Similar to grappa on Wednesday, Prosecco is, perhaps, somewhat misunderstood and given that the huge majority of what is available in the UK is entry level it is no surprise.
From Bassano del Grappa it was a 45 minute drive to the historic estate of Loredan Gasparini. The original owners can trace descendants back to the Doges of Venice and the Palla family acquired the estate in 1973. They have invested in and maintained the legacy – in particular by maintaining vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, as well as producing Asolo DOCG Prosecco. Lorenzo Palla showed us round the estate and barrel and then hosted a fascinating tasting that covered three totally contrasting Proseccos and three reds.
The Prosecco DOC covers a large proportion of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and was created in 2009 in order to protect the Prosecco name. The grape name was changed to Glera and the same global protection rules apply just like Champagne. The reason for this type of protection became clear as we tasted DOCG Prosecco of stunning quality made in a variety of different ways and with differing levels of sweetness.
The Loredan Proseccos ranged from a zero sugar ultra brut style, through a typically aromatic fresh style to an amazing, single spontaneous ferment sweeter style. The reds were a Malbec, a Cabernet Franc and then his top cuvee – Capo di Stato 2008 which was a Bordeaux blend with many years ahead of it.
Suitably amazed by all this, we headed north towards the mountains to another historic estate – Bisol, in the Valdobbiadene DOCG.
Andrea Minto hosted our visit to the winery, which was short, packed full of really useful information and followed by another great tasting in their old cellar.
We tasted five Proseccos with a residual sugar level ranging from 0.5 grams/litre to 35 g/l. Despite the sugar, the wines were clean and fresh and eminently showed how this level of top class Prosecco could be paired throughout a meal. The grades of sweetness introduced us to another level and aspect that most of us weren’t expecting.
Lunch at Vedova was delightful. The sun shone as we partook of a glorious selection of antipasti, cheese, salami, fried vegetables, and all washed down with Vedova Prosecco.
Inside, we drank a rare still (ie not fizzy) Prosecco and a Cabernet Franc accompanied by an asparagus risotto and beef fillet cooked to perfection. Tiramisu finished us off, though some of us managed some dinner in Bassano that night!