Our second full day in the Prosecco hills began with a leisurely drive towards a winery where we had a small tasting scheduled. There was lots of time on the way to stop for some photos and admire the towns while driving through. Here are some places that we discovered then and later throughout the day:
There are literally hundreds of wineries in this region that produce Prosecco. It makes it hard to pick some, let alone only one, if you’re only here for a short time. But it also means that you really can’t go wrong with any winery you choose! Being a holiday week when we went, a few of the wineries that I had inquired about were not open or they were already booked for events and such. However, I found this gem of a place and it made for such a fun experience to learn about this bottle of bubbly and what makes it so famous. The tour was low-key and the tasting was informal and full of conversation!
Their vineyard is an intimate combination of environment and landscape, a work of nature and man, and there they find the heart of their winemaking vocation. They believe that respecting their vineyard and the environment of which it is a component is crucial for achieving that masterpiece of equilibrium, producing a wine that displays both the personality of its territory and of those who make it. Bellenda loves exploring the vast world of sparkling wine. It holds an enormous fascination for them and enables them to be able to express themselves in so many ways: sparkling or semi-sparkling, with or without sediment, classic or Charmat method can be woven and combined together, depending on the fruit from the vineyard, on local traditions, or even a simple desire to try one’s hand at something never before attempted. For Bellenda, making wine means controlling the natural process of fermentation, ensuring that the fruit gives birth to a beverage, a food, that must of course be good but also above all, healthy. Then there is the pleasure and the history that every wine enfolds within itself and conveys in every sip. They believe the territory and its history should be expressed in every wine and all that goes into its creation: traditions, approaches, and the efforts they generate. This winery also has respect for the environment. No weed killers are used in the vineyards; rather they work the soil and mow grasses. Conventional roofs are gradually being replaced with green roofs to slow the off-flow of rain. The electrical energy used comes almost entirely from their solar panels. Large areas of woodland on the property are preserved to encourage biodiversity. Vine pruning’s are recovered and utilized for producing energy.
“Così è” (Col Fondo) was one of the most unique wines that we had tasted during our visit. Col Fondo means with “with sediment.” The oldest style of Prosecco, this is how it was made before the second fermentation was done in tanks. The yeast remains in the bottle, creating a Prosecco that has a distinctly different taste from the modern norm.
The only other to-do on our list for today was to pay a visit to the Caglieron Caves. The caves are located near the town of Fregona and consist of various cavities, some of which are natural, while others have artificial origins.
The natural part of the caves, which is actually a gorge, was incised by the Caglieron stream over millions of years. The torrent flows on calcareous conglomerates and marl creating various waterfalls, some of which are several feet high. A wooden path crosses the entire ravine, and in some areas, the water flowing from above rains down the walkway. Certain areas of the gorge have been used to extract sandstone known as pietra dolza (tender stone) since the 16th century. Other artificial cavities can be found all around the Caglieron ravine. When these caves were excavated, some inclined materials detached, this created several unique caverns with tilted columns that now support the rocks above. The Caglieron Caves were not only used to extract a particular sandstone, but the caverns were also utilized to age cheese, grow mushrooms, and one hosts a little church. Near the caves, two old water mills can also be found.http://atlasobscura.com/places/caglieron-caves
Our last night was spent in an agriturismo called, Tenuta Contarini, near Conegliano. This place was amazing! A dreamy avenue of ancient linden trees leads to a historic 19th century villa surrounded by vineyards. We were greeted warmly with a glass of Prosecco delivered to our room. After a bit of relaxing and unpacking, we headed outside to explore the grounds a bit. Then we WALKED THROUGH A VINEYARD to get to our local restaurant for the night! How cool is that?!??!
Dinner at Trattoria da Sabrina was just as superb as the views! We began with an antipasti, I Segreti di Daniele: homemade cured meats, soppressa, ossocolla, bacon and smoked black angus carpaccio with homemade pickled vegetables. Main meals included large ravioli stuffed with potatoes and speck, with a velvety sauce of fennel and butter, and homemade bigoli pasta with duck ragu. We split a second main course because the description intrigued us: egg with grilled leek, mustard seeds honey marinated, purple potato chips, toasted almonds on Parmesan cheese 36 month fondue.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!