Haute Wines: Prosecco is Hauter than You Think

I seem to be a bit fixated on sparklers these days. Perhaps it is because Champagne and Sparkling Wine makes me dream of warm summer afternoons and al fresco brunches. Though I love Champagne when the weather starts to warm or when I have the opportunity to jet to warmer climates, nothing is as refreshing as a glass of Prosecco on a warm day. For those who enjoy this fruity and fresh alternative to Champagne, there are some great high-quality products that are worth a try even if you are stuck in a chilly climate and waiting for Spring.

Prosecco for most is a cheap and cheerful quaffing wine for Bellini’s or festive occasions. In fact, I’ve heard it been called “breakfast wine.” What many people don’t know is that Prosecco has sub-regions that are producing some excellent high end wines whose complexity rival some of the best Champagnes in their refinement and complexity.

Unlike the Champagne Method where the base wine goes through second fermentation in bottle, the Italian method of making Prosecco uses autoclaves which are large sealed pressure tanks where the wine goes through its second fermentation. This preserves the fresh and fruity flavors of the Prosecco Grape that make this such a refreshing wine.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is the heart of the Prosecco region and within the Prosecco Superiore appellation lies a Cru, Cartizze, which produces some fantastic and complex wines that are the best that this region has to offer. Superiore di Cartizze is a small area of 106 hectares within Valdobbiadene. This hill allows the grapes to get a copious amount of sunlight as well as benefit from its well-draining and mineral rich soil. The end result is a refined Prosecco with floral notes, richness and a greater intensity than most other Proseccos that you most likely have experienced. Tasting a wine from this Cru one can fully enjoy the tradition and care that has been put into these memorable sparklers.

A favorite of mine is the Val D’Oca Spumante Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze. This straw-colored gem’s sweetness is balanced with refreshing acidity and with delicate fruit flavors of peaches and nectarines with a long and elegant finish. Perfect as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to pastries or teatime cakes, this also begs to be eaten with a spicy savory dish as well.  For those who are familiar with “everyday” Prosecco, this is truly a treat and a great expression of the grape.

Haute Tasting Tip:

Enjoy these wines in a specially designed Prosecco glass (try the Riedel Prosecco glass) or traditional tulip shaped wine glass. Though your first inclination is to serve Prosecco in a flute, you will not be able to fully enjoy the delicate aromas and delightful fine bubbles this way.

Click here for more haute drinking from wine expert Tiffany Westlie.

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