For several generations the Sommariva family worked the vines on the high plains of the Veneto, growing a mix of French and local varietals and selling off most of their crop as was common practice at the time, but it was Caterino Sommariva who pinpointed the slopes as the best place for vines and began purchasing hillside vineyards together with his wife Urbana in the 1970s. The couple also had great faith in the Prosecco varietal (now known by its historical name, Glera) and decided to plant it exclusively on their new property, which gradually grew as they continued to snatch up adjacent parcels over the years. This great foresight put them in a very advantageous position when Prosecco and the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene began to gain recognition in the late ‘80s for the light, clean sparkling wine we know so well today. Caterino and Urbana’s daughter Cinzia remembers watching her parents work and thinking as a child how hopelessly difficult the harvest seemed; so she chose another path in life and pursued studies in marketing. As she got older, though, she regularly returned to the estate and began to see her parents’ work through different eyes, slowly discovering her own passion for the hard work of winemaking. She eventually joined them and has since become a dynamic and enthusiastic partner in the estate.
The name Palazzo Rosso, meaning red building or palace, is a historic epithet for the zone that refers to the russet color of the earth here due to its high content of iron and other micronutrients. Despite Prosecco’s reputation for being light and easy, the Sommarivas take their work very seriously, adhering to eco-friendly practices in the vineyards, harvesting manually, and keeping a very close watch over the vinification process while many of their neighbors settle for easier methods and mediocre wine. These are perfectionists who only sit back once the work is done and it’s time to enjoy the delightfully fresh, elegant fruits of their labor.
Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut
Vines are sustainably farmed, the equivalent of lutte raisonnée in France and grapes are “Balby” selection, all hand harvested and vinified in stainless steel. The fruit is de-stemmed and gently pressed, then the must is left at 48-50°F for about 12 hours to allow the heavy deposit to settle; the clear must is then drawn off and fermented for about 15-20 days. Yeasts and sugar are added to trigger the second fermentation which takes place in tank for a classic Charmat method of production to give Prosecco its characteristic freshness and vibrancy.