Veneto, Italy, SPARKLING, WINE

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In Italy's northeast, Veneto straddles the figurative line between the culturally Germanic north and the Roman center and south of the country. It ranks behind Italy's other major wine regions in terms of both geographic area and importance, yet it supercedes them all in terms of production levels. Throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century, Veneto has quietly but steadily ramped up its standards of quality, and with that has come an increase in prestige among aficionados and collectors.

The main driver of this qualitative advance has been the Valpolicella sub-region, which offers an array of red wine styles to please just about any palate. While standard Valpolicella DOC wines tend toward the lighter side, as fruity, everyday drinkers, quality conscious winemakers have begun using a variety of methods in the cellar which gave rise to the various stylistic terms now found on many of the region's labels. More selective site sourcing of fruit and restricted yields have helped differentiate Valpolicella Classico from the less geographically distinct, mass production areas of the region. The ripasso and passito winemaking methods have also lent sophistication to the basic blueprint of the wines. The latter of the two is the foundation for the region's greatest wines, those of the Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG. This designation requires the grapes to be dried before pressing, in order to concentrate the sugars, tannins, and phenolics. The results are worlds apart from basic Valpolicella, with heady, dense, almost sweet profiles and the structure to age gracefully for many years. The Valpolicello Ripasso DOCG denotes wines that have undergone a second fermentation in contact with used passito skins, which creates, in effect, a lighter, more approachable Amarone style of wine. Quality can still vary, but in a general sense, these styles have seen nothing but steady improvement over the past two decades or so.

The Veneto is also home to significant white grape cultivation, and the most famous style is arguably the world's most popular sparkling wine for volume consumption. Prosecco was once a catch-all term used liberally all over Italy, but since 2009 the name has been protected by DOC regulations and quality has consequently risen. Three DOCG sub-zones of Prosecco are now recognized, the finest of which, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, produces attractive, refreshing spumante and frizzante wines that offer great enjoyment for the price. Still white wine production in the Veneto is highlighted by the wines of Soave, made from the Garganega grape and perhaps Italy's most famous white wine DOC. As with red Chianti, production volume was such that in order to differentiate quality levels, separate DOCGs were formed with Superiore and Classico representing the apex and middle tiers, respectively.

Veneto has had its fair share of hurdles to overcome, notably indigenous varietals that require some degree of technical manipulation in the cellar, as well as broadly general geographic designations that require tightening. But the region is here to stay, and its recent track record suggests that there are only better things to come down the road.

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90 points Wine & Spirits: There's a hint of complexity in the interplay between this wine's gentle sweetness and crisp acidity, like biting into a freshly picked ripe pear. It's lean and focused, a match for warm goat cheese on crostini. ...
W&S 90
RP 89
WE 88
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Sorelle Bronca Prosecco Extra Dry NV  (#300548)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Prosecco DOCG, Veneto, Italy

90 points Wine & Spirits: There's a hint of complexity in the interplay between this wine's gentle sweetness and crisp acidity, like biting into a freshly picked ripe pear. It's lean and focused, a match for warm goat cheese on crostini.

750ml Bottle | In stock, 10 available
W&S 90
RP 89
WE 88
$16.95
$19.00
Save $2.05 (11%)19.00
Save $2.05 (11%)
88 points Wine & Spirits: A crisp Prosecco with scents of almonds and rising bread dough, this feels luscious on the palate. Its rich marzipan sweetness cleans up in a tart green apple finish, balanced for aperitifs. (Aug 2014) ...
W&S 88
WE 87
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La Marca Extra Dry Prosecco di Conegliano NV  (#307602)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Prosecco DOCG, Veneto, Italy

88 points Wine & Spirits: A crisp Prosecco with scents of almonds and rising bread dough, this feels luscious on the palate. Its rich marzipan sweetness cleans up in a tart green apple finish, balanced for aperitifs. (Aug 2014)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$14.95
$17.00
Save $2.05 (12%)17.00
Save $2.05 (12%)
Bele Casel is a small, artisanal winery which makes its Prosecco with fruit grown in the subdistricts of Santo Stefano and Sacol, largely considered the best source of Prosecco in the Valdobbiadene region. 87 points Fine Wine Review: ...this is the closest I have come to the holy grail. This wine is… ...
FWR 87
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Bele Casel Prosecco NV  (#101814)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Prosecco DOCG, Veneto, Italy

Bele Casel is a small, artisanal winery which makes its Prosecco with fruit grown in the subdistricts of Santo Stefano and Sacol, largely considered the best source of Prosecco in the Valdobbiadene region. 87 points Fine Wine Review: ...this is the…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 8 available
90+ points Ian D'Agata (Vinous): Bright pale straw. Green apples, pears and freshly cut flowers on the nose and palate, with complicating hints of powdered stone and ginger. Offers beautiful balance and a soft fruity mouth-feel while remaining energetic and focused on the long and creamy finish.… ...
V 90
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Jeio (Bisol) Prosecco Superiore Brut DOCG Valdobiadene NV  (#333490)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Prosecco DOCG, Veneto, Italy

90+ points Ian D'Agata (Vinous): Bright pale straw. Green apples, pears and freshly cut flowers on the nose and palate, with complicating hints of powdered stone and ginger. Offers beautiful balance and a soft fruity mouth-feel while remaining…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
90 points and 'Top 100 Wine of 2007 (#75)' Wine Spectator: A delicate, well-balanced Prosecco, showing a good blend of baked apple, sour lemon and grapefruit, with a lightly creamy mineral texture on the palate. Medium froth, with some body and a pleasant lemon and mineral finish. Best Values. (4/30… ...
WS 90
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La Marca Extra Dry Prosecco di Conegliano NV  (#319640)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Prosecco DOCG, Veneto, Italy

90 points and 'Top 100 Wine of 2007 (#75)' Wine Spectator: A delicate, well-balanced Prosecco, showing a good blend of baked apple, sour lemon and grapefruit, with a lightly creamy mineral texture on the palate. Medium froth, with some body and a…

187ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
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