Prosecco, the food-friendly, easy-drinking sparkling wine from Northern Italy, has become increasingly popular in the U.S. Many wine shops and restaurants now carry Prosecco, but quality can vary especially when dealing with lower priced offerings. One way to ensure that you’re getting the highest quality Prosecco is to look for producers from Conegliano—Valdobbiadene, Italy’s official DOC production zone for Prosecco and Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze. Located in the province of Treviso just 30 minutes north of Venice and reaching to the foothills of the Alps, the zone is home to 5,000 wine producers. A group of these producers, the Consorzio per la Tutela del Vino Prosecco, recently held a tasting in New York of the 2004 vintage of Prosecco DOC and Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze, which is made in limited quantities from the finest grapes.
The Vino in Villa New York event was held at the super stylish Cipriani 23rd Street and featured sparkling wines from 27 producers. These ranged from well-known names such as Zardetto and Mionetto to smaller producers such as Merotto and Bortolin that are not yet distributed in the U.S. The Vino in Villa name is taken from an annual three-day festival held in the Prosecco DOC zone in May. The namesake festival, at which 70 producers preview the latest harvest, is held at the historic castle of Saint Salvatore, property of the Collalto family who also produce Prosecco.
The Prosecco DOC zone encourages wine tourism and has a well-marked Prosecco Road, or La Strada del Vino. The Prosecco Road was one of the first wine routes to be created in Italy in 1966. The route goes through towns that are rich in art, history and culture, and the zone has a large number of hotels, wine shops, and restaurants to enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of the area and its tradition of wine and good food, including local dishes featuring risotto and polenta. For more information about Prosecco DOC and the Prosecco Road, check out the Consortium’s website at www.prosecco.it