27 October 2008
By Douglas Blyde
PROSECCO CAPTURES the Italian mentality according to Gian Carlo, director of the Consorzio of 'Conegliano Valdobbiadene' - the better area of the wine's production.
The effervescent, fresh pear scented wine is at the centre of conviviality. It is a grazing drink and the quintessential apéritif, long before the idea of an apéritif was even fashionable. Taken with 'cichetti' (little open sandwiches) it is a ritualistic staple taken in a tall beady flute at Venetian bars as well as a refreshing 'pick me up' in after work haunts rather closer to home…
It was also, before I attended a revealing, comprehensive tasting of hundreds of examples at Pall Mall, a frankly frivolous wine which I snobbishly avoided at all costs. Something which smelt of hairspray and tasted of Alka-Seltzer. Gian Carlo explained that I had most likely been drinking outside of his very rigorously policed, hilly, hand-tended region. This was the equivalent if you like of comparing the melted white plastic on pizzas produced in Germany to drippingly fresh buffalo Mozzarella from Campania.
In these nervy times, whilst easier to swallow than to pronounce, a good example of wine made between the Veneto towns of Connegliano and Valdobbiadene offers easy value. And aside from those tasty sounding Venetian morsels, it also works with moist, griddled white fish, ginger and Asian dishes in general. Because of a light alcohol content, it won't infuriate and exaggerate the heat of diced chillies.
More Wine Words and Tabletop Adventures - intoxicatingprose.co.uk
PROSECCO, THE LOWDOWN:
PROSECCO IS the name of the grape, rather than the region. It is the main component of the white peach nectar infused Bellini, devised at Harry's Bar, Venice, in the 1930s.
Last year, U.S. socialite Paris Hilton flamboyantly endorsed 'Rich Prosecco', a canned version of the drink (albeit from outside the quality area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene)
"Despite such extravagant exposure, U.K. imports have steadily increased - by about a quarter in fact - since the searing summer of 2003.
The finest Prosecco comes from the legendary 'Cartizze hill', which is equivalent to Grand Cru or 'great growth' status.
A flute of Prosecco contains approximately 95 calories.\
ONE OF my favourite wines from the tasting comes from family firm, Bisol, who claim to have produced Prosecco since 1542. Their 'Brut Jeio' is lusciously aromatic with almonds, pears, peaches and honeysuckle notes.
Recently after a long day, I thawed from tiredness with a glass at 'Obiká', a chic mozzarella bar off Northumberland Avenue (near Charing Cross). They fly in fresh batches of the soft white cheese globes no fewer than three times per week! (T. 020 3002 7400)
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