For your holiday consideration: Single-vineyard Prosecco DOCG Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are right around the corner and many of you will be shopping for wines to served to your guests and loved ones.

If ever there were a time of year when you want to reach for the “very best,” it’s now. The winter holidays are meant for enjoying the best things in life. And when it comes to Prosecco DOCG, there’s no wine that reaches higher than Prosecco DOCG Cartizze — the top sub-zone for Prosecco DOCG wines.

And in the case of Villa Sandi’s Prosecco DOCG Cartizze, the wines are made quite literally from a top growing zone within the top growing zone.

As the name Prosecco Superiore DOCG Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta reveals (“La Rivetta Vineyard”), the Glera rows used to make this extraordinary wine are situated on the ridge of a “bank” (riva means bank as in river bank or the top of a slope; rivetta, the diminutive, can be translated as the little bank).

The fruit for this 100 percent Glera wine are sourced from a small ridge at the top of a slope in the heart of the Cartizze sub-zone. The slope is so steep and the parcel so isolated that all the work done there — from pruning in the winter to canopy management in the summer and harvest in the fall — has to be done by hand.

Cartizze was designated the top growing area for Prosecco DOCG because it’s steep slopes and windy hilltops offer the grower the ideal conditions for preserving the fresh aromas and flavors of the grapes: The incline of the slopes give the vines nearly perfect exposure to the sun; and the layout of the land, with the steep peaks and low min-valleys between the hills, helps to aerate and dry the vines, thus avoiding the mildew that can affect other parts of the Prosecco DOCG. The slopes also give the vines excellent drainage, making them work harder to find the water table and as a result, helping them to produce more richly flavored fruit.

So when you’re looking for the “best” Prosecco DOCG to serve this holiday season, look no further than Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta (available on in certain U.S. markets).

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Wishing you a Prosecco DOCG holiday! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thanksgiving in southeast Texas.

This week, across the United States, American families — from the coasts to the southeast to the midwest — will be sharing Prosecco DOCG for their Thanksgiving holiday feast.

And so will we here in southeast Texas along the Louisiana border (although we live in Houston, we travel about an hour and half to Orange, Texas, to celebrate the holiday with my wife Tracie’s family).

From the deviled eggs and fried boudin balls that are served as appetizers at my family’s Thanksgiving feast (just to get things started on a lighter note) to the smoked turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, green beans, spiral ham, and seven-layer salad, Prosecco DOCG is a wonderful pairing that marries well with literally everything on the Thanksgiving table. And don’t get me started about the pies: Pumpkin, chocolate, pecan… I can’t think of another wine that would fit the bill like Prosecco DOCG.

A generation ago, no one even knew what Prosecco was in this country. I can still remember when I tasted my first Prosecco during my junior year abroad at the University of Padua while an undergraduate at U.C.L.A. The year was 1988 and my friends had taken me for a drive up to Valdobbiadene to eat tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms. The wine they served? Prosecco, of course!

Back then, the Prosecco DOCG didn’t exist. There was just Prosecco DOC (the DOCG was rolled out in 2009). But the wine was a revelation nonetheless.

Today, more than three decades later, Prosecco DOCG is ubiquitous in this country. It’s a wine that will be served in every corner of the nation, including our roughly 20-person Thanksgiving feast along the Gulf Coast.

Red, white, and bubbly: Today, Prosecco DOCG is part of the fabric — culinary and otherwise — of our America.

It’s one of Italy’s gifts to our country, a gift that any and all, from all walks of life, can share and enjoy in good company.

And it’s something to be grateful for this year on Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And thanks for being here and following along. Happy holidays. We’ll see you next week.

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Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG featured at prestigious Champagne Challenge in Los Angeles

Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG was featured last Saturday (November 16) at the prestigious Champagne Challenge in Los Angeles.

The yearly event is not a competition per se. But the sold-out blind tasting allows guests to taste a number of sparkling wines side-by-side.

Prosecco DOCG and Champagne are completely different appellations that produce radically different wines.

But more and more, consumers and wine professionals alike are discovering that Prosecco DOCG, when well made, can deliver depth, nuance, and quality that rivals that of its transalpine counterparts.

30 years ago, no one knew what Prosecco was in the U.S. and it’s important to note that the Prosecco DOCG — DOCG is the top category in the Italian DOC system — wasn’t created until 2009.

Today, sales of Prosecco DOCG surpass sales of other sparkling wines in the U.S. (in terms of volume).

It’s all part of the new wave of Prosecco in North America and an indication of the quality of the wines and the way they are perceived and embraced by Americans.

We couldn’t have been more proud to be included in this unique and truly original tasting!

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Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG in sunny Santa Barbara by the sea at Oppi’z

Above: A classic Italian seafood salad is just as at home in Santa Barbara, California as it would be in Naples or Venice, Italy!

“Guido Oppizzi immigrated to America from Italy only three years ago, bringing a deep love for traditional cooking from his homeland,” writes Rebecca Horigan for the Santa Barbara weekly Santa Barbara Independent.

Oppizzi, who hails from Pavia, Italy, told the writer that his new Santa Barbara restaurant Oppi’z “is much more modern and unconventional cuisine, but still deeply rooted in the Italian culture. “Everything should be fresh and light. I really do not want to have food processed.”

His new restaurant is one of the seaside city’s most talked about and it features the flavors of Italy reinterpreted in a California key, like the seafood salad featured above (image via the Oppi’z Facebook).

For his new restaurant, he writes on his website, he “has reinterpreted the traditional concept of the pizzeria by designing a unique menu with a great novel variety of gourmet pizzas and a selection of fresh, light and healthy dishes.”

Click here for his amazing menu and his all-Italian wine list, including Villa Sandi, served by-the-glass and bottle.

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this amazing new restaurant and wine program!

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Villa Sandi, producer of Prosecco DOCG, named “post-war business leader” by Veneto Chamber of Commerce

Above: The Palladian “Villa Sandi” which sits at the center of the estate’s grounds and serves as its symbol.

Earlier this month, Villa Sandi and its owner Giancarlo Moretti Polegato were named a “post-war business leader” by the Veneto Chamber of Commerce.

According to a statement issued by the chamber, the estate, a producer of Prosecco DOCG, was chosen because of its role in rebuilding the Veneto region’s economy in the post-war era.

Today, Veneto is one of Italy’s most prosperous regions. But in the years following the Second World War, it faced extreme challenges in restoring its economy and infrastructure. Because of its location and geography, some of the war’s fiercest battles were fought there. In the aftermath of the conflict, the population was subject to widespread shortages and economic hurdles.

“Villa Sandi has always worked to protect the environment in everything it does,” wrote the authors of the chamber’s statement, “from vineyard to the wine shop shelf. Part of the electricity consumed by Villa Sandi has always been generated by a hydroelectric power plant located on the grounds of the estate. The winery took another important step to protect the environment when it installed solar panels during the summer of 2012, still in use today. Villa Sandi works in close collaboration with the Conegliano Institute for Experimental Viticulture (part of the Padua University system) to monitor all phases of the vine’s vegetative cycle.”

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Taste Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG in London

Villa Sandi will be pouring its wines at the following events in London this month.

Bellavita Expo
November 7-8

Waitrose Drinks Festival
November 15-17

Click links above for details and registration info

Don’t miss this opportunity to taste with Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG ambassadors, including Diva Moretti Polegato, the fourth generation of the Villa Sandi family!

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Gambero Rosso in Tokyo with Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG, winner of 10 Tre Bicchieri prizes

Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG, winner of 10 consecutive Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri awards, traveled to Japan last week for the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Tasting and top restaurant awards.

That’s Villa Sandi international export director Flavio Geretto (center) with Gambero Rosso senior editor Marco Sabellico to the left in the photo.

Flavio was there to lead a master class on Prosecco and why it’s become an international phenomenon.

“No other Italian wine event has such a restrictive selection filter,” write the editors of the Gambero Rosso guide, “a guarantee of absolute quality. Thanks to the extraordinary interest that Japanese consumers show in quality Italian wine, the Guida Vini d’Italia has been translated into Japanese since 2013, joining editions in Chinese, English and German. Tokyo is one of the world’s cities that has shown the most marked interest in Italian food and wine. That sensibility is encouraged by excellent local Italian restaurants. Together with San Francisco and Copenhagen, Tokyo displays the best Italian food scene around the globe according to the Gambero Rosso Top Italian Restaurants guide.”

Photo thanks to Hiro Nagashima.

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Taste Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG this weekend and next week in London!

Taste Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG this weekend, November 2-3, at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter at the Landmark Hotel and Wednesday, November 6, at the SquareMeal Food and Wine Tasting at The Honourable Artillery Company in London.

Click links above for event details and registration.

Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG brand ambassador Diva Polegato Moretti, daughter of owner Giancarlo Polegato Moretti, will be on hand to pour and talk about her family’s wines at both gatherings.

Don’t miss this opportunity to taste Italy’s favorite Prosecco!

Image via the Landmark Hotel website.

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Prosecco DOCG for Thanksgiving!

It’s that time of the year again when wine writers across the United States will begin posting and publishing their “Thanksgiving wine recommendations.”

And inevitably, many of them will start their posts with apologetic admissions that Thanksgiving wine pairings are almost impossible to make. That’s because of two major reasons.

1) The classic all-American Thanksgiving feast includes a wide variety of dishes, disparate in flavor. As a result, there’s no “one wine” that goes well with everything on the table.

2) The Thanksgiving gathering is traditionally a family affair where you have all kinds of different people, with different palates and tastes, seated for the same meal. Not everyone likes the same style of wine. For some of your guests, it’s the only time of year that they actually drink wine!

And here’s where Prosecco DOCG comes in. There are a number of reasons why it works well with the Thanksgiving meal.

1) It’s immensely versatile at the table and superbly food-friendly. It will pair well with a lot of the dishes in the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

2) It’s both a crowd-pleaser that inexperienced wine drinkers can enjoy and a classic Italian wine that wine lovers will like. (This is one of the reasons it’s best to go with Prosecco DOCG for Thanksgiving because it represents the highest tier of quality in the appellation.)

3) It’s low in alcohol and so guests don’t need to be shy about having more than one glass.

4) It’s one of the sparkling wine world’s most value-driven appellations. This is important when you’re serving wine to a large group.

5) It’s the ultimate celebration wine. Its sparkle is an essential element in any holiday party.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends! In coming weeks, we’ll share more serving and pairing suggestions here on the blog.

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Prosecco DOCG, the classic “small plates” wine of Venice

If you’ve ever spent any time in Venice, you’ve probably spent some time in a bacaro (BAH-kah-roh) or cicchetteria (chee-keht-teh-REE-ah).

The nearly interchangeable terms refer to the classic Venetian wine bar where small plates are served — a favorite way for Venetians to dine.

No one really knows where the word bacaro comes from. Some people believe it might be derived from Bacchus (Bacco in Italian).

The term cicchetteria comes from the Venetian dialectal word cicheti (sing. cicheto) meaning small plates (or small bites or snacks), from the French chiqueter meaning to chop or mince.

In Venice, the number-one wine you’ll find in a bacaro or cicchetteria is Prosecco DOCG.

We’ve written before about how Prosecco is the ultimate seafood wine.

It’s part of the reason why Prosecco DOCG is the (semi-)official wine of Venice.

But when it comes to small plates, there could be no better wine to pour.

Small plates tend to be on the saltier side (like those anchovies above) and Prosecco, with its freshness and mineral flavor, is an ideal match because it mirror the flavors of small plates.

Prosecco always has restrained alcohol content and that’s perfect when you’re eating a lot of different kinds of salty foods.

And aside from a charbroiled steak, Prosecco goes great with nearly anything, making it a wonderful wine to share with friends in a small plates restaurant.

The next time you visit your favorite small plates restaurant, try a bottle of Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG for the pairing. You’ll thank us!

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Prosecco DOCG harvest 2019 comes to an end

The Prosecco DOCG harvest 2019 came to an end last week.

Those are some of the very last bunches to be picked in the photo above. All of the fruit is picked by hand and is then placed whole into plastic crates.

The fruit is on its way to the winery where it will be immediately pressed. The grape must (the “juice”) will then be transferred to temperature-controlled vats where it will be chilled to ensure it doesn’t start fermenting until the desired moment.

Villa Sandi is one of just a handful of Prosecco DOCG producers who use this method. It’s much more expensive than conventional methods. But the winemaker at Villa Sandi, Stefano Gava, feels that it’s only way to achieve the level of quality he’s striving for.

It’s they key element in the Villa Sandi approach to the production of Prosecco DOCG because it ensures the maximum freshness of the wine.

And freshness, Stefano often says when he is leading guided tastings of Villa Sandi’s wines, is the whole secret to a great Prosecco DOCG.

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La Cucina Italiana launches in NYC and Prosecco DOCG is there!

Italy’s most celebrated food magazine, the historic La Cucina Italiana launched its new English-language edition this week at Eataly in New York.

And when you pick up your copy of the new magazine, you’ll find an ad from Villa Sandi featuring the Prosecco DOCG appellation. We wanted to support the new publication because it remains the number-one resource in the world for all things related to Italian food and wine.

Founded in the 1920s by a group of leading Italian intellectuals and literary figures, the magazine was initially conceived as a sort of “encyclopedia” of Italian gastronomy. Over the years, and still today, it is an iconic fixture in Italians’ homes: You’ll often see them neatly lined up on a book shelf, sometimes stretching back decades, the same way Americans proudly display their collections of National Geographic.

Long before English-language food and wine writing and food and wine television became popular across the world, La Cucina Italiana (meaning literally Italian cuisine set the standard for what food media could be.

Of course, part of what made and still makes the magazine so special is the subject matter!

We couldn’t be more thrilled that La Cucina Italiana has launched in the U.S. and we are proud to support this new and noble endeavor.

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