottle-fermented wines with sediment. As you can see in the picture above, the Radicale wine (exclusively sold in magnum) is labeled upside down. This is because the bottles are stored upside down, so that the yeast sediment that is remaining in the bottle from secondary fermentation is expelled when you pop the cork. The wine has a straw yellow color and rich flavor. If you visit, Bellenda, you need to check out their variety of experiences like the Prosecco Picnic or a personal tour of Prosecco.
We also had the privilege of spending an evening out to dinner with Umberto at one of his favorite local restaurants, Osteria Das Mazzeri, which is run by two brothers in Follina, Italy. We had so much fun talking about everything from wine, to Italian politics, history, and his upcoming motorcycle road trip through the Middle East. We started dinner with Prosecco, along with dishes of meats, pickled vegetables, and braised artichokes from Venice. Then we tried an amazing red wine from the Prosecco region, which was perfectly paired with one of the best pasta fagioli we’ve ever had! We also tried savory duck sausage and porcini ravioli. Fantastic food, conversation, and wine. What more could you ask for? Check out our Guide to Veneto for more ideas on what to do while visiting Veneto.
You can find Bellenda in the United States here.