Glera | prosecco grape harvest

Glera | prosecco grape harvest

The heroic grape harvest season of the Glera falls between the end of September and early October in Refrontolo. Refrontolo is a small town in the heart of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene and the Colli di Conegliano region.

Glera is the principal white grape variety of the prosecco sparkling wine. It is a late ripening grape variety. They are green and have a thin skin. The grape is classified as semi-aromatic with a high acidity, making it perfect for prosecco wine production.

The “vendemmia” in the province of Treviso is one of the most fascinating time of the year. It is a busy period when it comes to local harvest festivals and feasts.

Many tourists visit Italy especially in the fall season to discover the best (new) wines and food the region has to offer.

Vintage 2021

Summer 2021 in Italy was a warm growing season for the grapes. Warmer than average summer. The grapes didn’t suffer from water stress and sunburn, fortunately.

The quality of the grapes is superior this year. Due to the warm weather conditions the berries have accumulated more sugar than usual. The grapes are in good health and excellent in balance of sugar-acidity.

They say vintage 2021 is an outstanding wine year for prosecco. Good news for fans of this wine. Cheers!

Production process Prosecco Superiore

The area Conegliano Valdobbiadene is situated between Venice and the Dolomites. 

All the grapes have to be hand picked. The vines are planted on hills with narrow ridges and steep slopes. This makes mechanized harvest impossible.

After picking, the tractor driver brings the next load to the winery for fermentation. But before they are unloaded, they are weighed by the winemaker in order to check that they do not exceed the production limits fixed for each vineyard every year.

The grapes are pressed gently in absence of oxygen and any skin contact. 

The freshly pressed fruit juice is the must. The sugar concentration and the acid content will be measured before fermentation starts. Corrections/additions of yeast or acids can be needed and sulfites (SO2), are always be added during the wine making process.

Metodo Charmat / Martinotti

Prosecco is an Italian DOC and DOCG white sparkling wine.

The tank method “Metodo Charmat or Martinotti” is a very common method to make prosecco. The first fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to keep the fruity flavors in the wine.

While the second fermentation takes place, the large tank is sealed to prevent CO2 from escaping. This is a slow process.

The longer and slower the winemaking process, the more delicate the prosecco wine will be.

There are different qualities in prosecco. Production and quality of the grapes are definitely Superiore at Toffoli. Therefor their DOCG Superiore prosecco is often more expensive over the standard DOC.

Mind that prosecco is a wine to drink young, ideally within one year of its production. It is not a wine for storing.

Strada del Prosecco / Prosecco road

The Strada del Prosecco is Italy’s oldest wine route. At first it linked the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene but now it winds its way through more communities between the towns Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

The area has a number of biking,- hiking trails and good restaurants to eat. It is a unique and magnificent place where past and present come together.

Since 2019 the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene hills are UNESCO World Heritage site.

Wine tasting

Visitors are welcome at winery Toffoli to taste their wines. It is recommended to call or e-mail in advance to book a date and time.

The prosecco wine tasting takes place at the winery. Before you taste the wines the wine maker will guide you through his vineyards and the wine cellar.

Family Toffoli is happy to welcome you in Refrontolo!

Online wine tasting

A Taste of Veneto! is a unique wine experience with the winemaker himself Sante Toffoli and an Italian sommelier.

This online tour and tasting is the perfect way to get to know the winery and the wines from Veneto.

The tasting can be organized at any date and time of your choice. All wines from Toffoli will be sent from our distribution centre in Holland.

Getting excited? For more information about this online wine experience visit my website “A Taste of Veneto!

 

I pici alle vongole recipe

I pici alle vongole recipe

Pici is a local pasta specialty from the province of Siena. It is a thick hand rolled pasta made from flour and water. Pici Toscani are similar to fat spaghetti.

The local people from Montepulciano “i poliziani” eat pici quite often. Since I moved here, I only eat pici. This pasta is amazing. So delicious!

Normally I buy fresh pici in the supermarket. It is a 300 gram packet, just enough for two meals. They are fresh and can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Obviously dried pici are available as well in grocery stores, but I prefer the fresh homemade variety!

Le vongole veraci

I don’t live near the beach, but I eat fish regularly. Fish is one of my favorite dishes.

There are different types of clams. They live in the Mediterranean and Adriatic sea. On the Italian coast you find a wide range of good restaurants where they serve the best fish and fresh seafood.

In Italy we eat plenty of fish. I personally always prefer the clams “vongole veraci” for my pasta. This shellfish is bigger and they give an essential “sea” taste to the primo piatto.

A primo piatto can be a risotto or a pasta dish.

Recipe

Pici alle vongole is my personal recipe. I enjoy to experiment with different flavors and herbs. For the best pasta recipes I often ask locals, or I check out various recipe websites. Mostly I use the website of Giallo Zafferano.

I always put emotion and love in a dish, cooking is one of my greatest hobby. Besides wine tasting and running of course.

There are rules about Italian food that Italian follow and I respect that. Also the wine is important because the meal I prepare must pair with the wine I choose. It’s important to have a balance between the food and the wine.

I pici alle vongole

  • Primo piatto
  • Tuscan cuisine
  • Recipe for 1 persoon
Ingredients
  • 1 clove garlic
    Remove the skin, place the flat side of the knife over it and press down.
  • 1 fresh red chilly
    Chop the chilly into small pieces.
    How many chilly pieces you want to use for your pasta depends on how spicy you prefer to eat.
  • 150 gram pasta i pici
  • 100 ml white wine
    Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC
  • 300 gram vongole veraci
    Normally 250 gram is enough, but if you love vongole, the more the better.
  • half a bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
    chop the parsley
  • extra vergine olive oil
    two table spoons of olio Italiano
  • salt

Preparation

Bring the water to boil in a pot.

Scrub the clams clean. They are unlikely to have sand in them. But to be sure that they are all clean and healthy I recommend to clean them.

Put two table spoons of olive oil into the hot saucepan. Add the garlic and some slices of chilly. Swirl a few seconds and make sure that the garlic doesn’t get too brown.

Pour in the white wine and bring it to boil. Then add the clams and increase heat to high. Cover and cook the clams until they are open. This will take at least 6 minutes.

After the water for the pasta has started to boil I add some salt. Cook the pici al dente. The recommended cooking time on the pasta package is 10-12 minutes. I always prefer having the pasta al dente.

Meanwhile keep on stirring with a spatula. Add the pici to the pan with clams, cook over high heat, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and has soaked up some of the sauce.

Remove the garlic, add the parsley and some pasta water if the sauce seems dry.

Serve your pici alle vongole directly while its hot.

Buon appetito!

PS: to pour the wine in the pan before the vongole is a recommendation from a fish market vendor in Montepulciano.

Can I store the pici alle vongole in the refrigerator?

You can store the pici alle vongole for maximum one day in the refrigerator, but it’s not recommended. Le vongole should be eaten fresh and immediately with the pasta.

Wine and food pairing

Both wines are wonderful wines from the winery Toffoli in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area in the Veneto region, available on my wine webshop.