Wine of the quarter

11/10/17

Vineyards in Conegliano Valdobbiadene region in Italy

The bottle we are tasting today is a Superiore di Cartizze. Special guest Mr. Maurizio Fasce (left), Regional Director Mediterranean & Southern Africa Headquarters with Mr.Virgilio Gazzolo.

Part 2: Prosecco

Its story began in Conegliano Valdobbiadene, a hilly area in North-East Italy, 50 km from Venice and around 100 from the Dolomites.

Here, for over three centuries, people have grown the grapes that produce Prosecco Superiore, whose success began with the founding of Italy’s first School of Winemaking in 1876. The produc-tion area covers 15 communes and represents the heart of the world of Prosecco; it is one of Italy’s historic denominations, recognized in 1969.

In 2009, with the reorganization of the denomina-tions for Prosecco, the Ministry of Agriculture classified it as a Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (D.O.C.G.), the highest level of quality for Italian wines.

There are also the Asolo D.O.C.G. and the Prosecco D.O.C., covering 9 Provinces in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, created to protect the viticultural heritage of Prosecco and defend it around the world. Prosecco DOC can be spumante ("sparkling wine"), frizzante ("semi-sparkling wine"), or tranquillo ("still wine"), depen-ding on the perlage.

It is made from Glera grapes, formerly known also as Prosecco, but other grape varieties may be included. The following varieties are traditionally used with Glera up to a maximum of 15% of the total: Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera lunga.

The name is derived from that of the Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste, where the grape and wine originated from Prosecco Superiore DOCG comes in two varieties: Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG, which can only be made in the Treviso province of Veneto on the hills between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (north of Treviso), and the smaller Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG, produced near the town of Asolo.

In Italy, Prosecco is a ubiquitously utilized wine. Outside Italy, it is most often drunk as an apéritif, much as Champagne is. As with other sparkling wines, Prosecco is served chilled.

Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle, and it grows stale with time. It should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within three years of its vintage, although high-quality Prosecco may be aged for upto seven years.  Compared to other sparkling wines, Prosecco is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent by volume.

The flavor of Prosecco has been described as intensely aromatic and crisp, bringing to mind yellow apple, pear, white peach, and apricot.

Unlike Champagne, appreciated for its rich taste and complex secondary aromas, most Prosecco variants have intense primary aromas and are meant to taste fresh, light and comparatively simple. The view that Prosecco cannot be aged has been challenged by other experts, as a recent vertical tasting going back to 1983 demonstrates the longevity of the wines from one of their top producers. Most commonly Prosecco is served unmixed, but it also appears in several mixed drinks. It was the original main ingredient in the Bellini cocktail and in the Spritz cocktail, and it can also replace Champagne in other cocktails such as the Mimosa. With vodka and lemon sorbet, Prosecco is also an ingredient of the Italian mixed drink Sgroppino.

The hill of Cartizze is a 300 mt-high vineyard of 107 hectares of vines, owned by 140 growers. The Prosecco from its grapes, of which comparatively little is produced, is widely considered to be of the highest quality, or even the "Grand Cru" of Prosecco. Accordingly, a hectare of Cartizze grape land was estimated to be worth in excess of one million US dollars in 2008, and its value was estimated to have increased to 1.5–2 million euros in 2015, the most for a vineyard in Italy. The sparkling wine produced from Cartizze has recently been named by producers as Superiore di Cartizze, without mentioning Prosecco on the front label to further emphasize its territory.

According to a local legend, Cartizze grapes traditionally were harvested last, as the vines were situated on steep slopes and hard to reach, which led to vintners discovering that this extended ripening period improved the flavour.

Right from its color you can appreciate its inten-sity, its inviting, broad bouquet and rotund taste. Cartizze is an excellent accompaniment to desserts and assorted sweet pastries but also goes well with salty and slightly spicy dishes.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact our colleague in Italy!

Mr. Virgilio Gazzolo
General Manager Marketing & Sales Italy
Phone (+39 010) 2497 214
virgilio.gazzolo@hartrodt.com