Bortolomiol ‘Prior’ Brut Millesimato Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2015 DOCG


Estate: Documents dating back to 1760 record Bartolomeo Bortolomiol growing grapes in the hills of Valdobbiadene. He passed his love of the land and passion for viticulture to his son, Giuliano Bortolomiol, who founded the Bortolomiol estate in the 1940’s. [For more information on Giuliano’s groundbreaking work in the region, please click here.] Today it is Giuliano’s 4 daughters [Maria Elena, Elvira, Luisa and Giuliana] who are following in their father and grandfather’s footsteps, and also establishing their own winemaking identity.

With a proudly female perspective, they have a focus of preserving the earth, or “territorial awareness”. In addition to using organic and sustainable practices in both the vineyard and the cellar, they are at the forefront of green initiatives in the area. They have partnered with Indaco2, a spin-off company of the University of Siena that specializes in “monitoring production chains through environmental sustainability indicators”. With the preservation of 3 hectares of woods, they can fully compensate the CO2 emissions generated through the production of 2 of their wines. Ultimately, the goal is for the entire winery to be completely sustainable with a zero carbon neutral footprint. Additionally, they support international humanitarian projects, such as the Benin project in Africa, a program which provide women with the tools to become entrepreneurs.

‘Prior’ received its name as being the first Prosecco crafted in the Brut style, thanks to the pioneering Giuliano Bortolomiol.

Philosophy: “A commitment that we undertake every day with a view to leaving the territory cleaner and greener for future generations.”

Tasting Notes: Pale lemon in colour with aromas of apple, orange blossom and lightly buttered toast. Delicate apple and pear with a squeeze of citrus swell in the dry, light, fizzy body. Good acidity compliments fresh buttery bread notes that lingers between each sip. Well balanced, fresh and lively, it’s easy to see why this consistently is an award-winning sparkler recognized for its pure expression and superb value.

100% Glera
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut DOCG
Produced by Bortolomiol SPA
$14 [average price]
12% Alcohol
Enjoy now


Sample submitted for review purpose.

La Farra ‘Rive di Farra di Soligo Millesimato’ Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG

Estate: The La Farra estate was established in 1997 by brothers Innocente and Guido Nardi, following in the footsteps of their family’s long winemaking history. Located in in Farra di Soligo, in the heart of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, the 20 hectares of vineyards also stretch into the municipalities of Pieve di Soligo, Follina and San Pietro di Feletto. [The Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG zone has long been celebrated for the quality of its grapes and its steep, hillside vineyards. For more details about this acclaimed region, click here.]

Winemaking: Hand harvested and crafted from a “Cru” of grapes from vineyards with “limey soils” in the high hills of Farra di Soligo. Charmat method [or tank fermentation].

Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour with delicate aromas of apple, honey and delicate white flowers. Yellow apple, apricot and a touch of honey fuses with an abundance of dense fine bubbles. The distinctive, vivid almond on the dry finish is the star. Fantastic on its own, or with light dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Excellent aperitif, also an ideal end to the meal [especially with fruit pastries].

100% Glera
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Bottled by Azienda Agricola La Farra
11% Alcohol
$17 [average price]
Enjoy now


Sample submitted for review purpose.

Brut & Extra Dry: Exploring the Styles of Prosecco

There are many different styles of Prosecco, all within a budget friendly price point. From spumante [sparkling] to still, from brut to dry, it’s an incredibly versatile wine. It’s interesting to explore the subtle [and not so subtle] differences between Brut [up to 12g of residual sugar per litre] and Extra Dry [12-17g of residual sugar per litre]. Below are fantastic examples of the two.

Le Colture ‘Fagher’ Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG NV

Estate: The Le Colture family has a winemaking history in Valdobbiadene that extends back over 500 years, to the 1500’s. The estate has a total of 40 hectares of vineyards that are spread across 16 farm properties in the Valdobbiadene, Conegliano and Montello areas. This allows for “the creation of wines with ultra-distinctive personalities that reflect the specific characteristics innate in the soils and weather conditions of very uncommon terroirs”.

Philosophy: “From generation to generation, the harmony of a solid, efficient team.”

Winemaking: Charmat method at a controlled temperature.

Tasting Notes: Super pale gold in colour with delicate aromas of lemon zest, brioche and crushed rock minerals. Clean minerals, lemon and almond glide atop fine, dense bubbles which carry thru the finish. A wisp of fresh bread and citrus zest elongate the nutty, bone dry finish. Elegant and clean with a savory edge, lovely on its own or with light dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Intended to be drunk throughout the entire meal, pairs well with vegetable antipasti, seafood pasta dishes.

100% Glera
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Produced by Azienda Agricola Le Colture
11.5% Alcohol
$15 [average price]
Enjoy now

Frassinelli ‘Rive di Manzana Millesimato’ Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2015

Estate: Located in Mareno di Piave, between the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene and the Piave river, the Frassinelli family has been making wine since since 1966. The estate’s 13 hectares of vineyards stretch across 3 appellations; Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, Venezia DOC, Prosecco DOC.

Philosophy: “Our responsibility is to respect the territory. Our passion is to understand it.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from the Rive di Manzana “Cru”, located in the heart of Prosecco.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour with aromas of apple, lemon, wildflowers, honey and a touch of minerality. Tasting similar to the aromas with apple and lemon drizzled in honey gliding over light, meandering bubbles. Hints of baked apple and brioche compliment the dry, crisp finish. Sunshine in a glass!

100% Glera
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Produced by Azienda Agricola Frassinelli
11.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2018


Samples submitted for review purpose.

Adami ‘Bosco di Gica’ Prosecco Superiore Brut Valdobbiadene DOCG NV

The Adami Winery was founded by “Grandfather Abele” when he purchased the “Giardino” vineyard (whose name “Zardini” dates to 1717) from Count Balbi-Valier in 1920. Located in the Alta Marca area near Treviso, the land was renowned for its white wines as far back as the Middle Ages. Documents dated in 1606 show the wines “were exported and appreciated “in Venice, Germany and as far afield as Poland”.

Today, the 3rd generation of the family, Armando and Franco, are producing “some of the best spumante wines of the Valdobbiadene”. The family has 12 hectares of vineyards along with 38 hectares farmed by “other small growers with time-honored links to the winery, and sharing its commitment to quality.”

Philosophy: “This is how the family expresses the values of their land: sound work, respect for human relationships, a sense of hospitality and continuity between past and present. An estate, and above all, a family.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards with mixed soils; glacial soil in the hills, shallow clay and calcareous soils at higher elevations. Bosco di Gica is the name of the forest first documented 600 years ago, near where the grapes are harvested.

Tasting Notes: Gold in colour with aromas of apple, lemon, honeysuckle and a trace of fresh bread. Golden apple, citrus, honey and white flowers glide atop solid little bubbles. A hint of buttery bread with a drizzle of honey lingers between each dry, fizzy sip. Bright acidity maintains balance and freshness.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Ideal as an aperitif, but also a wine to be enjoyed throughout a meal, especially with cacio e pepe pasta.

95-97% Glera, 3-5% Chardonnay
Valdobbiadene DOCG
Bottled by Adami SRL
11% Alcohol
Enjoy now

The United Wines of Veneto Master Class at Eataly, NYC


I was delighted to attend The United Wines of Veneto Master Class held at Eataly NYC last month. The class was presented by the Consortium for all Veneto Wines or Unione Consorzi Vini Veneti DOC [U.Vi.Ve.], who represent the wide variety of Veneto wines. Veneto is located in the northeastern corner of Italy, and is the country’s foremost wine producing region. Veneto wines are amongst the most recognized names in Italian wine; Valpolicella, Soave, Amarone and the seemingly unstoppable Prosecco, to name a few. This was such a richly comprehensive experience, [including a surprise guest appearance by the incredible chef and author Lidia Bastianich] so I have attempted to distill all the information down to a manageable piece, below are my abridged highlights of the afternoon.


Lidia Bastianich, Arturo Stocchetti , President of the Unione Consorzi Vini Veneti DOC and Nazareno Vicenzi, who acted as interpreter and speaker for the class.

Led by Unione Consorzi Vini Veneti DOC president Arturo Stocchetti [in addition he is also the Consorzio Soave president] the presidents and directors of 6 of the 21 Consortiums of Veneto discussed their wines and regions. Each one of these consortiums within Veneto is responsible for protecting the quality of wine, specifications, traditions and innovation of the region, along with its promotion. The purpose of the Unione Consorzi Vini Veneti is “to represent the region as a whole, the history and the unique wine-making traditions”. The title, “United Wines of Veneto” is a reflection of the “strong collaboration between world renowned Prosecco and Amarone producers along with a wide culture of smaller high quality wineries and working together to represent our traditions, character and characteristics”. The predominate theme was that Veneto wines “are approachable because of price, variety and food friendliness”. The nearly universal belief that food and wine go together in Italy is spreading globally, and friendly Veneto wines can be paired with all types of cuisine.

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG


Giulia Pussini of Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore and Nazareno Vicenzi

The Consorzio has only protected the Prosecco region since 2009. It is a highly productive area that currently exports about 65% of its 300 million bottles produced. With a 33.5% increase in export in 2014, the US is the region’s 3rd largest market, following behind the UK and Germany. President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, Stefano Zanette along with the Director of the Consortium believe that due to the modern characteristics of Prosecco, such as its low alcohol content and delicate flavours, the US market will only continue to grow. It has a way to go to unseat the UK in the number one spot, especially considering the recent numbers associated with New Year’s Eve purchases, the Daily Mail reported “that Marks & Spencer’s Prosecco sales were up by 45% on the same period in the previous year”. Excitement for Prosecco has only increased with The Drinks Business reporting that 2014 was a spectacular year for Prosecco, as its demand “had seen global sales overtake Champagne for the first time”.

Astoria Conegliano Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry Millesimato 2012
Pale gold in colour with summery aromas of peach and fresh hay. Light apple and melon flavours along with delicate bubbles culminate in a slightly sweet, crisp finish.
100% Glera
11-12% Alcohol
$21 [average price]
Winery pairing suggestions: Fish dishes, appetizers and desserts.

Custoza DOC vineyards are in the southern area of the Bardolino region. Custoza wines are characterized by the fact that they are a blend, rather then a singular varietal. The most predominate grapes used in the blend are Garganega, Trebbianello and Bianca Fernanda, although other grapes grown in the area are permitted, such as Fernanda and Trebbiano. Overall the wines are known for their delicate fruit notes, herbaceousness, minerality and almond finish.

Azienda Agricola Cavalchina Custoza DOC 2013
Fresh and bright with ripe tropical fruits and an herbaceous undercurrent, finishing with clean minerals. Wonderfully delicate and refreshing.
40% Garganega, 30% Fernanda, 15% Trebbianello, 15% Trebbiano
13.5% Alcohol
$15 [average price]
Winery pairing suggestions: Fish dishes and appetizers.

Lugana DOC
Presented by Carlo Veronese, Director of the Consorzio per la Tutela Lugana DOC, the Lugana DOC is a small region located on the southern coast of Lake Garda. The area has a little over 100 producers that generate about 13 million bottles of mainly white wine made from the Turbiana grape wine a year. A combination of the clay soil left behind by glaciers and winemaking techniques, the wines are known for their dry, unoaked, easy-drinking style and refreshing acidity. Germany is their biggest export market; the US is a new market and focus, as the charming grape with unclear origins is becoming known for its distinctive flavours.

Ottella ‘Le Creete’ Lugana DOC 2013
Brillliant gold in colour, smooth and buttery with an engaging balance of sweet honeysuckle and savoury herbaceous notes culminating in a refreshing, dry mineral finish that keeps you reaching for more.
100% Trebbiano de Lugano
13% Alcohol
$18 [average price]
Winery pairing suggestions: Sea or lake fish, white meat, soups and a surprising affinity with tasty cheese.

Bardolino DOC


Franco Cristoforetti, President, Consorzio Tutela Vino Bardolino

Bardolino is located in the western part of the Veneto region. The area benefits from the glacial soil and the consistent microclimate of the Alps and Lake Garda. The wines are made with the same grapes as nearby Valpolicella wines; Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, as with everything else in Italy, the Bardolino wines have their own distinctive personality. Whilst Valpolicella wines have been called “the Italian Beaujolais” Bardolino wines are light, fresh and super versatile, in fact they are known as the “all meal wine”, able to pair with any type of dish. Similar in structure, yet each with their own unique characteristics. Bardolino wines are meant to be enjoyed young, although many can take up to 5 years or so of ageing.

Vigneti Villabella ‘Vigna Morlongo’ Bardolino Classico DOC 2013
Aged in stainless steel, light, elegant with fresh cherry and strawberry flavours accented by candied violets and crushed white peppercorn, delightfully finishing with nuances of smoky earth.
55% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, 15% Corvinone
12.5% Alcohol
$16 [average price]
Winery pairing suggestions: Extremely versatile and can be enjoyed throughout the entire meal with appetizers, pasta, risotto, pulse-based soups, white meats. Also try it with a slight chill.

Valpolicella DOC


Christian Marchesini, President of the Consortium for the Tutelage of Valpolicella DOC Wines [Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella] with Nazareno Vicenzi

Since Roman times both the land and family winemaking traditions have been faithfully passed down from generation to generation in Valpolicella. Christian Marchesini is responsible for the Consortium’s philosophy of “Reduce Save Respect”, which reflects the honor placed on family traditions, along with environmental protection and awareness that the land needs to be safeguarded for the future generations. Valpolicella wines are made in a broad spectrum of styles, from the light Beaujolais style of Classico, to the more weightier ripasso classic superior to the intense, rich Amarone. Clearly, just within Valpolicella there is a wine for everyone and every dish. One of the key themes of the class was that Italian wines are made to go with food, it was not a surprise when Christian Marchesini noted that Amarone pairs superbly with Risotto dishes. A traditional paring in the region, rice has been cultivated in Veneto since at least 1475. [We were fortunate to experience this spectacular pairing first hand, as we enjoyed this Valpolicella along with Risi & Bisi, a traditional Veneto risotto dish, recipe by the great Mario Batali.]

Gerardo Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2012
Intense yet wonderfully focused with bold, jammy cherry notes contrasting with hints of delicate wildflowers, a long, velvety finish of smoky cedar and earthy summer forest echoes the powerful beginning.
70-75% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Molinara
13.5% Alcohol
$20 [average price]
Winery pairing suggestions: Versatile, enjoy especially with risotto, sausage sand mushrooms.





Media event sponsored by Unione Consorzi Vini Veneti DOC