The Dal Zotto prosecco story is the stuff of legends. Just over a decade ago Otto Dal Zotto, King Valley tobacco grower turned grape grower and winemaker, launched himself into a quest: he wanted to make sparking wine from the prosecco grape, the grape he grew up with in his town of Valdobbiadene in Veneto in Northern Italy. After much effort searching he found some prosecco vines in Australia – in a backyard in Adelaide. Now the King Valley is synonymous with prosecco, a sparkling wine that people can enjoy for everyday celebrations.

There is a coda to that story. The Dal Zotto family’s prosecco range offers clean, clear and aromatic sparkling wine popular with lovers of classic bubbles which has developed a strong and enthusiatic following. It is, however, different to the prosecco wines that Otto remembered from his youth in Italy, so he decided he would try to make the kind of authentic but rustic prosecco wine made by Italians in their farmhouses and in their small cellars.

Together Otto, Michael and Christian Dal Zotto worked to create a prosecco that was more like the cloudy handmade wines of Otto’s youth – ‘The wines you find in the trattorias in the northern part of Italy,’ Michael says. They produced a small batch of wine using an artisanal process known as methode ancestrale. The wine is bottled, along with the active yeasts, before fermentation is completed, and capped so that fermentation continues inside the bottle. Instead of disgorging the yeast sediment or lees when fermentation has ended – the usual routine in the more commercial methode champenoise – they leave the lees in the bottle. The resulting wine is named Dal Zotto Pucino Col Fondo. (Pucino is the old word for prosecco and col fondo refers to the fact that the wine sits on the yeast or lees.)

Michael suggests serving it chilled and perhaps making the most of the yeast by giving it a gentle roll as one would a bottle of Coopers’ ale. The wine is crisp with notes of ginger; its lovely lingering savoury elements make it the perfect partner to foods such as cheese and salume. ‘It is still an everyday wine,’ says Michael’s brother Christian. ‘But that extra texture has that depth. And it reminds Dad so much of Valdobbiadene. He is very proud of it.’

The 2014 Dal Zotto Pucino Col Fondo is now available at the Dal Zotto’s King Valley cellar door.

4861 Wangaratta-Whitfield Road,
Whitfield, Victoria
Tel 03 5729 8321

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