Taste with Villa Sandi at Vinitaly April 7-10

We look forward to seeing you at Vinitaly in Verona this year, April 7-10!

Please come and taste with us in Hall C, Stand E4.

Click here for more info.

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Prosecco producers concerned about Brexit as deadline looms

With just 10 days to go before the Brexit deal deadline arrives, it’s looking less and less likely that British lawmakers will agree on a plan exit the European Union with a new trade agreement in place (see this Politico article, posted today).

As a result, it’s not clear what’s going to happen for Italian winemakers once the March 29 deadline has passed. And it’s looking increasingly likely that imports of Italian wine will be blocked — at least in the short term.

According to an article published last week in The Drinks Business (“Is Prosecco Losing Its Sparkle?” by Lauren Eads), the United Kingdom is the largest market for Prosecco in the world, accounting for nearly one in two bottles of Prosecco shipped outside Italy (unfortunately, the article is available only to subscribers and has not yet appeared on the masthead’s website; we’ll publish a link as soon as it does and in the meantime, we highly encourage you to read it).

In 2018, England imported nearly 122 million bottles of Prosecco according to the author (her source is Coldiretti, the Italian Farming Confederation, which includes fine wine grape growers). Compare that with the roughly 69 million bottles imported to the United States.
Continue reading “Prosecco producers concerned about Brexit as deadline looms”

Villa Sandi and export director Flavio Geretto featured on Wine Meridian

Above (from left): Villa Sandi export manager Flavio Geretto with Folio Fine Wine Partners Italian specialists Daniele Sbordi and Vincent Trapozzano in New York at the recent Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting.

We just had to share the following post, published this week by wine writer Fabio Piccoli on the popular Wine Meridien website in Italy: “Villa Sandi, alle radici delle diverse anime del Prosecco” (“Villa Sandi and the Roots of Prosecco’s Different souls”).

It’s a great piece on the diversity of the Prosecco DOCG’s production zone and how Villa Sandi has become a leader in premium Prosecco production by making wines from a wide variety of Prosecco sub-zones — like Cartizze (the tip of the Prosecco “pyramid”) and Asolo, for example.

But the thing we liked the best about the article was its take on Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto (above, left), who, we agree, is one of the world’s leading experts on Prosecco and one of the most gifted tasters in the field.

“Flavio is of the most authoritative Prosecco ambassadors in the world and one of Prosecco’s true globetrotters,” wrote Piccoli. “Just follow him on Instagram and he’ll take you all over the world in a flash. Along the way, he’ll tell you the story of Italy’s great sparkling wines across the continents.”

While visiting the Villa Sandi estate, he recounts, “Flavio not only led us through the different categories of Prosecco produced by Villa Sandi but he also taught us about the different production areas where they are made. And most importantly, he helped us to understand that there is an incredible connection between production area and the character of the wines — something that is still not well known unfortunately” (italics ours).

Flavio will be returning to the U.S. later this year and he’ll be leading a series of Prosecco tastings for trade members. Stay tuned for details on his trip and tour! We’re confident that you won’t regret getting the opportunity to taste with him.

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Thank you to Folio Fine Wine Partners for their wonderful support

Before we get back to the business of blogging about Veneto culture and what makes Prosecco DOCG so great, we would like to to take a moment out to thank Folio Fine Wine Partners, our U.S. importer.

That’s the Tri-State Folio team, above, at the New York Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting last week (the event’s 30th anniversary).

At each one of the recent Gambero Rosso events in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (where Villa Sandi was pouring its Prosecco Cartizze Vigna la Rivetta DOCG, this year’s Tre Bicchieri winner), the Folio team was there helping to pour and interacting with wine buyers, restaurateurs, media, and consumers.

Whenever you travel to do “market work” or pour at trade and consumer tastings in the U.S., it’s so important to have support on the ground and to be accompanied by colleagues who “know the lay of the land” and all the key players in each city.

Throughout the tour, the Folio team was there and ready to pour and schmooze!

Founded by California legacy winemaker Michael Mondavi and his family, the Napa-based Folio Fine Wine Partners imports wines from six countries and three continents.

Across the board, the Folio team represents the brightest and the best in American wine professionals. And we couldn’t have been more happy or pleased to be accompanied and supported by such a wonderful group of top American wine professionals.

Their presence and help was key to the success of each event and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. We also had the opportunity to spend time with some of the sales managers and representatives after each tasting and we would also like to thanks for the extra time, after hours, that they were able and willing to devote to us.

It couldn’t have been a richer or more fruitful experience and we couldn’t have done it without them.

Thank you, Folio! We’ll look forward to seeing you in a few weeks in Verona at Vinitaly, the Italian wine industry’s annual trade tasting and fair.

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Thank you Gambero Rosso New York for 30 great years!

One of the most exciting things about pouring at this year’s Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting in New York City was that this year marked 30 years (!!!) since the very first Gambero Rosso event there.

When Gambero Rosso senior editor Marco Sabellico took the mic and addressed the already packed room just 30 minutes after the doors were opened and guests begin to file in, you could feel the emotion in the air as he remembered his first visit to New York with the guide.

It’s incredible to think how much perceptions of Italian wine have changed since that time.

Before the Italian food and wine renaissance began to take shape in the late 1990s, Americans scarcely knew Italian wines beyond Valpolicella, Soave, Chianti, and Salice Salentino.

Super Tuscans were just beginning to get the attention of a handful of top collectors and Prosecco was just making its first appearance on the horizon.

Today, Italian wine is firmly established as one of Americans’ favorite categories and their perceptions and interests span a wide spectrum of Italian native grape varieties and appellations.

The Gambero Rosso and its editors played such an important role in that evolution.

Thank you, Marco, and thank you, Gambero Rosso, for all you have done for Italian wine in the U.S.!

And thank you to all the members of the press and trade members who came out to taste with Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto, the Folio team, and our English-language blogger Jeremy Parzen.

It was a fantastic turnout and the brio in the air reflected the celebratory nature of the occasion.

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Villa Sandi pours Prosecco Cartizze La Rivetta at Gambero Rosso Chicago

Not only did tasters get the opportunity to taste Villa Sandi’s Prosecco Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta DOCG at yesterday’s Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting in Chicago, but they were also offered a complimentary glass of the estates Prosecco “Il Fresco” as they arrived at the venue.

And then, when they stepped on to the elevator that took them up to walk-around tasting, their eyes were treated to sweeping landscape photos of Venice and the Cartizze sub-zone of the Prosecco DOCG (above).

Presenting three wines from the winery, Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto and the estate’s English-language blogger Jeremy Parzen were joined by importer Folio’s regional team for the midwest.

More than 350 food and wine professionals and food and wine writers attended the packed event. And many of them commented on what an unexpected and welcomed surprise it was to be offered a glass of Prosecco as they arrived on a frigid Chicago afternoon.

Flavio and Jeremy are headed to New York today to pour and speak at the Gambero Rosso event there tomorrow. We hope to see you there!

Click here for event details and registration (still open).

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Villa Sandi Cartizze Vigna la Rivetta at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago (Torali Italian Steak)

In a city like Chicago, renowned for its steak and myriad classic steakhouses, it’s not easy to stand out from the crowded field of red meat venues.

But when you’re Italian, the whole equation changes.

One of the places we’re looking forward to experiencing when Villa Sandi visits the Windy City for the Gambero Rosso tasting next week (Wednesday, February 27; click here for details), is Torali Italian Steak, located on the twelfth floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel (above).

Torali has all the dry-aged cuts that you would expect from a top steakhouse in a city teeming with America’s best destinations for steak.

But it’s the pasta program that really takes it over the top.

Chef Gregory Elliiot’s menu, writes Chicago magazine, features “two fresh and two extruded varieties, all made in-house… classics with a twist, like spaghetti with one gigantic, seven-ounce meatball made with lamb, pork, veal, mortadella, and smoked pancetta.”

“’With Italian food, it’s all about respect for tradition,’ says Elliott. ‘Of course, I’m going to have my own interpretation of that, but I think it’s in keeping with those traditions.’”

Torali features Villa Sandi Prosecco Cartizze DOCG Vigna La Rivetta by the bottle on its truly spectacular wine list.

We can’t wait!

Torali
The Ritz-Carlton
160 E. Pearson St.
Chicago IL 60611
(312) 573-5160
Google map

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Image via the Torali Facebook.

Taste Villa Sandi at Gambero Rosso tastings with export director Flavio Geretto

Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto will be pouring the winery’s Tre Bicchieri (Three Glass) winner Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Vigna La Rivetta next week at the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tastings in Chicago (Wednesday, February 27) and New York (Friday, March 1).

Click here for event details and registration (still open).

Flavio, who grew up in Veneto not far from where Villa Sandi grows and makes its wines, is one of the industry’s leading experts on Prosecco production (and he’s also one of the nicest and most gregarious people working in the Italian wine business today).

He’ll be joined by our English-language blogger, Jeremy Parzen, author of the critically acclaimed blog Do Bianchi.

The two of them will be pouring and speaking about Villa Sandi’s wines and Prosecco in general. It’s sure to be a fascinating conversation.

We hope to see you next week in Chicago or New York!

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The Carnival of Venice begins tomorrow! What’s the origin of the name “carnevale”?

The Carnival of Venice begins tomorrow! Click here for more info on events and travel resources etc. The following is a piece by our blog master, Jeremy Parzen, a scholar of Italian literature specialized in the history of the Italian language. Enjoy!

No one knows the true origins of the Carnevale of Venice.

We do know that the festival began in the high middle ages, probably in the 1100s.

And it’s likely that its beginnings were related to ancient pagan traditions that called for a time of feasting when winter ended and the hard work of spring began.

Those same traditions later expressed themselves in Judeo-Chirstian rituals.

The Passover, for example, was a spring festival that can probably trace its roots to a pagan celebration of spring.

Easter is the Christian expression of that same tradition: Jesus’ Last Supper, it is widely believed, was a Passover seder.

The Carnevale always ends on Strove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

For Christians, Lent is a period when “something is given up,” a time when many devout Christians fast and in the case of practicing Catholics, they give up the consumption of meat.

For this reason, many believe that the name Carnevale is derived from or is a corruption of the Latin carnem levare, literally, the removing of flesh [meat], although no hard evidence exists to support this claim, however likely it may be.
Continue reading “The Carnival of Venice begins tomorrow! What’s the origin of the name “carnevale”?”

“Top-Class Prosecco.” Will Lyons (Times) recommends Villa Sandi for Valentine’s Day

“The trick to really enjoying Valentine’s Day: do it yourself,” writes Will Lyons for the London Sunday Times (February 10, 2019). “Stay in, tackle that ambitious recipe you’ve had your eye on since January and share a bottle of something special. There are plenty of options. I’m thinking of a gentle glass of Prosecco, produced in the shadow of Venice.”

“If there’s one night you can indulge in a top-class Prosecco, this is it. Villa Sandi [Prosecco DOCG Millesimato 2017], from grapes grown on hillsides in Veneto — an hour’s drive from the world’s most romantic city — is delicate and pale, with notes of acacia, white flowers and crunchy apples.”

Click here for fact sheet.

Click here for Lyons’ recommendations for Valentine’s Day 2019 (subscribers only).

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Carnevale: The famous Carnival of Venice, February 16-March 5

The annual Carnevale di Venezia (Carnival of Venice) takes place this year from February 16 through martedì grasso (Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras) on March 5.

CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE, including information on ticket sales, events, and travel tips.

The Carnevale di Venezia is an ancient tradition that stretches back to the Middle Ages when the city of Venice was first founded.

It always takes place over the two weeks (or so) that lead up to Lent. The last day is always the day before Ash Wednesday.

Some believe that its origins lie in a desire to indulge in food and drink before the “lean” days of Lent leading up to the Easter Holiday.

Others speculate that it was intended as a festival to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

Today, thousands of people descend on Venice during the gathering, many of them dressed in traditional commedia dell’arte masks and costumes as well as creative costumes.

Essentially, it’s a huge party that takes over the city: Tens of thousands of people will visit Venice during Carnevale and attend the countless parties and happenings that occur across town.

There are many official Carnevale events but some would contend that the best part of Carnevale is just wandering the streets enjoying the masks, costumes, and pageantry.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share a couple of posts about Carnevale, its history, and why it’s such a big part of Veneto culture.

And of course, the unofficial wine of Carnevale is Prosecco, a year-round favorite of the Venetians and the perfect wine to share during the revelry that takes place each year during the colorful festival.

Image via the official Facebook of the Carnevale di Venezia.

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Valdobbiadene: Origin and meaning of the name (the first in a series of posts on the history of Prosecco)

Above: The village of Valdobbiadene can trace its history back to the High Middle Ages.

One of the earliest mentions of the village of Valdobbiadene (VAL-doh-BEE’AH-deh-neh) can be found in the History of the Lombards (also know as the History of the Langobards or Historia Langobardorum), a work probably penned in Italy during the 8th century C.E.

Its author refers to the village as Duplavilis, a toponym (place name) believed to be derived from the ancient Latin name for the Piave River (Plavis), one of the defining geographic characteristics of the area (we’ll have much more to say about the Piave River and its importance in upcoming posts).

Although it’s not clear when exactly the name became Valdobbiadene, most philologists (language historians) agree that the modern-day toponym is a composite of vallis, meaning valley or vale in Latin, and the ancient Longobard name, Duplavilis. In other words, it can be translated as the valley of the Piave [River Basin].

The Longobards (also known as the Langobards or Lombards) were one of the ancient nordic peoples who migrated to northern Italy during and after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The Italian region of Lombardy, directly to the east of the Veneto region (where Valdobbiadene is located), gets its name from the Longobards.

Thanks so much for reading: This is just the first post in a series of posts on the history of Prosecco, the places where it is grown and produced, and the people who grow and bottle it.

I’ve provided a transliteration of the village name above. It’s a mouthful for most Americans! It’s incredible to think how this tiny village at the foot of the Dolomite Alps is home to one of the most famous and beloved wines in the world!

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