The Prosecco Wines of Bisol

Bisol, viticoltori in Valdobbiadene dal 1542

The prosecco grape is apparently a native variety that was only grown in a small area within the Veneto region until the 1970s when it started to be planted elsewhere in northern Italy. Now, it is even grown in southern Italy (we were told with a touch of distaste!).

The Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC is the only prosecco DOC in Italy and covers some 4,300 hectares of vineyards with around 3,500 growers, in the area between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

The most prestigious prosecco comes from the Cartizze zone: 106 hectares of vineyards lying between the hills of San Pietro di Barbozza, Santo Stefano and Saccol in the commune of Valdobbiadene.

Bisol are a family run company and, with some 50 hectares of vineyards, they are the largest landowner in the DOC area and have been making wine since 1542 (that's twenty to four in old money). While prosecco is now known almost exclusively for its sparkling wines, usually made by the méthode charmat, until a century ago, all prosecco was still wine.

Most of the wines we tasted were vintage wines, though the vintage is hidden away on the back label, and I didn't note it down for the early wines. Maybe someone else can fill in the gaps?

Bisol Desiderio Jeio, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC Spumante Brut
90% prosecco, 6% pinot biano, 4% verdiso, grown in vineyards at an average altitude of 250m. Cold maceration, with skin contact overnight.
11.5% abv, 9 g/l sugar, 5.5 g/l total acidity.
Cappucino foam in the glass. Lovely malic, creamy apple nose with a touch of sherbert. Light and round on the palate. Feels barely petillant in the mouth, and I reckon some of that's coming from the good acidity. Nice and elegant. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

Bisol Crede, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC Spumante Brut
A single vineyard Prosecco, comprising 85% prosecco, 10% pinot bianco; 5% Verdiso, grown on the steep hills of the "Poderi Bisol" (whatever that is). The wine's name, Crede, comes from the clay soils known as "crede".
11.5% abv; 10g/l sugar; 5.5 g/l total acidity.
A persistent foamy mousse. Elegant elderflower nose with a touch of honey. This is a touch fuller than the Jeio, but still very soft. Drier on the finish too. Very Good/Very Good Indeed (but I prefer the Jeio)

2003 Bisol Garnei, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC Spumante Dry
This is not a single vineyard wine, but draws on the best grapes from all their vineyards. 10,000 bottles produced. Garnei is a dialect word for grape seeds and applying the name to this wine they claim refers to the careful selection of bunches of grapes. The grapes are de-stemmed and cold macerated for fourteen hours at 8°C. The must matures for almost a year, when the secondary fermentation is begun using the methode charmat.
This had a citrussy nose with some leesy notes. Creamy on the palate, with some structure. Nice fruit flavours, with some distinct pear flavours, especially on the finish and after. Very Good Indeed.

Bisol Cartizze Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC Spumante Dry
100% prosecco, from the Cartizze sub-region. 11.6% abv; 25g/l sugar; 5.5g/l total acidity.
An attractive, fragrant nose with pear drops. Much more demi-sec on the palate than the preceding wines, but it has a pretty good balance. Very neat and focussed. Very Good Indeed.
Worked very well with the sushi that was rolled in dill leaves.

2004 Bisol Molera, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC
Molera is apparently the name for a soft greenish-yellow stone that rises to the surface here and there. He said they use this to cook risotto.
95% prosecco; 5% verdiso; 11.8% abv; 5.2 g/l total acidity.
This is, of course, a still wine. Very light on the nose - subdued floral elegance. Quite fragrant on the palate, but it also has a savoury note. Tails away completely on the finish. A touch insipid and ordinary. Good.

NV Bisol Duca di Dolle, Prosecco Passito
100% prosecco from vineyards at an average altitude of 300 metres. The grapes are dried in the traditional passito manner before undergoing alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel before maturing for 6-10 months in oak. The wine then enters a stainless steel solera system, currently comprising 13 vintages. This wine would be a blend of vintages from 1991 to 2003. Around 3500 bottles are released each year.
13.5% abv; 100-105 g/l sugar; 6.5 g/l total acidity.
A ripe, slightly raisined nose with some tropical fruit. Sweetish on the attack. Really quite interesting. Very nice balance. Carries its 105 g/l of sugar remarkably well. Very Good Indeed.

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Last updated: 15 December 2005