Nino Franco Prosecco. Prosecco but not as you know it…

May 24, 13 Nino Franco Prosecco. Prosecco but not as you know it…

Posted by in All, Italy, Sparkling Wine

Cheap and cheerful. Big fat bubbles, sweet tasting. Famous for being the bubbly in a Bellini. All these things are commonly said about everyone’s favourite Italian sparkler, prosecco. But that’s not the only kind of prosecco being produced. I had lunch earlier this week at Locanda Locatelli with the owner of Nino Franco Prosecco, Primo Franco. Prosecco is traditionally made from the glera grape, goes through a secondary fermentation using the charmant method (in tank rather then bottle) and comes from the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano regions of Northeastern Italy. Franco make their proseccos this way but do much more. They are one of the few producers to make single vintage and single vineyard proseccos. For them, it’s very important to show the “terroir” of the region. It’s so important to them that they left the appellation in 2009 so that they could make their prosecco without having adhere to the rules and regulations put down by the Italian government. They want to differentiate themselves from the regular ‘prosecco’ made by their neighbours. Besides being single vineyard and single vintage, the wine is left on the lees and goes through battonage, none of which is allowed by the AOC, to give them complexity and body. They also wait 2 to 3 years before they release their proseccos to the market. The results are wines with complexity and depth. Another characteristic that I noticed straight off were the tiny bubbles – not something usually associated with prosecco. During lunch, I asked Primo if he would still call his wines ‘prosecco’ or would he prefer them to be called sparkling wine? This brought on a rather lively debate of what IS prosecco. We decided in the end that they were prosecco but …”not as we know it.” We tried Nino Franco’s Rustico prosecco, the 2009 Grave di Stecca, single vineyard and vintage, and the Vigneto della Riva di San Floriano, single vineyard. The Rustico was a delicious aperitif, dry but with balanced fruit on the nose and...

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Bisol, Venissa and an obscure grape called dorona

Aug 12, 11 Bisol, Venissa and an obscure grape called dorona

Posted by in Italy

I was standing in the middle of Bisol’s vineyards in the heart of the Cartizze region of Valdobbiadene in Northern Italy with a glass of prosecco in hand when I spotted an odd, rusty looking chimney-like apparatus sticking straight up out of the earth at the end of the vineyard. Being The Winesleuth, I had to ask,”What is that? ” “It’s  a cannon to fire chemicals into the clouds, so we don’t get hail,” my guide, Consuelo informed me. While I was in Valdobbiadene, I did hear the cannon being fired off every afternoon. It might not be state of the art but it seemed to keep the hail away. Bisol have been making prosecco for hundreds of years and they’ve perfected the art of prosecco. An easy going, relaxed sparkling wine that is just as good with or without food, Bisol have a whole range of sparklers, from the cheerful Jeio to the seriously experimental NoSo2, Bisol seem to do it all. Standing in the middle of the vineyard, drinking the wine made from the vines surrounding me was a great experience but then again, it’s always a thrill to drink wine in the vineyards from which they came. I was drinking their Cartizze which is their top of the line wine and enjoying it immensely. Fruity, slightly off dry with lovely green apple, lemon and lime notes and, I’m not sure if it was because of the damp in the air that made the smells of the earth jump into my nose but there was a distinct mineral note coming from my glass. After sipping the Cartizze, we made our way to the winery where I sampled the NoSo2. The idea behind the NoSo2 is a wine that is made with no exposure to light or oxygen and thus can be produced and sent out without the use of sulfur. A very interesting wine, crisp and very dry, it’s not your grandma’s prosecco, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t call it a prosecco...

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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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Riccardo prosecco on a hot Sunday afternoon

Sometimes style does count over substance. I went to a new supper club not long ago and while the food was serviceable, it was really the setting and  atmosphere that bowled me over. It was the Old Hat Supper Club, a new one recently set up in Islington and I was there as a guest of Riccardo prosecco. Riccardo had invited me and a few of my foodie friends to sample their wares in a supper club setting. Riccardo prosecco is launching here in the UK and they thought it would be a rather novel idea to use a supper club, which are all the rage now here in London. They kindly donated the prosecco for our lunch.  We started off with a cocktail of prosecco di Valdobbiadene, strawberry and basil which while sweet also managed to be quite refreshing and as it was a hot summer afternoon, very much appreciated. That has to be one of the advantages of using prosecco, fizz without the exorbitant price tag and if you’re going to adulterate your wine, why use champagne when prosecco works just as well. We had a still prosecco or vino tranquilo as they call it, with the starter of stone oven baked sardines with tomatoes and herbs. I’ve only ever had still prosecco once before, but I do enjoy it. Although it is still, it does have a few lazy bubbles. Still prosecco is made from 100% prosecco grapes. Many people do not realize that prosecco is not only the name of the wine but also the grape. A lovely aperitif, apples and pears on the nose with a some flowery notes wafting about, on the palate, a lively wine with more of those great appley flavours, it washed down the sardines easily which were very… sardine-y. The main of pork belly and crackling was served with two proseccos, the vino spumante extra dry DOC Prosecco di Valdobbiadene and the Cartizze which is the top end of the Riccardo prosecco line. Prosecco di Valdobiadene comes...

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Strawberry Shortcake and Bisol (food and wine matching competition)

Way back in March or was it April, I went to the La Dolce Vita show which was a showcase for everything, (what else?)Italian and was introduced to the lovely folks from Bisol prosecco. I fell in love with their prosecco, light and lively, lovely little bubbles- the perfect aperitif. Niamh of eatlikeagirl blogging fame has joined forces with Bisol to present the Jeio prosecco in a food and wine matching competition. The idea is to tell them what you’re perfect match would be with their Jeio prosecco. 5 finalists will be chosen and invited down for a cook -off at  Bibendum’s Wine office HQ. The winner of the competition will be invited down to dine at the Chef’s Table at the foodies favourite haunt,  The Trinity Restaurant in Clapham Common South. I’ve eaten at Trinity and it is delicious. So much so that I’ve decided to enter the competition with my Bisquick Strawberry Shortcake recipe. Roberto of Bisol recommended fresh strawberries to me when I was at the Dolce Vita show. I went home and dipped the strawberries in prosecco –  bliss! So I went one step further and made this childhood favourite, made with my favourite, Bisquick! Here’s my entry: Ingredients: 4 cups sliced, ripe strawberries                            1/2 cup sugar                            2 1/2 cups Bisquick mix (available from Waitrose)                             1/2 cup milk                             3 tablespoons sugar                             3 tablespoons butter, melted                             1 quart of whipping cream                                                                                   2 vanilla pods                                                                                  2 tablespoons powdered sugar For the shortcake: Heat oven to 425 degrees F, in a medium bowl, stir together strawberries and 1/2 cup of sugar, set aside In another  medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter until soft dough forms. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop by 6 spoonfuls Meanwhile, take whipping cream, scrape vanilla pods and add to whipping cream, add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (or to taste) and whip until stiff. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Split warm shortcakes, layer bottom with strawberries and whipped cream,...

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