While the Serena family has been winegrowing since 1881, the story of Montelvini began in 1968 when Armando Serena, from close to Montello, created a new winery. Since then, the traditional art of Prosecco-making has constantly been further perfected. Not only do the range of different styles and origins show the passion and talent of the family, but they also demonstrate the great potential of this wine.
Just the wine
Asolo is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Many celebrities have strolled through its picturesque old town, including Marcello Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve and Yoko Ono. The great actress Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) even owned a property in Asolo, and is buried in Asolo’s Sant’Anna cemetery.
An international star, her natural, unaffected style of acting is considered the forerunner of modern acting, although it was often misunderstood during her lifetime. At the time, actors tended to use clichéd and artificial styles of acting. But stereotypes and melodramatic poses were not Duse’s thing, and she largely dispensed with make-up.
The comparison with wine is clear, since really good wine works better without make-up and theatrical effects. You can’t create true greatness using a manual. Perhaps this is the best way to describe the motivation of the Serena family. Over the years, Armando Serena built up a group of wineries, by making wines that are an authentic expression of the land they come from.
His children, Alberto and Sarah, have now taken over responsibility for the company. As always, Prosecco remains the heart and soul of production at Montelvini. And, of course, Asolo itself is also special from a winemaking point of view.
Small in size, great in quality
The Asolo Prosecco appellation – also known as Frizzante and Spumante Superiore – includes 19 municipalities around Asolo and enjoys DOCG status. In terms of quality, it equivalent to the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG. The Asolo DOCG is smaller in size; in 2019, 17.6m bottles of Asolo Prosecco Superiore were produced there, compared to 92m bottles of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.
The special features of the mineral-rich terroir and the microclimate, which is characterised by good exposure and plenty of wind, create strikingly powerful, well-structured Prosecco.
Asolo was also the first Prosecco area to define an ageing process in the taste direction of Extra Brut. This is unusual because Prosecco sparkling wines generally have a higher residual sugar content (dry) and are classed, at most, as Brut. Another distinctive characteristic of the DOCG is that natural yeasts are used for the vinification.
As a result, the Prosecco wines from Asolo stand out from other origins. For winegrowers like the Serena family, who have been rooted in their region of origin for generations, the urge to explore and illustrate the possibilities of the terroir, as well as the wine itself, is more than understandable. Take Alberto, who has been managing the company since 2013 following a stint in Germany. He completed a sommelier training course at the renowned Italian sommelier and gastronomy association FISAR and now sees himself as an ambassador for the Asolo terroir.
There is a lot for him to tell people.
The wisdom of the owl
The ‘town of a hundred horizons’, as Asolo is known, houses an old, 0.3 ha vineyard that lies at the foot of a 15th century villa. Planted in 1960, it was later abandoned, although many of the old vines remained.
In 2017 the Serenas bought it and, together with a team of oenologists and landscape architects, began to restore the vineyard. Where they were still healthy, the old wines were retained. The plan and hope is that this steep slope will soon produce a ‘cru’.
The term ‘cru’ may sound unusual for a Prosecco. But that’s exactly what it is: the Glera grape variety is very well adapted to its terroir and can produce remarkable, unique wines that stand out from the crowd and Montelvini’s wines reflect that, as can be seen on their labels. The area is known to the locals as the land of the owls, or ‘Zuitere’ in the local dialect; not surprisingly, this symbol of wisdom is the emblem of both the Serena family and Montelvini itself.
The owl is found on the Serenitatis line, named after the Mare Serenitatis or Sea of Serenity, a feature of the moon that is easily visible from earth. These wines include several Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCGs, namely an Extra Brut Millesimato, a Brut and an Extra Dry. The Il Brutto Prosecco Asolo DOCG is a col fondo, a traditional style that is finding a whole new group of fans; the wine undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle and are left on their lees. The wine is not filtered and can be decanted before serving to separate it from the lees.
In the mouth, this wine reveals a strong, unique character that does not have any noticeable sweetness, which is not surprising, as it has a residual sugar of less than two grams per litre.
The Valdobbiadene and Treviso line includes a classic Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry, a Treviso Prosecco DOC Brut and an Extra Dry and a Prosecco Treviso DOC Frizzante.
These are wines with a strong regional identity and the Serena family is proud to share them.
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