Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Finding Italian Prosecco In An Asylum

Located in the Veneto region of Italy, Asolo is a town and commune that is also known as the "city of a hundred horizons" and the "pearl of Treviso." The term "asolo" derives from the Latin word for "asylum," referring to a place of refuge. The area of Asolo is also well known for Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine.

Prosecco is seeing a surge in popularity, and outsold Champagne in 2013, selling around 307 million bottles compared to 304 million for Champagne. For Prosecco, this was an increase in sales of about 16% and an increase in volume by about 11.5%. Obviously, one of the reasons for Prosecco's popularity is that it generally is much less expensive than Champagne. You can find plenty of Prosecco priced at $10-$15, and it certainly sells well at the wine shop where I work.

There were a number of legal changes to Prosecco around 2009 and 2010, including the creation of a broad Prosecco DOC. Two Prosecco DOCG were created too, one for Asolo and the other for Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. In addition, the name of the Prosecco grape was legally protected so that anyone outside the DOC using it must refer to it as Glera, an old synonym for the grape. Roughly 20% of Prosecco is from Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG while only about 0.5% comes from the Asolo DOCG. So, Prosecco from Asolo is one of the least available.

Recently, I received a media sample of a Prosecco from the Asolo DOCG, the Montelvini Venegazzu Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato ($15). I believe it might also be my first Prosecco from this DOCG. Extending back to 1881, the Serena family has been involved in wine making in the Veneto near Asolo. Currently, they have about 35 hectares of vineyards, in four different estates, and produce around 3 million bottles annually. This specific Prosecco only started being imported to the U.S. in December 2013 by Wine in Motion.

I haven't enjoyed a Prosecco as much as I did this one in a long time. With a pale golden color, the Prosecco had an appealing nose of fruit and flowers. On the palate, it was dry, crisp and clean, with pleasing flavors of peach and apples, with floral accents and some minerality. It was refreshing, with a clean and tasty finish. It possesses more complexity than other inexpensive Prosecco and is perfect for the summer, as well as all year.

Not all Prosecco is the same, and this is an excellent example of its potential. At this price point, it is a very good value too.

No comments: