The Wine: 450 S.l.m. 2017
White pet nat natural wine made from Glera Veneto native grape varietal farmed organically. 450 S.l.m. - Above Sea Level in Italian, the elevation of the parcel - is made with the ancestral method - refermented in the bottle. Spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts, unfined, unfiltered, no added sulfites.
The Producer: Costadila'
Costadilà ('the hillside over there') was founded by Ernesto Cattel and a group of partners in 2006. Though Ernesto has now quit his full-time job to focus entirely on the operation, everything started as a labor of love. The Costadilà project's goal is to valorize and rejuvenate Tarzo's rich agricultural traditions by reintroducing natural farming to the region.
The scope goes well beyond wine, with a strong emphasis on polyculture: a farm where vines, fruits, vegetables, cereals and livestock coexist on the same plots of land. Completing the cycle, the produce grown from Costadilà land is then used and sold in local businesses. By creating this model farm for the region, Ernesto and his partners hope to show a successful example to other farmers trapped in a monoculture economy.
Everything at Costadilà is farmed organically. As far as the wines, they are fermented with native yeasts until completely dry, then bottled with must made from passito grapes they dry themselves for secondary fermentation. No sulfur is used at any point in the vinification. Each bottling is named in accordance to the site's elevation (280 Slm = 280 above sea level, etc.).
The four traditional grapes of Prosecco, Glera, Bianchietta and Verduzzo, are grown and used to make wine. The three lesser-known varieties used to be widespread in the area, often blended together to make the region's famous sparkling wine. But in an all too common scenario, farmers began to realize that Prosecco was more prolific and high yielding and began tearing out their remaining vines to replant the more productive varietal.
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 the 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.