Have you spotted the word ‘Rive’ on some Prosecco labels? A Rive Prosecco refers to something special and indicates a super premium quality Prosecco. It is a fairly recent addition to the Prosecco portfolio and something any Prosecco lover ought to be aware of. If you look at the Prosecco Quality Pyramid below there are essentially 4 quality levels: starting with ‘Prosecco DOC’ climbing to ‘Superiore di Cartizze DOCG’ at the top, with the ‘Rive’ sitting above ‘Prosecco Superiore DOCG’.
To achieve the 'Rive' Prosecco status it has to be made using grapes (at least 85% Glera) from one of 43 certified areas within the Conegliano-Valdobbiandene Prosecco Superiore region. The Italian term 'Rive’ refers to the very steep hillsides which is characteristic of the region.
These areas are deemed to have superior land and micro-climates to produce top quality grapes which therefore contributes to producing a premium Prosecco. Each of the 43 areas has a different terrior (ie, different soil, weather conditions) which contributes to the unique taste of their Prosecco. In producing the Rive Prosecco, yields are reduced to 13 tonnes of grapes per hectare, the grapes are picked exclusively by hand and the vintage (year of the harvest) is always shown on the label. You also need a highly skilled winery to be able to manage top class grapes and produce a fantastic end result, aka Ca'Salina. The Ca'Salina family are seen in the below photograph.
Our new Rive by Ca’Salina winery is called ‘Valdobbiadene – Prosecco Superiore DOCG – Millesimato 2019 - Rive di Santo Stefano – Extra Brut’. So just to explain for those of us not from Italy or familiar with the terms;
- Valdobbiadene - a town in the premium Prosecco region in Veneto, Northern Italy where Ca’Salina and their grapes are from.
- Prosecco Superiore DOCG – indicates the wine is a superior Prosecco from a defined area and meets quality standards. The Italian DOCG means in English Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin.
- Millesimato 2019 – the wine is made with grapes from a single harvest in 2019.
- Rive di Santo Stefano – the grapes are from Santo Stefano, one of the 43 smaller identified areas within the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore region.
- Extra Brut – refers to the residual sugar level of the wine. Extra Brut can be 0-6 grams of sugar per litre. Ca’Salina's Rive Prosecco has a very low sugar level of 1.4 grams per litre.
Incidentally, you can see that Ca’Salina’s Rive doesn’t mention ‘Prosecco’ on the front label, just on the back label. This is common with other producers too. This is because as the Rive is a super premium wine it celebrates the region where it is made ie, Valdobbiadene, rather than the risk of appearing to be just another Prosecco like any other, which it certainly isn’t.
Ca’Salina use their very best Glera grapes to make the Rive Prosecco and have made a limited production of 6744 bottles which is quoted on the label. The 2nd fermentation process lasts for around 4.5 months (typically around 15-30 days for other Proseccos), which develops the complexity of the flavour and elegant style. The retail price at £29.95 is higher than you’d pay for a typical Prosecco, though this is no typical Prosecco. And when you consider all the work and skill that goes into producing such a luxury Prosecco and compared to other premium Champagnes and sparkling wines, it’s actually very good value. With a classy, striking and proud appearance too in black and gold, it certainly looks and sounds an impressive and special Prosecco. But how does it taste which is even more important?
In terms of enjoying Ca’Salina’s Rive, I found the wine extremely aromatic and a delight to drink. The aroma was quite literally jumping out of the (Riedel Prosecco Superiore) glass and a wonderful aroma it has too. Beautiful, fresh notes of green apple, pear and floral notes on the nose. With extra complexity than is normally found in Prosecco, refreshing green apple with a delicate touch of citrus was my experience when tasting the wine. It has a great not-too-high acidity balanced with the natural low level of sugar present in the wine and a modest 11.5% ABV. Very dry to your taste, but still delivering a softness to your palate combined with elegance and a sophisticated style which the tiny bubbles deliver so well.
We all know taste is very subjective and just because a wine is considered premium quality there is no guarantee that you will love it. There’s only one way to find that out and that is to taste it yourself!
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Owner of Just Perfect Wines