Riccardo Prosecco wins the Taste of London summer wine award

At the recent 2011 Taste of London wine awards, Riccardo Prosecco was awarded the Taste of Summer wine award. It was a tough competition, over 80 wines were blind tasted one early Wednesday morning and after much discussion and to-ing and fro-ing, Riccardo Prosecco won the day. Riccardo was up against some tough competitors but at the end of the day we decided it would indeed be the wine that was most emblematic of the Taste of Summer. The first time I had Riccardo prosecco was last summer at a secret supper club. I had never heard of them but was surprised at the quality of the wines. As I recall, I found them to be quite substantial wines, not just your run of the mill, slightly sweet, fizzy white wines. These were proseccos with a backbone, wines that were not just for aperitivo-quaffing but could also be enjoyed with a meal. I liked the wines but never really ran across them again and filed the name away. That is until this past April when I found myself on a holiday in the Veneto region. The Veneto is just a hop,skip, and a jump away from the prosecco producing region of Treviso so I hopped on a train and an hour and a half later, I was at the foot of steep hills of the ConeglianoValdobbiadene DOCG, chatting with Roberto Fornasier, the son of one of the brothers who own Riccardo Prosecco. Riccardo prosecco is in memory of the father of the brothers. Did you know that the grape to make prosecco is not called prosecco? I didn’t know that until I visited Treviso and the prosecco producing region of Valdobbiadene DOC recently. Up until 2009, prosecco was the name of the grape but because so many other regions were hijacking the name prosecco and calling any Italian sparkling wine prosecco, whether or not the wine was actually made from the prosecco grape, the Italian government decided to take action. They went back to...

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I visited Piedmont with Berry Brothers & Rudd and so can you…

It’s not too late to enter Berry Bros. & Rudd’s latest competition to win a trip to Piedmont, Italy with their resident wine buyer, nebbiolo expert, and 8th generation Berry, David Berry Green. Berry Bros. & Rudd is one of the oldest wine merchants in the world and is offering one lucky person and a companion the chance to hang out with their Piedmont winebuyer. Piedmont is well known for it’s Barolo’s but did you know that Barolo is made from nebbiolo? Or that nebbiolo is also made into an early drinking, bright and very food friendly wine? All you have to do is make a short video explaining why you think you’d like to win. I was invited to visit Serralunga d’Alba, where David is based in Langhe, Piedmont, and met many of the producers as well as eat some very choice food and visit medieval castles. But the real reason we were there was to discover the wines made from the nebbiolo grape. I had a chance to sit down with David and asked him why he thought nebbiolo was worthy of being in the spotlight. See how easy it is to make a video and what a lovely chap David is? So what are you waiting for, make your own video explaining why you think you should win the trip and get your entry in by 21 April 2011. Good luck! Full Details and how to enter here  in Competition Details Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Chiaretto – Italian rose from the shores of Lake Garda

Let’s go to Italy today. I feel like writing about a lunch I had on the shores of Lake Garda back in September when I visited the Lugano wine region. Perhaps it’s because spring is just round the corner that I  got to thinking of rosès. I took a look at some photos I took last September when I was in Italy and thought the wines were  just too pretty to ignore. Not only that but they are also very under-rated. The rosès come from the vineyards on the slopes of hills that surround Lake Garda  and are some of the best and lightest that Italy produces. The DOC benefits greatly from the microclimate that surrounds the lake with a mild microclimate, we saw palm trees, olive trees and lemon trees, which considering we were almost at the foot of the Alps was quite a surprise.  Chiaretto is the wine that is made from the first pressing of the gropello grape of the Garda Classico DOC region. Gropello is a red grape that gives light and spicy wines. Sangiovese, barbera and marimeno are also allowed in the blend but gropello is the main grape. There are only 300 hectares of gropello in the world and like pinot noir, it can be a fussy grape, needing much care and attention. In order to produce chiaretto, the producer can only use the first press and he has to be careful that the must has only brief contact with the skins in order to get not only the lovely pink hue but also to obtain the optimum fruit without unbalancing the wine. It is a delicate balancing act and one that has been perfected over the centuries. The local vintners call it the “wine of one night” because vinification takes place over one day and one night and  it remains in contact with the must for not more then 6-8 hours. Chiaretto is a wine that should be drunk young and because it is so fresh and...

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Moscato di Scanzo,a legendary Italian sweet red wine

Oct 08, 10 Moscato di Scanzo,a legendary Italian sweet red wine

Posted by in Italy

A nice way to end a meal is with a sweet wine and what better way to end Italian week here at Winesleuth then with a bit of Moscato. Not any moscato mind, but Moscato di Scanzo, a red sweet wine that comes from the hills of Bergamo. The Moscato  di Scanzo was recently given it’s own DOCG (in 2002) and is the first DOCG of Bergamo and only the fifth in all of Lombardy. An ancient wine, Moscato di Scanzo was first noted in the 14th century and it can be traced back to 1000 B.C. The centre of moscato di scanzo is the town of Scanzorosicate, try saying that after a couple of glasses of moscato. There are only 22 winemakers and 32 hectares of moscato split between them all. Small production it is. In order to produce the wine, the grapes go through a passito process where they are air dried until they lose 70% of their volume, leaving only 30%  of juice at the end. Indeed, for every hectolitre of wine, 400 hours of work goes into it and each hectare produces about 40 hectalitres. The consorzio only makes 60,000 bottles annually so we felt quite privileged to be invited to the annual Moscato festival that the village holds every year.         The president of the consorzio and professional pilot when he’s not tending grapes is, Giacomo de Tomo, our host for the evening. A movie star handsome fellow complete with sporty race car and the elegant manners of an aristocrat, which I’m sure he was as we got a brief glimpse of the family pile on our way to the festival. We had the chance to chat with some of the producers at a small dinner beforehand and although they have a very small production, the winemakers were adamant in wanting to push their red moscato onto the international stage and elucidating the consumer to the fact that there is no other wine like moscato di...

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Aldo Rainoldi from the Valtellina DOCG, Italy

They call them viticoltori eroici (heroic winemakers) and looking from the valley floor up to the steep slopes above us, it seems most appropriate that any winemaker who chooses to plant his vines on the slopes of the foothills of the Alps deserves that moniker. We were driving through the province of Sondrio, in the AOC of  Valtellina, where the nebbiolo grape is grown on the slopes of the Adda River valley. The valley faces east to west and is the only one of it’s kind in Italy. The vineyards here are located at between 300 – 600 metres and  are south facing to catch as much sun as possible. They are a series of stonewall supported terraces that climb high up the sides of the mountains. It was hard not to be impressed by the patchwork of vines scattered on the hillsides. Wine has been made here since at least the 5th century and the wines have been famous within the region for almost as long but they haven’t achieved much renown beyond Switzerland or Middle Europe which is a pity because outside of Piedmont, the nebbiolo (or chiavennasca as it’s locally known) grape thrives in the long, cool growing season of Valtellina.       There are 4 classes of wine in the valley but we were lucky enough to be treated to some of the best, the Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG and Valtellina Superiore DOC. The criteria for the wines for the DOCG and DOC that they must be 90% nebbiolo and the other 10% can only be non-aromatic red grapes. The Sforzata has an added condition in that the grapes are air dryed until Dec 10th and must come from Valtellina Superiore and/or rosso di Valtellina. The Sforzata wines have often been compared to Amarone because the process is the similar but the wine that is produced is very different due to factors such as climate, terroir, clones, etc.       Lorenzo, our guide for the trip, wanted us...

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