The first bottles of sparkling wine produced with the classic Trentino method date back to 1850. Today the Trento DOC recognition guarantees the quality and origin of the product.
The Trento DOC controlled designation of origin covers an area of approximately 10,000 hectares, which benefits from the varied climate of the Trentino region. On the one hand there are the mild temperatures due to the proximity of Lake Garda, on the other, the cold coming from the Dolomites to the north.
This unique climate promotes temperature ranges in the vineyards located at an altitude between 200 and 900 meters above sea level and with soils rich in limestone and silica. All these ingredients give the grapes the distinctive characteristics for the production of Trento DOC wine.
The history of the Trento DOC brand
Officially, the brand was created in 2007, from the union of the name of the city of Trento with the acronym DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), aka Controlled Designation of Origin.
The story of this wine, however, goes back a very long way. Already in the Bronze Age, from as early on as 1600 BC, vines were cultivated in Trentino, but the real production of sparkling wine began in the mid-nineteenth century. It was Giulio Ferrari in 1902 who introduced the classic method for sparkling wine for the first time in the Trentino area. Many years later, in 1984, the same producers founded the Trento Doc Institute supported by the school of enology of the San Michele all’Adige Institute. Almost 10 years later, in 1993, for the first time in Italy, Controlled Designation of Origin was given to the sparkling wines of this region. Finally, the year after this collective brand was awarded, the Istituto di San Michele all’Adige Institute became the current Fondazione Mach, the foundation for education and scientific research in the agricultural field.
How the Trento DOC classic method works
The distinctive feature of the Trento DOC sparkling wine lies in the production method called classic, with fermentation in the bottle. Here’s how it works:
- It starts with the base wine (sparkling wine). After being bottled, yeasts and sugars are added by a “draft” method. The wine is then left to rest in dark, silent cellars.
- In the bottle fermentation stage, the base wine develops carbon dioxide creating the bubbles and the foam that is formed by pouring the sparkling wine into the glass.
- With remuage, the residues of dead yeasts are collected in the neck of the bottle positioned upside down.
- Finally, with disgorgement, where the bottles are opened manually, or using ice, the yeast sediments are eliminated.
Which grape varieties are allowed for the production of Trento Doc?
For the production of Trento DOC, local grape varieties most suitable for making sparkling wine with the classic method are used, and namely:
- Chardonnay: conferring great elegance and finesse;
- Pinot Noir: the second most widely-used grape variety, giving structure and body;
- Pinot Bianco: for a pleasant aromatic note;
- Meunier: used in low percentages, this grape variety is well suited to the varied soils and climates.
How are the vines grown to produce Trento DOC sparkling wine? The traditional vine training system is the Trentino pergola, which makes the most of sunlight, thanks to the exposure of the leaves at an angle of about 25°. The pergola is flanked by other cultivation systems such as the guyot and the spurred cordon.
What are the types envisaged by the Production Regulations?
When making “white” or “rosé” versions of Trento DOC sparkling wine with the classic method, a minimum time on the lees is envisaged, depending on the type:
- Brut: at least 15 months;
- Millesimato: at least 24 months;
- Riserva: minimum 36 months;
Discovering some Trento Doc wineries
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Giulio Ferrari was a pioneer in promoting sparkling wine production in the Trentino area and his creations were awarded in 1937 in Paris with the Diplome de Grand Prix, the highest recognition for a sparkling wine that did not come from the Champagne area!
In 1952 Giulio chose Bruno Lunelli as his successor in the company, who was able to continue and expand production, always maintaining a high quality. Here are some interesting facts about his own winery and some of the other most famous and renowned wineries in the area:
- Ferrari-Cantine Lunelli owned by the Lunelli family, is definitely worth a visit for its history recounting the magnificence of its wines. Riserva del Fondatore Giulio Ferrari millesimato is an outstanding wine, produced only with the best Chardonnay grapes, aged ten years on the lees.
- Endrizzi grows grapes in the Piancastello vineyard, which resembles a Burgundian clos (walled vineyard), as it is surrounded by woods. It produces fine, sparkling wines with a great personality such as the superb Masetto Privè, aged for 84 months on the lees.
- Bellaveder is a company historically dedicated to cultivating vines in the Faedo area.
- Letrari is a historic company, admirably run by Lucia, the daughter of Leonello Letrari, a leading figure in the creation of Trento DOC.
- Maso Martis was founded in 1990, embracing the values of organic farming in the Martignano area, at the foot of Monte Calisio.