Sparkling Wines from the Mountains

Often called the most beautiful mountains in the world, the UNESCO recognized Dolomites of northern Italy soar heavenward behind Trentino’s fertile pastures. Fortunately, you needn’t understand their fascinating geology—like how they once formed an enormous tropical coral reef—to appreciate their magnificence. The same can be said of the sparkling wine produced at the foot of these stony towers. Recognized by its collective trademark Trentodoc, corresponding to the Doc Trento appellation, the region’s bottle-fermented sparklers have long captivated consumers on the base of their elegance, aroma, and taste alone.

Yet wine lovers wonder why Italy’s finest bubbles prove as unique as their origin. Perhaps it’s the place: pure alpine sunlight mixed with warm days and cool nights imparts freshness and finesse. More than 70% of Trentino is above 3,000 feet. Or the people: those who meticulously tend the hillside vineyards and run the cellars, as they’ve done for generations. Or it’s the practice: winemakers adhere to long-established, stringent quality standards from fruit selection, to craftsmanship, to varying degrees of bottle aging. Indeed, all these factors contribute to Trentodoc’s inimitable character, earning Trentino Italy’s first classic method D.O.C. in 1993, one of the first worldwide.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, classic method or metodo classico, has been the sole production process employed for Trentodoc because its pioneers, like Giulio Ferrari, pursued excellence over excess. To that end, only the best varieties were, and continue to be, planted: Chardonnay for longevity and rich aroma, and Pinot Nero for elegance, structure, and body. After making a base wine, a second fermentation followed by slow lees aging occurs in the bottle. The regulated minimum aging period is 15 months for non-vintage and 36 months for vintage, allowing Trentodoc wines to develop wonderful complexity. Today, all producers exceed these requirements, some wines laid down nearly a decade before release.

Trentodoc’s partnership with the prestigious Master of Wine organization further testifies to the caliber and character of its mountain sparklers. With just 52 producers of approximately nine million bottles, always look for the trademark logo on the label to ensure you’re buying a Trentodoc original.

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Published on September 1, 2017