The intent is easy to understand, however the result is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows. Col fondo might be labelled as the prosecco for those who dislike prosecco but I’m sure this kind of marketing would land it in the middle of nowhere. It is much more like a natural wine or even more so an orange sparkling wine.
’Col fondo’ means ’with sediment’ or ’sur lie’ in the French wine lingo. It is very much like pét nat and it is the premodern original prosecco method that is enjoying a renaissance at the moment. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle and there is no disgorgement, so the dead yeast cells remain in the bottle. It looks a bit opaque when poured, the perlage is delicate, the nose shows some yeasty, craft beer like character besides the usual floral, orchard fruit notes, the palate is more structured and the finish is bone dry. I don’t think the average prosecco lover would fall for this nor the average champagne lover. However adventurous types with a predilection for natural and especially orange wines will love it.
Hungary’s Bortársaság sells two col fondos. The cheaper one I have tasted at least half a dozen times (Zardetto Rizolo) and I buy it mainly because it’s so cheap and refreshing (most bottles were quite nice but on a few occasions they were too reductive and bitter). The other one is miles above Rizolo.
Having tasted two bottles of Case Paolin’s Col Fondo I’m in love with this wine (and so is the missus). Though it’s a bit unusual it falls much more on the exciting side than on the weird. You do get some of that yeasty character – and even some medicine – which when overdone can be quite unpleasant but here it’s just an interesting facet of a much wider aroma spectrum: candied orange and lemon zest, caramel, apples, peach and white flowers. The palate is really dry, full of energy but without any hint of aggressiveness. It’s quite full and structured. Incredibly refreshing, you just want more and more. And while it tingles your tastebuds your mind is racing to find the right descriptors and to find some way to grasp its unique character. An utterly joyous sensory overload.
7 points and 15 euros.