Prosecco: A Wine for all Seasons

I’ve been thinking about and enjoying Prosecco a lot lately.  Over the last few months I have had the chance to meet several producers of Prosecco and taste their wines.  First there was a lunch with the marketing director of Mionetto, Enore Ceola.  A few weeks later I enjoyed lunch with Primo Franco of Nino Franco.  Then the region of the Veneto hired me to act as sommelier for a wine tasting in Grand Central Station, and Matteo Bisol was pouring his Bisol prosecco for visitors at the booth next to mine.  After these enc ounters, I wrote about the new DOC/DOCG laws for Prosecco on this blog.  Then Michele and I taught a wine and food class at De Gustibus at Macy’s – the first wine of the evening was Prosecco.  Most recently, I have just returned from the Veneto were I visited a few producers whose wine I had never tasted before.  It dawned on me that I drink a lot of Prosecco both here and in Italy.  Especially during the holiday season,  Michele serves dates stuffed with Grana Padano as an appetizer and we serve it with Prosecco. It seems to put everyone in a festive mood.  

 Prosecco is the largest selling sparkling (spumante) wine in Italy.  Italians drink it as an aperitif (no self- respecting Roman or Venetian goes out to dinner without having a glass of Prosecco first), with food, and to celebrate. When I am in Rome the first meal I have is at Da Giggetto in the Jewish Quarter. I always order the same dish, fried zucchini flowers stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella with a bottle of Prosecco. I think it goes great with any type of fried food and shellfish. 

Prosciutto di San Daniele

 In the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area of the Veneto we visited producers Bellenda and Le Vigne di Alice and drank Prosecco with Prosciutto di San Daniele, locally made salame, and Grana Padano cheese. It was a perfect combination and all you need is some bread for a great lunch!  

Cinzia Canzian of Vigna di Alice

 Both the Prosecco Spumante Brut from Bellenda and the Vigna di Alice Extra Dry are made from 100% Prosecco grapes (with the new laws Prosecco becomes a type of wine).   I had long conversations with Signor Cosmo of Bellenda  and Signora Cinzia Canzian of Vigna di Alice and enjoyed their wines.  We also visited the Bortolotti winery where Signor Bortolotti told us about their plans for expanding the winery and increasing their production.  He poured us a selection of his Prosecco, which I enjoyed very much. 

Many changes are taking place under Prosecco’s new DOC/DOCG designation which includes  a numbered label system. There will be a salmon-colored numbered label on the top of every bottle of prosecco DOCG. This seal has an identification number which makes each bottle traceable so that every phase of the production of a specific bottle is known. The producers I met also clarified for me the Rive. Rive are very special and defined hillside areas used in the production of specific wines. Each Rive carries the name of its local area and is subject to even more stringent production regulations.  The highest quality prosecco still comes from the very limited Cartizze area. 

Hillside Vineyard in Valdobbiadene

  It is interesting to note that all the producers I spoke to both here and in Conegliano-Valdobbiadene felt the same about the new DOC/DOCG regulations. They all agreed that it was very good and that they would protect Prosecco and improve the quality. 

 For more information on Prosecco and  the new DOC/DOCG laws see the following two articles. 

 Prosecco DOC/DOCG with Primo Franco and Matteo Bisol. 

www.charlesscicolone.wordpress.com 

 New DOC/DOCG Designation for Prosecco 

www.i-italy.org/blog/wine-and-food 

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