Trento DOC wines hail from the mountainous Trentino region in the North of Italy, which in 2020 was named ‘Wine Region of the Year’ by Wine Enthusiast magazine. The Dolomites make for a dramatic backdrop to the area’s 25,000-odd acres of vineyards, predominantly planted with white grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco for producing the region’s famous sparkling wines. Indeed, the Trento DOC comprises exclusively effervescent wines which have undergone bottle fermentation, à la Champagne. Whilst these wines can trace their origins back more than a century, to when Giulio Ferrari began growing Chardonnay in his vineyards, the DOC was granted in 1993, and now groups 57 producers under the ‘Trentodoc’ trademark. The second fermentation in the bottle, or ‘Metodo Classico’, may be an import, but these winemakers have taken it and made it their own, forming a special association to protect their production methods, called the ‘Istituto Italiano Talento Metodo Classico’.
Although all are sparkling, there are various styles of Trento DOC wines: sparkling white Trento DOC, an aged Trento DOC Riserva and a rosé Trento DOC. The Riserva version must spend at least three years in the bottle prior to arriving on the market, whereas its younger brother can be sold after 15 months’ bottle-aging. Whilst the majority of Trento DOC wine tends to be dry – ether Extra Brut or Brut – sweeter varieties are produced in smaller quantities. Single variety Trento DOC wines are common, made exclusively with the Chardonnay grape, but blends are permitted, with Pinot Noir, Bianco or Meunier making up a generally smaller amount of the resulting wine (specific proportions are not prescribed). On the whole, these are highly acidic, dry and relatively light wines, whose ABV does not typically exceed 12.5%. Bubbles are fine and persistent, and a hint of yeast can be identified from the grape skins. On the palate, notes of yellow apple and citrus lead, with subtle undertones of white cherry, and a lingering almond and toast finale.
Which are the best Trento DOC wines? When it comes to Trento DOC, one name in particular is legendary: Ferrari. As mentioned, Giulio Ferrari pioneered the introduction of this wine-making style on Italian soil, with an obsessive attention to detail and consistent quality. Now in the extremely capable hands of the sons of Ferrari’s chosen successor, Bruno Lunelli, the Ferrari winery continues to lead the field in terms of traditional-method Italian sparkling wines. Try their signature ‘Maximum’ label as a good entry point, or the exclusive ‘Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore’ to push the boat out. Other prestigious wineries in the area include Rotari, Levii, Revì and Abate Nero, amongst others.
What are good food matches with Trento DOC wines? All Trento DOC wines are fantastic for drinking as an aperitif, or for raising a toast. Younger varieties work well with grilled fish, roast chicken, or even creamy risottos and pasta dishes, owing to its relative sharpness, with oysters and lobster making a good companion for more biscuity older bottles. Rosé versions can make a delicious alternative for the dessert course and pastry dishes.
Try a Trento DOC wine today – we guarantee you are in for a pleasant surprise!