Prosecco Struts Its Stuff...

Italian bubbly steps into the spotlight.  Never better or more popular.



Recognizable for its light color, floral aromas, easy bubbles and sweet price tags, Prosecco it seems, has never been better or more popular. As a result, more than two dozen top Prosecco producers from the designated Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region of northeastern Italy descended on New York in September to show off the best wines in their portfolios.

Dubbed Vino in Villa, this first-of-its-kind tasting consisted only of producers hailing from the communes of Valdobbiadene (Valdo-bee-Ah-dinay) and Conegliano.  It is important to distinguish these cantinas from the myriad located outside the DOC, noted Diego Tomasi, a prominent Italian researcher at the Viticultural Research Institute in Conegliano, who spoke at the gathering.

Created in 1969, the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOC, nominated this year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine for Wine Region of the Year, sits about 30 miles north of Venice. It's a hilly area where the soils and microclimates produce Prosecco grapes with superior flavors, clarity and style. Within the region lies the filet mignon of Prosecco, the Superiore de Cartizze subzone, from which arguably the most character-packed Proseccos are made. (Less than one million bottles of Cartizze were produced in 2004.)

On the table at Vino in Villa were traditional extra dry Proseccos and an increasing number of new-wave brut wines, which are drier than the classic extra dry bottlings. Although most have been labeled as nonvintage wines, producers were quick to point out that the wines were exclusively 2004s, a balanced, nearly perfect vintage.

Among our favorites, and the wines you should look for if Prosecco strikes your fancy, are the various bottlings from the likes of Bellussi, Bisol, Foss Marai, Mionetto, Sorelle Bronca, Conte Collalto, Drusian, Le Colture and Zardetto, among others.

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