We’ve had a year. Like most of you, my patience has been tested. Though I am a certified yoga instructor with a background in meditation, my daily practice was strained in 2020. During meditation, I often focused on my worries, rather than following the reliable methods that I’ve come to fit into my life.
I say this because the holidays are not shaping up the way most of us wanted. When it comes to disappointment, have the collective odds ever been higher? And yet still we are able to connect to traditions, mindfulness, and even indulgence to remind us of something: as wine lovers, we’ve found access to something that we can enjoy and learn from, no matter the circumstances.
Sparkling wine offers such sensual texture. Not only can one taste and smell the experience, but one can feel and hear it too. Alive in the glass, sparkling wines add dynamism and dimension. While bubbles are produced in many places around the world, the landscape for this product reaches a pinnacle of diversity in Italy.
Rather than focus on one category of these wines, I’ve chosen to reflect mindfully, a focused mediation on my good fortune, on some of the bottles that have crossed my doorstep this year. (And others that I dream about!) Wines that bring with them the makers, the terroirs, the biodiversity, the traditions and cultures of the places from which they came. A virtual trip, for our purposes today, isn’t one where we are shown images and voices on a screen, but rather a trip we feel in our hearts through mindfulness, through awareness. Here’s what I have to share.
Stability. It was a year of great Prosecco, in our house, highlighted by a conversation with Gianluca Bisol, the 21st generation at Bisol in the Veneto. The winery organically cultivates 21 plots in the highest hills of the Prosecco region, including the renowned Cartizze hill. Bisol says that here grapes can gain a longer hangtime than other nearby vineyards, packing more flavor into their delicate skins. “This is the best natural cocktail in the world,” insists Bisol. “A cocktail of flavors, creamy and acidic, such layers of fruits.” Try Bisol Cartizze Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartizze DOCG to experience this stunning combination and see for yourself.
The Consorzio of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore has excellent resources about discovering the classification. Alpana Singh MS calls this a region of “heroic harvesting and skilled labor” and “the absolute protagonist of the Glera grape.” She reminds us that this type of sparkling wine “is not just the inexpensive wine for when you don’t want Champagne,” but rather a “legacy of history, terroir, small production and family.” Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is a union of 3,000 growers, and 40% of the workforce is comprised of women. Try Tenuta degli Ultimi, Biancariva, Rive di Collalto for an excellent expression.
Sparkling wine bonus on Forbes: The Field Guide to Italian Sparkling Wine
Fun. I felt an honest sense of playfulness, getting to know Mionetto Prosecco, particularly through the eyes of Enore Ceola, chief executive officer at Freixenet Mionetto USA. Ceola urges consumers to look for the strip stamp that identifies a bottle of Prosecco, differentiating it from other bubbly on the shelf. “Prosecco is nice, fruity, crisp, and elegant,” describes Ceola.” For a treat try, Mionetto Prosecco DOC Organic Extra Dry which, as the name suggests, is made sustainably. “There is very little help in the vineyard,” says Ceola. “The sugar and yeast are organic and label and glass are recycled.”
Prosecco bonus on Forbes. Col Fondo: This Frizzante, Bottle-Fermented Prosecco Is Curiously Delicious
Thoughtful. If there’s one Italian bubbly that sparks intellectual conversation right now, it is Lambrusco. The headline recently was always something like: Lambrusco, it’s not what you think. I find, however, that many consumers and critics have already “re”discovered Lambrusco for what it can be today and that the story has moved into a space of depth and interest. I had the opportunity to cover Lambrusco from two perspectives recently, and I’ll link those stories here:
Lambrusco bonus on L’Occasion: La Collina Biodynamic Bubbles—Lambrusco!
Lambrusco bonus on Forbes: The New Generation of Lambrusco
Exciting. There is an Italian wine region that I’ve long wanted to visit. A spot so filled with intrigue that I feel elevated just dreaming about it. Perched in the Italy’s Dolomites is Trentino is the fascinating the Trentodoc region. This spot is home to metodo classico sparkling wine of the highest quality, hand-harvested passion that translates to excellent taste. According to a statement from the region’s representatives, “70% of the land is situated above an altitude of 1,000 meters, 20% above 2,000 meters, with 94 peaks exceeding 3,000 meters.” They say their vineyard parcels are “stolen” from the mountains, due to their unlikely conditions. I have a bottle of Rotari Brut Rosé Trentodoc that stands out in my memories. A bright, delicious wine that brought escapism and delight to some long days late this summer.
Anticipation. Next week I get to taste something tempting: Franciacorta with caviar thanks to with Ca’del Bosco and Italy’s Calvisius Caviar. Though I haven’t had this experience yet, I have high expectations because of my previous experience with the wines of Franciacorta. Located in Lombardia, Franciacorta is Italy’s first sparkling DOCG, produced in the metodo classico. The wines, made of Chardonnay and Pinot Nero, have a reputation for finesse and refinement—the best of them are said to rival the world’s greatest bubblies.
Friendly. I’ve come to know Fattoria Di Montemaggio in Italy’s Chianti region from several aspects. I interviewed the winery’s founder, Valeria Zavadnikova in piece here on L’Occasion in 2018, Live Like A Winemaker: 5 Lessons in Authenticity. Then earlier this year, I connected again with Valeria to write about her new project, vineyard-based skin care, in my Forbes piece How Fattoria Di Montemaggio, Chianti Wine Estate, Diversified In 2020. I’ve been blessed to have tasted Montemaggio’s Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva, but I’ve not tasted the Brut Cuvée, Cielo di Montemaggio IGT made from Chardonnay. I hope to one day, because I feel so welcome at Montemaggio, though I’ve never been there in person!
Italian Food, Wine and Travel
Holy Moly. This group really rolled out the red carpet for the holidays this year. So much good drinking that it makes me think we need to start celebrating now and maybe we just don’t stop.
Check out the conversation on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 10am central. Find us on Twitter with the hashtag #ItalianFWT. Pop in and say ciao, ask a question, or share your experiences with sparkling wine from Italy. I mean seriously, check out all. this. good. stuff.
- Terri of Our Good Life says Beviamo alla nostra! Prosecco Superiore and Happy Christmas!
- Marcia of Joy of Wine is Celebrating the Season with sparkling Freisa.
- Cindy of Grape Experiences writes about Pure Trentodoc – Sparkling Wines from the Mountains.
- Here on L’Ocsasion we will Be in Italy for the Holidays with This Bubbly Wine Lineup.
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator pushes Beyond Prosecco? Try These Sustainable Sparkling Wines from Italy’s Erbaluce, Franciacorta, Lambrusco, Pignoletto.
- Lynn of Savor the Harvest gives us Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco to Make Your Holiday Sparkle – La Tordera Rive Di Guia.
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm says Cheers to 2021…2020 Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out.
- Susannah of Avvinare pours Versatile Lambrusco for the Holidays.
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen serves Val D’Oca Prosecco Paired with Party Starters.
- Payal of Keep the Peas offers A ‘SeeYaNever2020’ Toast with Italian Bubbly.
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass says Hello Again, Lambrusco – Everyone Deserves a Second Chance.
- Jane of Always Ravenous pairs a Frizzante with Holiday Sweet Treats.
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles pours Prosecco – Joyful Bubbles to “Wring” Out 2020.
- Jen of Vino Travels is ready to Sparkle up the Holidays with Italian Prosecco.
- Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog offers A Taste of 21st Century Lambrusco; Paltrinieri Lambrusco di Sorbara Radice.
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is Celebrating with Prosecco Superiore Amidst the Pandemic.