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220px-prosecco_di_conegliano_bottle_and_glassThere's nothing that sets the celebratory tone of taste, style, and love like the "pop!" of a bubbly.  And when the price is right all the stops are out… This is why Prosecco sales in the U.S. rose over 30% last year and is going up this year.

Prosecco is easy to drink, even when it is young – and preferably so.  It is fresh and lively, unpretentious as it is refreshing, elegant, mineral, flinty or crisp, floral, aromatic, and fruity, with notes of melon, peach, pear and citrus. It is consumed as an apéritif, a complement to food, or a lightly sweet palate cleanser before dinner.

Unlike Champagne which takes a long period of elaboration (hence the term “méthode Champenoise”), most Prosecco is made according to the Charmat process or  Metodo Italiano - in which the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks,  and is bottled under pressure, making the wine less expensive to produce. This method produces smaller, longer-lasting bubbles and is now used widely around the world to produce light, delicate sparkling wines.

The zone

DOCG Prosecco is a wine that comes from prime Italian vineyard estates and appellations - between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, and not too far from Venice, and runs through the Pre-alps and the Dolomites to the north and the Adriatic sea. 

 In 1962 a group of eleven producers, representing the major viticultural cooperatives and the largest makers of sparkling wines, set up the Tutelary Consortium of Prosecco and proposed a discipline to govern production.  As a result, on April 2nd, 1969, Conegliano and Valdobbiadene were officially recognized as the only D.O.C. (Controlled Denomination of Origin) production zone for ‘Prosecco’ and ‘Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze’. Prosecco was promoted to DOCG status on April 1, 2010

A few statistics about CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO SUPERIORE

The total production zone is spread between 15 communities and covers an area of approximately 18,000 hectares (approx. 45,000 acres) of cultivated land between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.. This comprises 6,100 hectares of vineyards, with the super special Cartizze covering 106.   

The steep slopes of the hills make it difficult to mechanize the work and consequently managing the vineyards has almost always been left in the hands of small growers.There are over 3,000 viticulturists, 1,500 Winemaking Professionals and 250 oenologists.  There are 166 producers of Sparkling Wine. 

The 2009 production was 60,840,000 bottles of which 51,656,000 were Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG.  Cartizze produced 1,299,000 bottles.  Finally the total number of bottles of CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO SUPERIORE exported was 52,955,000 bottles and the total retail value of the product 380 million Euros;

What grapes are in the bottle and where do they come from? 

The Prosecco guarantees the base structure of the wine of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene.   Verdiso, Perera and Bianchetta can be used up to a maximum of 15%.  They can contribute, on account of their specificity, to the organoleptic balance of Prosecco.

The Prosecco is a vigorous and hardy vine, with nut-colored shoots and quite large, loosely-packed winged clusters of beautiful golden yellow berries nestled amongst large bright green leaves.

The Verdiso is documented as having been present in the Conegliano zone as early as 1700;  Verdiso plays an important role in balancing Prosecco’s acid component in hot years.

The Perera, a variety cited as already being grown in the Treviso province in the last century, was used in small quantities in the vinification of Prosecco, above all in the Valdobbiadene zone, to enhance its perfume and aroma. (Pera in Italian means Pear)

The Bianchetta, a vine mentioned by name as early as the XVI century and claimed by some authors to be indigenous to the Treviso area, was used, on account of its early maturation, to ‘refine and polish’ the Prosecco, especially in cold years. 

The wines 

Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut Crede DOC 2009. ($19.99) The Pale straw-colored spumante with a strong mousse with aromas of green apples, flowers and peaches, a creamy mouth feel with lively acidity and fruity hints of apples and pears,  and a soft, long-lasting finish on the palate is one of the yummiest Proseccos… It is made from Prosecco, Verdiso and Pinot Bianco grapes grown on the steep hills of the Poderi Bisol.   “crede”means the clayey soils and subsoils of marine clay  where they grow and they develop unusual richness, acidity, varietal aromas and fruitiness.   Ideal as an aperitif, it goes much better with food than you might imagine.  

 Villa Sandi Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC ($17.99) Very pale straw yellow and fine, persistent perlage. The aroma is fruity and flowery with hints of ripe golden apple and small mountain flowers. The dry, fresh and flavorsome sensation on the palate is followed by a fruity and harmonious aftertaste.  Straw yellow with agreeable floral notes touched by tropical fruits, this versatile Prosecco can serve as an aperitif, a complement to food, or a lightly sweet palate cleanser before dinner.

Fantinel Prosecco Brut Extra Dry NV , ($16.00). A velvety Prosecco, bright, lively and elegant, with delightful floral notes touched by tropical fruits, this versatile Prosecco can serve as an aperitif, a complement to food, or a lightly sweet palate cleanser before dinner.

Cima da Conegliano Prosecco Extra Dry NV, ($22.14) Made entirely of Veneto's Prosecco grape, this dry Spumante is straw-colored with aromas of green apples and a soft, long-lasting finish on the palate. It's perfect as an aperitif or with smoked fish.