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Decanter Magazine News

 

Bisol Prosecco.

3 December 2005.

 

There are very few people who haven't heard of Champagne. No doubt there will be a handful to whom Prosecco may be an unknown term, but I would bet that to most, the words Valdobbiadene and Conegliano are pretty meaningless.

Not so for Dacotah Renneau from Prosecco producer Bisol. When I met her at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter last week she insisted I mention the full name. So what does it mean?

Prosecco is actually a grape variety. Pure and simple then. Well not really. The name Prosecco is often used for any old Italian (semi) sparkler found for around 2-3, mostly on the bottom shelves and sometimes not even Italian at all.

Bisol, however, shows what Italian sparkling wine can be about when it is well made, from carefully selected fruit from single vineyards in a small area around the towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano in the Veneto area of Northern Italy. Geography lesson over.

 

The full name, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene e Conegliano (there you go Dacotah, I promised I would mention it at least twice) actually forms a DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) not dissimilar to the French AOC. It guarantees the wine is from the specific area mentioned on the label and adheres to strict vineyard management as well as vinification methods. All Prosecco is tank fermented, as opposed to the bottle fermentation used in Champagne. Second fermentation in tank still happens under pressure so the CO2 stays in the wine and even the bottling process is done under pressure. Champagne being mentioned once or twice, don't confuse this as it really doesn't compare. Generally speaking Prosecco is much lighter and fruitier than Champagne. It's not meant for ageing, but for drinking plenty of it on a warm day outside or with your Christmas breakfast.

 

The following is an extract from the Bisol website showing why Dacotah was so keen to get the name across:

"Bisol has the all-important vineyard holdings that allow the company to choose how the grapes are grown and to select the best. In an industry where the average vineyard holding is tiny (around 1 hectare) and the larger producers are forced to buy in most of their grapes, the Bisol family are fortunate to own no fewer than 50 hectares of DOC vineyards, including three of the 106 hectares in the Cartizze zone, the highest vineyards in the region, where land is reputedly worth $1 million a hectare, were anyone willing to sell it."

 

The range of Prosecco Bisol produces starts with the simple but lively Jeio Brut NV. Apart from Prosecco grapes this also contains Pinot Bianco and Verdiso. Best drunk on its own or with light fish dishes or white meats. (Bibendum 6.79)

 

Bisol Crede 2004, the next level up uses the same blend. Hints of apples and pears make this a typical Prosecco. Fresh and vibrant. Makes the perfect Bellini by the way, see below. (Bibendum 9.27)

 

 

Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze 2004,

to give this one it's full name is again a level up and is a bit more concentrated. 100% Prosecco it is full and balanced, a bit sweeter than the others, but with great acidity to balance it all out. Peaches, apples and pears, a lovely balanced fruitiness. The Cartizze can of course be drunk on its own but would also be great company to a light dessert. (Bibendum 14.56) Not too bad a price considering the price of land in the Cartizze vineyards.

 

Passito di Prosecco 'Duca di Dolle'. An amazing dessert style wine. Made from dried Prosecco grapes it is a blend of 13 vintages (1991-2003). The nose is intense and honeyed with exotic fruit. The gorgeous palate is of candied orange and cherry with great acidity which ensures this wine is never cloying.

Unfortunately not available in the UK and Dacotah didn't want to tell me how much it would be, but she did hint I could buy it at the cellar door.

 

 

The perfect Bellini:

As served in Hotel Danieli, Venice

 

white peach (pureed)

dashes of lemon juice

dashes of peach brandy

Bisol Crede Prosecco

 

Stir the peach, lemon juice and peach brandy in a Champagne flute and then carefully top it up with Bisol Crede Prosecco.