The Wine: Colfondo Frizzante 2021
Casa Belfi Colfondo Frizzante is a white sparkling natural wine from Veneto, Northeastern Italy, made from 100% native grape varietal Glera. The grapes are estate-grown and farmed biodynamically. Spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts, unfined, unfiltered, no added sulfites.
Colfondo ("col fondo" in Italian means "with sediment") is Prosecco made following a different method from the ubiquitous clean and bubbly Prosecco available everywhere, from gas stations to high-end Italian restaurants. The method is called “Ancestrale” (ancestral). Colfondo is made from Glera-based wine which after being bottled unfiltered, finishes fermenting in the bottle thanks to the yeast that’s still in the wine.
The result is a hazier, slightly drier, and less effervescent wine than vat fermentation, with distinct notes of yeast and packed with complex aromas - in this more similar to a Champagne than to your regular industrial Prosecco.
The Producer: Casa Belfi
Maurizio Donati of Casa Belfi is a biodynamic farmer and scrupulously natural winemaker going starkly against the norm of typical Prosecco. Located in Valdobiaddene, though nearby neighboring industrial farms, Donati works by the biodynamic calendar and uses biodynamic preparations to ensure the presence of biodiversity and microorganisms in the vineyard. His sparkling wines are colfondo (ancestral) method to keep in tune with the ancient winemaking traditions of his region. In the cellar, he works primarily with stainless steel, though he does experiment with amphora in certain cuvees. All fermentation is spontaneous with native yeasts, and the wines are neither fined nor filtered.
The Region: Veneto
Veneto is one of the most important wine regions of Italy, located in the North-Eastern corner of the Italian peninsula. It borders with Trentino-Alto Adige (north), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (north-east), Emilia-Romagna (south), and Lombardy (west).
The capital of Veneto is Venice, which is also its most populous city, followed by Verona, Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, and Rovigo. The east coast of Lake Garda, the biggest Italian lake, is part of Veneto and so is the tract of Alpine foothills called Venetian Prealps.
Veneto is the leading Italian region for quantity of wine produced – even though wine-producing regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardy, Puglia, and Sicily all have bigger territories.
Some of its most famous wines are Amarone della Valpolicella, Valpolicella, Soave, and of course Prosecco. Other less known but equally delicious wines are Recioto della Valpolicella, Recioto di Gambellara, Raboso del Piave, and Bardolino.
Veneto’s main characteristic is perhaps the great variety of wine types produced, obtained mostly from indigenous grape varietals – Corvina, Glera, and Garganega being the most common.
This is due as much to its specific geography and climate as it is to rather peculiar winemaking techniques such as the grape drying technique employed to make Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto’s most famous red wine.