In the world of Italian sparkling white wines, it often seems that all of the attention gets lavished on Prosecco. The drink, which is now the most popular sparkling white wine in the world, is often pointed to for its quality to the point where some may feel as though there aren’t any other Italian sparkling whites that are worth talking about.
Today, we aim to dispel that myth once and for all by featuring a company that has built a formidable reputation for creating sparkling white wines that do not carry the Prosecco label, but have every bit of the quality that goes into that most fabulous of Italian white wines.
So without any further ado, let’s first take a look at the history of Abate Nero and then sit down with one of the best wines to emerge from the company in quite some time.
Abate Nero’s journey through the world of wine began in the 1970s. Already buoyed by the fact that the company already shared the Abate name with the man who many consider to be the progenitor of Champagne, Abate Nero came about because of the decision of two friends to pool their and create a truly wonderful wine. Those friends, Luciano Lunelli and Castel Terlago, to this day still stand at the helm of Abate Nero and it is what they brought to the fore in those early days that has allowed them to assemble such a strong reputation for quality in the modern era.
The first of Abate Nero’s wines came into being in 1973, which is when the company unleashed its first product on the world and instantly gained a reputation for rebuilding a previously forgotten type of wine.
Abate Nero first set up home in the Schulthaud palace, the cellars of which had previously housed the first sparkling wines to be produced by Giulio Ferrari. The stunning environment, combined with the knowledge that a great wine master had already plied his trade in the region, could do nothing but inspire the men behind Abate Nero and, after the successful launch of their first vintage, the duo set about making a few thousand bottles of wine every year.
However, as time went on and the Abate Nero name grew in prestige and popularity, these humble, though elegant, quarters were no longer sufficient. As such, the company made the difficult decision to change headquarters and move into a more functional cellar located in San Lazaro in 1980, allowing for higher volumes of wine production to the point where the company still calls this second location home in the modern era.
With the production challenge successfully confronted and toppled, Abate Nero moved into the 1990s with the aim of innovating and doing something that it had never done before. It was during this decade that the company decided to move into sparkling wine production. After much research, much of which was focused on improving the yeast yields to allow for quality production in the first place, Abate Nero unveiled the very first vintage of its “Cuvée dell’Abate” Reserve in 1994.
The wine was met with instant acclaim, affirming the company’s decision to create more sparkling wines and creating the path that it has traversed ever since. In 2004, “Cuvée dell’Abate” Reserve was joined by the Millesimato “Domini”, creating a one-two punch of exquisite Italian sparkling white wines that few other companies can compare to.
With success following in every endeavour, Abate Nero went further in 2008, which must stand as one of the most important years for the company. It was in this year that co-founder Luciano Lunelli decided to challenge himself once again, creating a sparkling wine using Pinot Nero in the great French tradition and producing the Millesimato “Black Dominies” in the process.
Today, the mission of Abate Nero is very similar to what it was when they first started. Despite production having increased to approximately 60,000 bottles annually, the company still commits to its respect of the classic supmante traditions and takes maximum care at each stage of the winemaking process to ensure the highest quality product.
Patience stands at the heart of everything that company does and every stage of its process is manual to ensure its high standards are consistently met. Only today, the two company founders are joined by their sons, Andrea Eugenio de Castel Terlago and Roberta Lunelli, and together the foursome aims to raise the bar for the achievements of Abate Nero to ensure the company reaches greater heights and develops an even more formidable reputation for quality.
Now, with all of that being said, we think it’s about time to look at a particular special vintage to come out of a company that has built its entire reputation on crafting exceptional sparkling white wines.
Abate Nero Trento Domini Millesimato 2010
You may recognize the Domini name from earlier in the article, so it should come as no surprise that the wine we have selected for you today carries that same name. The Abate Nero Trento Domini Millesimato 2010 is perhaps the best vintage to emerge from the company, achieving a 95 out of 100 rating here at Xtrawine in addition to a cavalcade of additional honors.
This beautiful sparkling white wine carries the DOC Trento Spumante Bianco classification and is reminiscent of the amazing champagnes that acted as the inspiration for Abate Nero in the first place.
Upon pouring you will enjoy a stunning straw yellow colouring that hints at the intensity contained within the wine. The bouquet is no less striking, as you will immediately find yourself overwhelmed with fresh scents of ripe yellow fruits, coupled with baked apple and candied citron. Further exploration allows for the less intense notes to make their way to the fore, with more experienced drinkers likely quick to notice the notes most commonly associated with Chardonnay after a short while.
When introduced to the palate, the wine provides a smooth balance that ensures the primary notes sparkle while the secondary ones work their subtle magic. The lasting embrace is slightly bitterer than the initial taste and you should experience notes of almond and hazelnut as the wine makes its way down.