If you are planning a trip to Venice and want to go on an Italian wine adventure then you might want to check out Prosecco, a special sparkling wine. Prosecco comes from the Italian wine regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is an easy trip from Venice to Veneto. Veneto is the primary producing wine region, with the two main areas near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Prosecco is made from the Glera grape. In fact Glera is an ancient word for Prosecco. This article will provide a few suggestions to help you plan a special Prosecco adventure.
Let us start with Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. A Conegliano Valdobbiadene Academy video introduces the nature, history and culture of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. It then goes onto to describe the production and characteristics of this very special Prosecco. Wineries producing this Prosecco must meet very specific requirements that have been established. The IWSC medal winning Carpene Malvolti Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Cuvée Extra Dry is one example.
Before discussing the production and characteristics of Prosecco, let us review briefly Italy’s classification of wine.
Italy’s wine classification
The Proseccos on your list ideally should have DOC or DOCG status. The use of DOCG status for Proseccos was granted in 2009. 2009 was also the same time that Glera was officially designated as the grape name to be used.
Italy’s wine classification system has four categories.
1. Vino da Tavola (VDT) is a basic wine made for local consumption.
2. Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) is a wine from a specific region that is considered to be a higher quality than table wine.
3. Denominazione di Origine (DOC) wine requires that the wine zone is more specific than an IGT, the grapes used are more specifically defined and it must meet other criteria.
4. Denominazione di Origine e Garantita (DOCG) wine exceeds the DOC requirements. The wine also must under go verification that the quality standards have been met. This requires a blind taste review.
The latter two categories (DOC, DOCG) fall under EU system Quality Wine Produced in Specified Regions (QWpsr)
Production and characteristics of Prosecco
Proseccos are produced in the Charmat method. This is a method where sparkling wines undergo a second fermentation in pressurized, large steel tanks. Proseccos should be drunk young, within three years of vintage. However, high quality Proseccos can be kept up to seven years.
Full sparkling Proseccos are known as Spumante, whereas lightly sparking ones as described as Frizzante or Gentile. Proseccos are typically characterized by being aromatic and crisp. It has intense primary aromas such as, apple, pear, peach, apricot, dried fruit, fresh flowers and so on.
Processos have an alcohol content of 11% to 12%. They are also labeled based on their sugar content as “Dry” (17-32g/L), “Extra Dry” (12-17g/L) and “Brut” (less then 12g/L).
Given Prosecco’s unique characteristics it can be paired with different foods. While Prosecco is often served as a welcoming drink, or with appetizers it offers many pairing options. Some Proseccos pair well with a wide range of foods whereas others are best paired with specific foods.
A Prosecco prized for its unique characteristics is a Cartizze Prosecco. Cartizze Prosecco is considered to be of the highest quality, the “Grand Cru” of Prosecco. It comes from the Cartisse vineyard of 107 hectares (260 acres) that is owned by 140 growers.
Sometimes you will see Cuvée on the Prosecco wine label. Cuvée can carry a variety of meanings. However, when quality producers use it on wine labels it means that it is a special blend.
Prosecco has been criticized for being too sweet. However, with the introduction of drier Proseccos the wine has grown not only in popularity but quality, as noted in Tim Atkin’s article. Also, with the raising of the standards for the production Prosecco we now have many excellent Proseccos to explore. You can read about other wine experiences at Spaswinefood, or you can visit my travel column at the Examiner.
© Sharon Parsons
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