Alice’s A Fondo: a Bottle-Fermented Madonna and Whore

portovino_alice_a_fondo_dettaglioIn the last few years, I’ve tasted heaps of Prosecco colfondo, with the lees left in the bottle. They were often intriguing, at least for first sip or so. Yet, most of them tired my palate with their piddling fizz. Amici, an enjoyable (not to mention serious) sparkling wine needs to cleanse thy tongue. Bristling-ly.

Most, too, were one-note wonders and sempliciotti / simpletons, with obvious, over-lees-y toasted bread notes, and too much under-ripe grapefruit pith.  

If Alice was going to make a colfondo, it wasn’t going to be hipster. There’s lots of bar chatter and Kool-Aid being swallowed about how these represent the ‘real’ Prosecco. That’s bullshit / Che stronzata! It’s just a another way to explore the Glera grape and Prosecco’s territorio and terroir. Another time and place for that, but to get into it just a little: Charmat / metodo mariotti, bottle fermented metodo ancestrale / familiare / colfondo / a fondo, and, metodo classico are all *valid* – if different – forms of sparkling pleasure.  Someone please write that article.

So what did I do with Alice’s a fondo (a riff on colfondo)? I took it from the fridge, having put it there the night before. I began to pour slowly, bending the non-flute* glass to the bottle, being careful to keep the wine mostly upright.  As you all know, the wine that comes out at first is less torbido / cloudy, as you pour onwards, that changes.

As I drank, I realized that this bottle represented to me the best of that rare woman or man who’s both Madonna and Whore; innocent and miraculous, yet wild. (Attenzione! we’re not talking about a more mingled and polished dichotomy of the bourgeois-boheme). The wine’s savory and Winter’s Bone dry. Delicate, nuanced, edgy: celery salt, green apple, preserved lemons, grated ginger; and a flower you probably know better than I do. Grapefruit pith, talc, and all business in bocca, mi piace. As I fell more into the bottle, more grated ginger and sea salt (crudo! Come to me, my love!) With more air, a lovely spearmint note opened.

Le Vigne di Alice’s a fondo. As you say in italiano: non male.

Ernest.

*Never use flutes for sparkling wines; they restrict the naso from opening up for you.