From the beautiful hills of Conegliano, an hour north of Venice, Sommariva has produced a sparkling rosato worthy of perhaps the most coveted real estate in your home: a permanent space in your fridge. Cinzia Sommariva is an expert at crafting artisanal but incredibly approachable sparkling wines, the centerpiece of which is an over-delivering Prosecco. While this Spumante, like the Prosecco, is also made with grapes grown in the hills of Conegliano, Il Rosa consists of the aromatic, local Raboso variety blended with Pinot Nero rather than the Glera grape that goes into Prosecco. The hillsides on which they grow are relatively steep and face south, giving these grapes the ideal conditions for balanced ripening. Lively bubbles deliver notes of bright red berries that dance over your palate. This wine is a perfect accompaniment to anything at apéro hour, particularly Chris Lee’s recipe for the Venetian specialty baccalà mantecato, Italy’s answer to the French spread called brandade. You can find Chris Lee’s recipe here.
Sommariva’s sparkling rosato served with baccalà mantecato
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.
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