Although the DOC of Prosecco is named after a town over 100km away on the coast near Trieste, the heart of its production is in Conegliano Valdobbiadene in the Veneto. This UNESCO World Heritage site - located in the hills on the way north from Venice and Treviso towards Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Dolomites - is the true home of the Glera grape variety, historically known as the Prosecco.
BiancaVigna is the brainchild of Elena Moschetta, who decided - after a decade in the international corporate world - to return to her roots in these valleys and produce high-quality Prosecco. She managed to enlist the help of her brother Enrico, who became chief winemaker, her husband Luca Cuzziol and his siblings Bepi and Grazia.
The Moschetta family was not new to viticulture. Elena and Enrico’s grandfather Genesio had a day job as director of a local dairy, but he tended the vines his father grew on their farm and actually acquired a few more, notably in the valued San Gallo vineyard. His son, Luigi, continued the expansion throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and encouraged Enrico to study oenology at the Oenological School of Conegliano - established over 140 years ago.
However, Genesio, Luigi and (at first) Enrico all grew grapes to sell to the cooperative and later to specific wineries, where Enrico worked as a consultant oenologist. Finally, however, thanks to his sister’s tenacity and vision, Enrico Moschetta was able to show what he could do with complete control of both growing and vinification, when BiancaVigna was founded in 2004.
BiancaVigna owns 30 hectares of land, with parcels in both the DOC of Prosecco and the Prosecco Superiore DOCG of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, including some from the prestigious “crus” of Rive di Solligo, Rive di Ogliano and Rive di Collalto. Enrico knows them all in detail and understands how to get the best out of them.
Despite the fact that grapes in the Prosecco DOC can be mechanically harvested, BiancaVigna follows the more rigorous rules of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG - where hand-picking only is allowed - for all its grapes, whether in the DOCG or not. The grapes are then pressed at locations within their appellation and go into steel tanks with no blending of vineyards.
BiancaVigna uses the Charmat method of production (or, rather, the Martinelli method, since this is Italy and he originated it before Charmet refined it). After 10 to 12 days of settling at 5-10° to hold off fermentation, the temperature is raised to allow transformation over 15-20 days. Once the base wines are filtered and blended, they are placed under pressure in autoclaves, where the prise de mousse takes place. Prosecco’s most exacting requirements are those of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, which demands a minimum 30 days in this sparkling process, yet the majority of BiancaVigna wines spend more than 90 days in these pressurised tanks. The results are sparkling wines with a finer perlage, which carries fresh fruity aromas more intensely to the nose.
All of BiancaVigna’s sparkling wines have been exclusively imported to the UK by Armit Wines since 2009. With one exception, they are made from 100% Glera, the original Prosecco grape. The Brut NV carries crisp apple and citrus on the nose and is fresh and vivacious, but with impressive length - it makes a great accompaniment to cheese such as the local taleggio. The Extra Dry actually has a touch of sweet white peach to balance it, while the Frizzante’s softer mousse makes it ideal as an aperitivo with prosciutto and figs.
The real treat, however, is the Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene - its extra depth is first experienced on the nose with a tropical garden’s worth of floral aromas, before a creamy mouthfeel carries subtle notes of pears and peaches through to an extended fade-out. The outlier is the salmon-pink Spumante Rosa, which includes just 5% Pinot Noir - adding not only colour but a hint of cherry and red berry, making it an extremely adaptable Prosecco, drinkable from aperitivo to dolce.