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
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
The following is an extract from the
website showing why Dacotah was so keen to get the
"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.
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
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.