I won’t lie to you, I am a Prosecco novice. I recall trying this light sparkling drop a couple of years ago by chance and being impressed, yet I haven’t ordered it since. I have recently read a number of references to Prosecco being the next big thing so I decided to educate myself in ways of this Italian varietal and discover what the fuss is all about.
The King Valley region of north east Victoria is the predominant region in Australia for growing and producing Prosecco. While the grapes have only been growing for a few years, the producers were lucky in planting Prosecco where they did. The fresh alpine air and mountainous conditions are perfect for the grape.
But the Italian wine industry got wind of the Prosecco coming out of regions like the King Valley and questioned whether people outside Italy have the right to call their Prosecco Prosecco, similar to the Champagne industry in France. Unfortunately for the Italian producers, prosecco is a grape as opposed to a region, so the Australian examples are allowed to call themselves by the traditional name.
Taking it one step further, the King Valley producers – Chrismont, Brown Brothers, Dal Zotto and Sam Miranda have collaborated to develop a regionally branded bottle to use for their own bottling. Keep your eyes out for some wonderful King Valley branded Prosecco releases coming soon, as well as some exciting cellar door activities to celebrate the launch of the collaborative project.
So what does it taste like? Well, very similar to Champagne in a basic sense but has lighter bubbles with apple and pear tones. The standout favourite of all the Prosecco I tried was Chrismont 2008 La Zona Prosecco ($26). Delicate bubbles, very clean and crisp taste with a dry finish, I just wanted more of this delight. So much so, that I bought a bottle then and there and shared it with friends at the very first opportunity.
A very close second was the Dal Zotto 2008 L’Immigrante Prosecco Sparkling ($36). Interestingly, Dal Zotto produce their Prosecco using the champenoise method rather than the traditional Italian charmat method. This makes the bubbles slightly less delicate but the apple and pear flavour shines through reinstating any lightness it may have lost.
Just to make sure I was comparing apples with apples (or grapes with grapes!) I decided I had to reacquaint myself with the original Italian Prosecco. I decided the Bele Casel 2008 Prosecco ($26) was the one for me and I loved it! Bele Casel is a small winery and is renowned as the best source of Prosecco in the Valdobbiadene region. At $26, it is a great value sparkling for any occasion.
This summer, whichever Prosecco you choose, make sure you enjoy it with good friends and family and it will taste even better!
Image courtesy Sam Miranda Wines.