Agricultural cooperatives have long existed in Italy. However, it was in the 1950s, after the Second World War and the migration of farmers to the city for industrialized jobs, that cooperatives grew in numbers and strength. The modest vineyard holdings of the average Italian winegrower are just 1.8ha/4.45 acres, further contributing to the growth of cooperatives. Today cooperatives account for about 60% of the wine produced in Italy. The big question is, what is the quality of the wine made by cooperatives? Let’s pop some corks on cooperative Prosecco from Val d’Oca and find out!
This month the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group are exploring and tasting Italian wines made from cooperatives. Join our Twitter chat on February 1st at 11:00 AM ET (follow using hashtag #ItalianFWT). Make sure to check out more great reading from the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel Group on Italian cooperative wines at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: I received three bottles of Val d’Oca Prosecco as media samples. All opinions are my own.
Val d’Oca is an Italian cooperative founded in 1952, located between Asolo and Conegliano in the hills of Valdobbiadene, at the foot of the Treviso pre-Alps. They currently have 600 producer members with a combined 951 hectares of vineyards, spanning both DOC and DOCG and including plots in the famous Cartizze hillside.
Initially formed by a group of winegrowers out of economic hardship, the benefits of the collective group include financial security, and shared marketing and technology resources.
How Val d’Oca Strives to Produce Quality Wines
Val d’Oca’s goal is to produce quality wines with quantity production (annual production 13,5 million bottles). The collective vineyards are located in the Valdobbiadene region, with a designation of origin and controlled guaranteed. The winegrowers manage small plots with cooperative support in agronomics, oenology, and vineyard management. The cooperative provides the structure and organization to vinify blends from the various parcels of land to produce a range of products from classic Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Prosecco DOC to the “Rive” collection that is “cru” wine made from specific towns or hamlets.
My Tasting Notes
Val d’Oca, Prosecco DOC Treviso, Extra Dry
11% abv |about $10.00 (sample) | 85% Glera, 15% Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay
Fermentation: Charmat | 15g/l Residual Sugar
Pale straw in color. Medium(-) body, medium acidity. Tiny persistent bubbles. On the palate, off-dry with notes of citrus, pear, and candied mandarin on the finish.
Val d’Oca, Sparkling Rosé, Veneto, Extra Dry
11.5% abv | about $10.00 (sample) |blend of white and red grapes
Fermentation: Charmat | 10g/l residual sugar
Pale salmon in color. Medium body and acidity. Tiny persistent bubbles. On the palate, crisp acidity with notes of red berries and a lingering savoriness.
Val d’Oca, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Rive, Millesimato, Extra Dry
11% abv | about $13.00 (sample) | 85% Glera, 15% Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay
Fermentation: Charmat | 15g/l residual sugar
Pale straw in color. Medium(-) body and medium acidity. Frothy foam with delicate, persistent bubbles. On the palate apple, pear, acacia honey, minerals, and a lingering finish. Well balanced and an outstanding value.
My Food Pairings
Prosecco, in general, is a food-friendly wine. These three Prosecco wines from Val d’Oca were light to medium-bodied with around 11% abv. I wanted my food pairings to be in the Italian spirit of simple, fresh, and as local as possible.
The Prosecco is often served as a brunch wine for its light, crisp, and slightly off-dry characteristics. The Frittata with Canadian Bacon, Asparagus, and Double Cream Cheese pairs nicely, especially with the Sparkling Rosé and the Millesimato. The frittata brought out the fruit and savory elements in the rosé and matched the hint of sweetness in the Canadian bacon and Millesimato. The crisp acidity of the Prosecco was a nice palate cleanser for the rich double cream cheese.
The Lemony Shrimp and White Bean Stew reminded me of a simple Italian flavor-packed meal. The stew paired well with all three Prosecco wines; however my favorite was the Millesimato. The shrimp highlighting the hint of minerality in the wine, the creamy beans, and leeks contrasted the acidity and bubbles in the wine. The sweetness of the leeks matched the off-dry Prosecco.
Frittata with Canadian Bacon, Asparagus, and Double Cream Cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 thin slices Canadian Bacon, diced
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 10 Asparagus spears, thin or if thicker, cut in half lengthwise, snap the bottom woody end off
- 2 oz double cream cheese, (I used a local brie like cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill)
- 1 teaspoon parsley, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Piment d'Espelette chilli pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add the Canadian bacon and mix. Set aside.
- In an 8-inch nonstick frying pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the asparagus spears, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sauté until just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the pan.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the egg mixture. Let the eggs lightly set before gently moving around the outside edge with a rubber spatula. Tilt the pan to allow the uncooked eggs to fill in at the edge. Continue the process until the eggs are fluffy and only the center is slightly runny.
- Remove the pan from the heat and top with asparagus, cheese slices, and parsley. Place in the oven and cook until the eggs are just cooked and the cheese is melted about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the Piment d'Epelette chilli pepper and serve.
Lemony Shrimp, Leek, and White Bean Stew
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Piment Espelette chilli pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. large shrimp, deveined and peeled (tails removed)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 small leeks, trimmed, white and light green part only, sliced thinly crosswise
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- Ciabatta for serving
- In a medium bowl combine the lemon zest, paprika, Piment d'Espelette chilli pepper, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring and turning the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add the leeks, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the leeks are soft and just starting to brown on the edges.
- Add the beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes. Stir in the reserved shrimp and any juices on the plate, the parsley, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with sliced Ciabatta bread.
More on Italian Cooperative Wines from the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel Group ~
- Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “On Wine Co-ops, Sicily’s Cantine Settesoli and Mandrarossa Winery“
- Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings shares “Celebrate Chinese New Year, Observe Italian wine coop evolution, OMG yummy Prosecco!”
- Katarina at Grapevine Adventures shares “Cincinnato – A Cooperative in Lazio Focused on Native Grapes“
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Prosecco, coop-style: What do these tasters say?”
- Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Popping the Corks on Cooperative Prosecco”
- Marcia at Joy of Wine shares “Cooperetiva Produttori del Barbaresco“
- Jen at Vino Travels Italy shares “Italian Wine Cooperatives with Prosecco from Val d’Oca”
- Liz at What’s in That Bottle shares “What’s Up with Italian Wine Cooperatives?“
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Godendo Aperitivo Prima di Cena “
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest shares “Alpine Wine Cooperative – How Things Roll in Alto Adige“
- Susannah at Avvinare shares “Visiting Lake Garda through the wines of Cantina Colli Morenici”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “The Italian Wine Cooperative Surprise“
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Hardworking Kids, Fresh Pasta, and a Red Wine from Vallevò“
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator matches ” 3 Bottles of Bubbles from Italy’s Val D’Oca Paired with Butternut Crab Bisque and Polenta Shrimp“
- Nicole at Somm’s Table shares “The History of Amarone at Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, and Domìni Veneti Amarone Classico with Decadent, Braised Lamb Shanks“