Today we have another great read from Naomi Fuller who is making us all jealous by sharing with us her Italian adventures up Prosecco Road. Be warned, you will be heavily craving prosecco, great Italian food and a holiday after reading this!
Continuing on from my wine travel hacks article, I was fortunate enough to attend the most beautiful and romantic Italian wedding of my Australian Friend in Brisighella, Italy, back in July, 2017.
View of Brisighella from the wedding venue.
Drinking Italian wine in Italy was a dream come true, and I was beyond ecstatic to be able to include drinking prosecco while travelling along Prosecco Road within my travel itinerary!
I first sampled some delicious Italian prosecco at the wedding where they had their very own bubbly cocktail bar. What a fabulous idea, and I may have visited the lovely bubbly bar staff on one, or many occasions.
We had the choice between bellini, a peach based prosecco cocktail, mimosa, a prosecco and orange juice cocktail and spritz, consisting of Aperol and/or Campari.
Bubbly bar at the Brisighella wedding. Image by wedding guest Kristian Barker.
After the wedding festivities (and Italians know how to party!), I travelled north to Follina, a small town within the Prosecco Road region, 3 hours north of Brisighella, and my place of residence for two nights.
Before I tell you about my experience, lets learn a little about Prosecco Road.
Where is Prosecco Road?
The region is set between the Dolomites and the Adriatic in North-East Italy. theguardian.com describes the region as “…a gorgeous valley north of Venice.” and the region consists of “…rolling hills that stretch from the town of Valdobbiadene past Treviso and Conegliano, as far as Vittorio Veneto.”
One of the many signs on show when travelling Prosecco Road.
Is prosecco a grape?
The Travelling Corkscrew describes prosecco as “…a sparkling wine made from the glera grape.”
A poster found at Marchiori Wines which shows five of the glera grape varieties, used to make their prosecco wines. You can find out more about the grape varieties on their website.
Is prosecco sweet or dry?
The short answer is, both.
Image source: http://www.terredeibuth.it/en
It is the residual sugar per litre, which determines whether a prosecco will be dry or sweet and this is determined by the length of the fermentation period; the longer the fermentation the dryer the prosecco and to produce a sweeter prosecco, the fermentation is interrupted by cooling.
- Prosecco Brut is the driest version of prosecco, therefore it has a lower residual sugar, less than 12 grams per litre.
- Prosecco Extra Dry has a greater amount of residual sugar and can vary between 12 and 17 grams per litre.
- Prosecco Dry is the third in the scale from the driest to the most sweetest, with residual sugar between 17 and 32 grams per litre. Sweeter than Brut and Extra Dry.
- Prosecco Demi-sec is the sweetest version of the prosecco wines. It has a sugar content between 32 and 50 grams per litre.
How I planned my Prosecco Road tour
One of the many hills found along Prosecco Road.
It was quite difficult trying to plan how I was going to get around the region before even leaving Australia. Upon completing many Google searches, I was presented with the following options:
- Self-drive – I was travelling on my own and I wanted to to try as many prosecco wines as possible. Drinking and driving was not an option.
- Tour from Venice – I wanted to base myself and fully immerse myself within the Prosecco Road region, so this option was out. Although, this may be an option for many as Venice is only 1.5 hours south.
- Taxi This was an expensive option which would require additional research into wineries and lunch options ad they do not act as tour operators. In addition, I would need to book these wineries in advance.
- Walk or Cycle – This could have been an option, however like the taxi option, I would need to organise my winery bookings and the area is quite hilly. Great for those of you who are feeling pretty fit, or wanting to lose some holiday weight.
- Public transport – I couldn’t find anything while researching, however I have since learnt that there is a bus service within the area.
While researching on Pinterest, I stumbled upon a blog post by Indiana Jo, where she also noted having issues finding an appropriate driver for the region.
I took the advice from her blog and booked Oriana as my driver for the day.
Oriana offered to pick me up at 10am from my accomodation, where we would visit three wineries as well as a stop for lunch.
She confirmed that the tour would last 4-5 hours and cost 175€, or almost AUD$300. In addition, I would need to pay for wine tastings at each of the wineries, ranging from 4-12€, plus the cost of lunch. This was the most cost effective tour option as I was travelling on my own. If you were to organise with friends or family, the cost would be quite reasonable.
Which wineries did I visit?
Signs are spotted all along the Prosecco Road.
Prosecco road is approximately 60 kilometres long and consists of at least 120 wine producers, of which I only visited three. I hope to go back again one day and try many more.
dami has been in operation for over 90 years producing only Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG and Prosecco DOC Treviso in its various types and expressions, both traditional and modern. Their style is linked to the diversity of each hill within the region.
Unsure about your DOCG’s to your DOC’s? Wine Folly has a great guide on Prosecco, as well as “Tips On Finding High-Quality Prosecco.”
Here I tasted 6 varieties of Prosecco and then continued on for a tour of the winery facilities.
Entry into the Adami tasting room.
Some of the prosecco wines I tasted on the day, including brut, dry and extra dry prosecco.
Each of the prosecco wines on offer at the Adami tasting room.
dami wines almost ready to leave the winery.
This was the second winery of the day.
The family have been cultivating grapes since the 1950s. Their focus has been to produce prosecco that combines both traditional and cutting-edge techniques.
I was quite fortunate to be the only person in the tasting room, so I had the full attention of their tasting room staff.
I tried their three proseccos on offer:
- aldobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut
- Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry
- Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG rifermentato in bottiglia
I was so impressed by each of the wines that I bought one of each.
Entry into the Marchiori tasting rooms.
Inside the tasting room.
Each of the five grapes made into their own bottle.
I was told that on their own the wine doesn’t taste so great, however once mixed, they would taste delicious! This is known as the “The 5 Varietals Project”.
A couple of glasses of prosecco ready to go plus an information sheet about the Glera grape.
A quick pic of me in the tasting room. The wall painting behind me represents their vineyards and the region.
The wines on offer, and the wines three of the wines that ended up leaving the tasting room with me.
Col Vetoraz is located on the very top of the homonymous hill next to the “Mont” of Cartizze in S. Stefano di Valdobbiadene, where they are 400 metres above sea level.The winery has beautiful sweeping views of the valley.
The winery has been owned by the Miotto Family since 1838 and has an extensive winery awards list.
ust like Marchiori, I was the only person in the tasting room. Consequently I had a dedicated person to take me through the wines and fantastic service.
Views from the tasting room.
One of the tasting areas where guests stand to taste the wine.
One of the prosecco wines I tasted, “Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze – DOCG”. And since I enjoyed it so much, I bought myself a couple of bottles.
Bonus: The Famous Prosecco Vending Machines
Just a short climb away from Col Vetoraz, up a steep and windy footpath, you can find two of the famous prosecco vending machines.
The walk up the hill isn’t for the faint hearted and my driver opted to not join me for this very reason.
Here you can pick up a bottle (or two) of prosecco, glasses and a selection of tasty snacks. Find a bench or a spot just off the path to soak up the amazing views.
Follow the the signs up the steep and windy footpath.
One of the two vending machines located in the area
Just thinking about how many bottles of prosecco I could possibly drink…
View from the vending machines overlooking Valdobbiadene TV, Italy.
Where I ate lunch & dinner on Prosecco Road
Lunch was included with my tour, although I would have to pay my own way, while dinner was at the recommendation of my driver.
Lunch at Locanda Marinelli
Locanda Marinelli, located in Farra di Soligo, is a family-owned, traditional Veneto restaurant.
Each dish was beautifully presented and I had the choice of what was on the menu or the days special which changed depending on what was in season and available.
In addition the service was impeccable and the wine delicious!
You can also opt to stay at the venue or pop in for dinner.
The walk up to the restaurant.
View from the restaurant, overlooking the many prosecco hills from the region.
My waiter, serving a glass of Mongarda Valdobbiadene Prosecco.
The every-day menu.
Menu of the day.
Hands down, my favourite meal while I was in Italy; Melt in your mouth deer carpaccio with stone fruits and berries.
My least favourite meal while in Italy; grappa grapes with vanilla ice cream.
Dinner at Ristorante La Corte
This is a One Michelin Starrestaurant.
I arrived at the restaurant without a reservation and I was quite fortunate to get a table where I dined outside in the beautiful garden patio. This is such a lovely options since it was summer.
Entry into La Corte.
My garden patio dinner view.
A glass of local prosecco before dinner. I asked my waiter to pour the best local Prosecco they had available; a glass of Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartizze (DOCG), from Garbara.
My appetizer, consisting of an assortment of breads (two complementary serves) and Cherry tomato and celery gazpacho.
With my main meal, I opted for a glass of Rugai DOC Colli di Conegliano Rosso from another local vineyard, Vigne Matte.
My main meal for the night was Grandma’s tagliatelle; ragu of rabbit of Montello and marjoram. At this stage I was so full I couldn’t finish the plate. I was defeated!
My complimentary dessert taster.
Bonus: B&B Four Winds
The owners of my accomodation for that night were hosting a get-together with close friends, so when I arrived back after leaving at 10am that day, and after just eating dinner, they offered for me to join them.
Some of the friends who were being entertained.
One of the guests, offering up a plateful of local watermelon.
A full plate of venison, beef and polenta, plus a glass of limoncello. I didn’t have to eat for days after my visit.
Where I stayed in the prosecco region
I stayed on the outskirts of Follina at B&B Four Winds. I found the accommodation through Booking.com. It was such a lovely setting and the owners were very kind and accommodating.
Four Winds is set in the countryside and includes a very large garden, features a shared furnished terrace, air-conditioned rooms, and buffet-style breakfast.
he rooms are rustic style and include an en suite bathroom. Each comes with wooden furnishings, a flat-screen TV, and views of the garden and countryside.
I enjoyed breakfast on the terrace which included sweet products like croissants, jam, pastries and bread.
View of the front of the building. The white umbrella was where I enjoyed my breakfast.
My view while eating breakfast.
“Strada del prosecco e vini dei colli conegliano valdobbiadene” translates to “Prosecco Road and wines from the Conegliano Valdobbiadene hills”.
My very ornate bed for my two night stay.
View from my window.
What I learnt from the Trip
- I now know what DOCG and DOC stand for.
- I have a HUGE appreciation from the number of small operators in the region.
- Prosecco is made from the grape glera and not a grape variety called prosecco.
- The difference between brut, dry and extra dry prosecco.
- In Italy, they prefer to only let you visit 2-3 wineries.
- Winery tours are far more expensive in Italy, when compared to Australia.
- Almost everyone I encountered spoke English. I did have Google translate ready to go for those more awkward moments.
What I would do differently Next Time
- Go with a friend – I think the experience would have been elevated if I was travelling Prosecco Road with someone who appreciated wine and the countryside.
- Stay longer and complete at least a second day of the region – there is so much amazing wine to taste, the food unbelievable and the sights were divine.
- Researched a little more – Although I did enjoy my driver selecting the wineries for me, I do enjoy feeling empowered to choose my own. Plus, I would have liked to have visited wineries which sell prosecco to the Australian market.
Did you know that we have our own Prosecco Road in Australia?
King Valley Prosecco Road is about 3 hours North-East of Melbourne, and consists of Dal Zotto, Brown Brothers, Chrismont, Pizzini and Sam Miranda wineries.
The Travelling Corkscrew has recently been enjoying some of their Proseccos:
As you guys know, I do love me a Prosecco. It’s fun, bubbly and cost effective. The King Valley in Victoria is synonymous with Prosecco and growing Italian grape varieties. Heck they even have a ‘Prosecco Road’ just like Italy does! This @brownbrothers Prosecco is about $18 a pop and goes down far too easily… It’s a pale straw colour on the eye with hints of lime. On the nose it’s über fresh and crisp with freshly cut apples ? and pears ? dominating for me. In the mouth it’s juicy and fruity with a lovely refreshing lemon-y character. Perfect mid-afternoon fizz any day of the week ? All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy! #tcweekdaywine #tctastingnotes
I hope I will have time to explore our very own Prosecco Road when I visit the Travelling Corkscrew in Victoria.
Have you visited Prosecco Road, either in Italy or Victoria, Australia? Tell us about your journey or travel tips below.