Disclaimer: this review is of a sample that I received from the producer’s US importer. My review has been conducted in compliance with my Samples Policy and the ISA wine tasting protocol and the opinions I am going to share on the wine are my own.
It has recently been reported that, in 2013, worldwide sales of Prosecco were for the first time greater than those of Champagne (307 million vs 304 million bottles, respectively – thank you Franklin Liquors for sharing the link to this piece of news).
In spite of such a commercial achievement, if you have been following this blog for a while, you may recall that generally speaking I am not a big fan of Prosecco, with very few exceptions. I just like the extra complexity and structure that is typical of a Classic Method sparkling wine (like Champagne or Franciacorta, for instance) over the simpler, fruitier profile of a Charmat-Martinotti Method sparkler (like Prosecco). If you are not familiar with the two methods, please refer to my previous posts on the Classic Method and on the Charmat-Martinotti Method.
Having said that, I am always happy to try and taste new Prosecco’s to hopefully add new… “exceptions” to my list. So I was excited when representatives of Italian Prosecco producer Montelvini were kind enough to have a couple samples of their premium Prosecco (Montelvini, Prosecco di Asolo Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry “Venegazzù” DOCG NV – $15) delivered to me so I could taste it and possibly review it.
Now, let’s see how it was.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I quite liked this Prosecco (despite being slightly irked by its label) and I appreciated its fine perlage, considering that the Charmat-Martinotti Method generally results in bigger bubbles. It is a nice, easy to drink sparkler with an appealing quality-to-price ratio: it has pleasant mouth flavors and mineral hints that make up for its not very complex or intense aromas. It definitely has its place as a Spring-y/Summer-y “cool but not intimidating” 😉 aperitivo.
(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)
About the Grape and the Appellation
The main grape variety that is used in the production of the wine Prosecco was called Prosecco Tondo (now Glera) which DNA profiling has shown to be identical to a rare variety that is indigenous to the Istria region of Croatia named Teran Bijeli. This evidence supports the theory of an Istrian origin for the Prosecco/Glera grape variety. Glera is a partly-aromatic white-berried grape variety (grape variety information taken from Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012).
Prosecco wine is made in two Italian DOCG appellations and in one more loosely regulated inter-regional DOC appellation, as follows:
- Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene (or simply Prosecco di Valdobbiadene) DOCG in the Veneto region, near the town of Treviso;
- Prosecco dei Colli Asolani (or Prosecco di Asolo) DOCG in the Veneto region, near and including the town of Asolo (this is the appellation of the wine we are reviewing today);
- Prosecco Spumante DOC, an appellation which covers a vast territory stretching between the regions of Veneto and Friuli.
The Montelvini estate in Asolo (image courtesy of Montelvini)
With regard to residual sugar levels, according to applicable regulations, Prosecco spumante wines may be produced in any of the following styles, and therefore except only in the Extra Brut (less than 6 gr/lt of residual sugar) or Sweet (more than 50 gr/lt of residual sugar) versions:
- Brut (less than 15 gr/lt of residual sugar)
- Extra Dry (12 to 20 gr/lt of residual sugar)
- Dry (17 to 35 gr/lt of residual sugar – as in the case of the bottle that we are reviewing)
- Demi-Sec (33 to 50 gr/lt of residual sugar, which would make it taste quite sweet).
For more detailed information about Prosecco and the Glera grape variety, please refer to our post on the Charmat-Martinotti Method and to the “Glera” entry in our Grape Variety Archive.
About the Producer and the Estate
The Serena family, who owns Montelvini, has been in the wine making business for 130 years in the hilly area surrounding the town of Asolo in Italy’s Veneto region. Nowadays, they manage 35 HA of vineyards in four different estates, with Glera, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon being the most cultivated grapes, accounting in the aggregate for 85% of the total vines, with an average density of 4,500 vines/HA.
The Serena family (image courtesy of Montelvini)
The annual production is 3 million bottles, 20% of which are exported to 36 countries. The Montelvini winery accommodates 48 temperature-controlled autoclaves dedicated to the production of Charmat-Martinotti Prosecco sparkling wines.
Our Detailed Review
The wine we are going to review today is Montelvini, Prosecco di Asolo Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry “Venegazzù” DOCG NV, which retails in the U.S. for about $15.
The wine is made from 100% Glera grapes, has 12% ABV, a pressure of 5.6 ATM and comes in the “Extra Dry” variety, with 15 gr/lt residual sugar.
One thing that I did not like is the use of the word “Millesimato” on the label of the wine. In Italian that word refers to the vintage of a wine, particularly a sparkling wine, and is utilized to distinguish a vintage sparkler from a non-vintage one. However, the label of the Prosecco that we are reviewing does not contain any indication of the vintage of the wine, which makes the use of the term “Millesimato” pointless or even potentially misleading. I believe Montelvini should either keep the word “Millesimato” and include the year of the harvest (if their wine is in fact a vintage wine) or drop the use of “Millesimato” altogether if their wine is non-vintage.
Anyway, let’s move on to the actual review of this Prosecco.
As usual, for my review I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.
In the glass, the wine was brilliant and pale straw yellow in color. Its bubbles were in the average in number, fine and long-lasting. A very nice perlage.
On the nose, its bouquet was moderately intense, moderately complex and of fair quality, with aromas of apple, white blossoms and hints of tangerine.
In the mouth, it was off-dry, with medium ABV and moderately smooth; it was acidic and tasty. It was medium-bodied and balanced, with intense and fine mouth flavors reminiscent of apples with hints of tangerines and minerals. It had a medium finish and its evolutionary state was mature, meaning: do not cellar, drink now to enjoy its freshness.
Excellent and very informative review Stefano. It’s interesting to hear that Prosecco sales exceeded Champagne sales in 2013. 😉
Thank you, B: I found that bit of information quite interesting too. It looks like Prosecco is getting everyone excited… 😉
I’m with you on methode Champenoise over tank and in fact prefer a good Cava to Prosecco. Very interesting post.
Thank you for your kind comment, Sally: we are definitely on the same page! If you happen to lay your hands on a bottle of good Franciacorta (Italian classic method sparkler) give it a try and see how you like it. Some of them are really solid, in my view even better/more complex than Cavas.
Greatly informative. Will it be readily available here in the states?
Hi Tracy – apologies for the delayed reply. They should be some time soon (they just started importing them). Let me ask the importer and get back to you.
How nice for you, to be on the inside… (knowing the wines before they’re available here). and how nice for me, to get your early reviews!!!
Here is a list of retailers in NY and NJ that carry the wine. The list should grow fairly quickly as, like I said, they have only just started importing this Prosecco into the US – hope it helps:
1. New York City:
– City Wine
– Pop the Cork
– Wine Exchange
2. Brooklyn, NY:
– Best Buy Wines & Liquors
3. Mineola, NY:
– Heart of Portugal
4. Farmingville, New York:
– Pope Liquors
5. New Jersey:
– Lisbon Wine & Liquors
– Garcia Liquors
– LBV Cellars
– New World Bar and Restaurant
– Oasis Bar & Restaurant
– Titanic Restaurant
– Caravela Restaurant
– Shop Rite Liquors of Hoboken
– Shop Rite Liquors of Lyndhurst
– Shop Rite Liquors of Jersey City
I agree that millesimato is misleading, Is this wine produced particularly for the US market, hoping that consumers here would not know what it means??