Col Fondo: The Funky Side of Prosecco
The original Prosecco wasn’t the sweet, fruity, bubbly we know today. Find out more about “Col Fondo” or “Rifermentato in Bottiglia,” a funky, cloudy Prosecco unlike any other. Some producers use “Col Fondo” on the label, but not always. The officially designated term for this style is “Rifermentato in Bottiglia.” This is the term to look for on the bottle label.
We’ve all had Prosecco before: as an apertif, for a toast, or in mimosas at brunch. The vast majority of Prosecco is made with the charmat method, where secondary fermentation (the bubbly part) is made in huge pressurized stainless steel tanks. The method was invented by Professor Federico Martinotti in 1895 and the autoclave (the pressurized tanks) were designed, built, and patented by Frenchman Eugène Charmat in 1910.
But how was Prosecco made before 1895? The answer is with secondary fermentation in the bottle. One of the first quotes about Prosecco with “second fermentation in the bottle” goes back to before the 9th Century. This esoteric style is colloquially known as Col Fondo – which literally translates in Italian to “with the bottom,” meaning that sediment or lees are present.
“The resulting wine is cloudy and has a funky, even sour nose and flavor.”
In contrast to the more familiar, filtered Prosecco, there is less sweetness in Col Fondo. And, unlike Champagne, there is no disgorgement. The resulting wine is cloudy and has a funky, even sour nose and flavor, with yeasty sediment settling on the bottom of the bottle. A few even have a pleasantly bitter, lingering aftertaste. Col Fondo Prosecco wines are frizzante rather than spumante, so slightly less fizzy as well.