Prosecco” is a stand-in for a cold, crisp, sparkling white wine that should be pretty cheap. There’s nothing wrong with that desire, but there is such a large range of wines bearing the Prosecco DOC and DOCG that they are worthy of as much understanding and differentiation as any other style of wine. The Gregoletto family, who makes this Prosecco, has been tending vines in the hills of Premaor di Miane, near Valdobbiadene, since around 1600. Today, the family farms vineyards in Premaor, Miane, Refrontolo, and Rua di Feletto, all of which are communes in the DOCG Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, a small subzone of the much larger Prosecco DOC. Luigi Gregoletto and his family can’t, however, label their overachieving Prosecco with “DOCG”—the highest classification, generally reserved for sloped vineyards at higher elevation—because they seal their bottles with a crown cap instead of a cork. Nevertheless, they’ve married their excellent, hillside terroirs with painstaking, classic sui lieviti or col fondo vinification practices, whereby they ferment this wine in stainless-steel tanks, bottle it with a little grape must, and allow it to undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle without disgorging the wine. Even though this technique is traditional, the difficulty of simultaneously following it and making excellent wine means it is avoided by most Prosecco producers today! Gregoletto’s result is a crisp, vibrant, fully dry sparkling wine with notes of fresh apples, lime, and stones. The complexity will remind you more of the better Champagnes you have tasted than of most Prosecco.
The Gregoletto family name can be found in historical archives dating from the late 16th, as viticoltori in the hills of Premaor di Miane, near Valdobbiadene. The family has two real specialties: semi-sparkling wine made sui lieviti or on its lees, and still wine made from grapes most commonly used to make sparkling wine. They are among the very last growers in the Veneto to cultivate the indigenous Verdiso grape, making magnificent tranquillo and sui lieviti bottlings from it. They also make Prosecco in all of its forms: still, demi-sec, semi-sparkling, and metodo classico. The Gregoletto family’s wines are incredibly pure, refreshing, and elegant and can be enjoyed effortlessly. They provide instant pleasure.
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.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa