Italy | Veneto | Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore
Here, at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, we are not above adding some happiness—i.e. sparkling wine—to our otherwise still, non-wine, summer beverages. I’m thinking of spritzes, fizzes, Negronis, and even your mid-morning Mimosas. These drinks and others have their place on my table, particularly during the warmer months, when I want something cold in my glass. There’s a big difference, though, between dry, artisanal Prosecco which can be happily mixed in with additional ingredients, and often sweeter, industrial Prosecco which must be mixed with other things. With Sommariva’s Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut, for example, I know that I can open a bottle and give my guests a choice between a spritz and a straight glass of dry, delicious sparkling wine made with grapes from DOCG hillside vineyards—as opposed to the plains below—and hand-harvested at low yields by a family-owned and -operated winery. Drinkers of each will be very content. Do your guests of many tastes a favor this summer, and put some of Sommariva’s crisp, zesty, thoughtfully-made Prosecco in their glasses. Whether it’s accompanied by an orange twist and some liqueur or poured straight, everyone will be happy.
Sparkling Negroni 1 ounce Campari 1 ounce sweet Vermouth (like our Bèrto Ross da Travaj) 1 ounce Gin Serve on the rocks with orange twist, top off with Prosecco
Vermouth Spritz 2 ounces sweet Vermouth (red or white) 3 ounces Prosecco Serve on the rocks with orange twist
A sparkling Negroni, with Sommariva’s Prosecco mixed in
For generations the Sommariva family worked vines on the Venetian high plains, but it was Caterino Sommariva who began purchasing hillside vineyards, having great faith in the Prosecco varietal and deciding to plant it exclusively. Their daughter Cinzia remembers the difficulty of harvest; choosing to pursue studies in marketing. As she got older, she began to see her parents’ work differently, discovering her own passion for winemaking. She eventually joined them and became an enthusiastic and dynamic partner. The Sommarivas take their work very seriously, closely watching over every step of production. These perfectionists only sit back once the work is done and it’s time to enjoy the delightfully fresh fruits of their labor.
Italy’s most prolific wine region by volume, the Veneto is the source of some of the country’s most notorious plonk: you’ll find oceans of insipid Pinot Grigo, thin Bardolino, and, of course, the ubiquitous Prosecco. And yet, the Veneto produces the highest proportion of DOC wine of any Italian region: home to prestigious appellations like Valpolicella, Amarone, and Soave, it is capable of excelling in all three colors, with equally great potential in the bubbly and dessert departments.
With almost 200,000 acres planted, the Veneto has a wealth of terroirs split between the Po Valley and the foothills of the Alps. While the rich soils of the flatlands are conducive to mechanization, high yields, and mass production of bulk wine, the areas to the north offer a fresher climate and a diversity of poor soil types, ideal for food-friendly wines that show a sense of place. Whether it’s a charming Prosecco Superiore from the Glera grape, a stony Soave or Gambellara from Garganega, or a Corvina-based red in any style, the Veneto’s indigenous grape varieties show real character when worked via traditional production methods.
Since his first visit in 1979, Kermit has regularly returned to the Veneto to enjoy its richness of fine wines and local cuisine. Our collaboration with Corte Gardoni, our longest-running Italian import, is a testament to this. The proximity of beautiful cities like Verona and Venice, with their deep culinary heritage, certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:
1. Big wines do not age better than light wine. 2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration. 3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them. 4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would. 5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.
Inspiring Thirst, page 174
Hot in your area? Pick up in our shop or we’ll hold your wine until it’s a good time to ship.
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