A wonderful article on Cartizze and tasting note from Seven Fifty Daily, a leading American wine blog

Seven Fifty Daily has rapidly become one of the most widely read and influential blogs in the wine world today. The caliber of the writing and reporting — across the board — is superb. We were thrilled to see this excellent feature article on Cartizze, including an interview with Villa Sandi winemaker Stefano Gava and the following tasting note for Villa Sandi’s single-vineyard designate from Cartizze, Vigna La Rivetta. Great wine writing by Bryce Wiatrak, who also writes regularly for Guild Somm. This piece is a fantastic overview of Cartizze and its role and importance in Prosecco. We highly recommend it to you.

Villa Sandi Superiore di Cartizze Valdobbiadene Vigna La Rivetta Brut

Villa Sandi’s 17th-century Palladian estate is one of the greatest architectural marvels in Prosecco territory. Today, along with the winery on the same grounds, it is owned by the Moretti Polegato family. While Villa Sandi has long made a more traditional Cartizze with purchased fruit, the estate now offers a second expression made with grapes from a parcel acquired in 2007, located mid-slope on the boundary between Cartizze Alto and the lower zones. The first brut in the category, according to the winery (although still via the Charmat method), the drier style also offers a new palette of flavors, marrying more typical notes of banana and vanilla blossom with herbaceous tones—sage, mint, and chamomile. The wine finishes long, with stony precision.

Bryce Wiatrak

Read the complete article here.


Grape Collective features Villa Sandi winemaker Stefano Gava

Above: Grape Collective founder and editor-in-chief Christopher Barnes interviews Villa Sandi winemaker Stefano Gava at Vinitaly. Grape Collective is one of the leading online wine magazines in the U.S.

“Located in the hills of the Marca Trevigiana,” writes Grape Collective editor-in-chief Christopher Barnes, “Villa Sandi is centered around a Palladian style villa dating back to 1622. Owned by the Moretti Polegato family, Villa Sandi farms vineyards in some of the best parts of the Prosecco DOCG. Their estate includes parcels in the Cartizze vineyards, generally described as the ‘Grand Cru’ of Prosecco due the exposure and steep slopes.”

His profile of Villa Sandi and interview with the estate’s winemaker Stefano Gava (“Understanding Prosecco: Interview with Winemaker Stefano Gava of Villa Sandi”) is currently featured on the site’s landing page.

Click here for the complete interview.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled to welcome Christopher — a great guy and a leading figure in the U.S. wine community — at our stand at Vinitaly in Verona this year.


Prosecco DOCG pairings: Baccalà alla vicentina (Vicenza-style dried cod), a Veneto classic

Some find it ironic that one of the most famous dishes of Veneto cuisine and one of the Veneto region’s most popular does not come from Veneto at all. In fact, the cod used to make baccalà (salt cod or stock fish, another name for the salt-cured fish) comes from the icy waters of the northern seas.

Historically, baccalà first reached Veneto dinner tables from Norway during the Venetian Renaissance (in the 1400s and 1500s). You’ll find a detailed and compelling chronicle and history of the dish in food historian Mark Kurlansky’s excellent book, simply entitled Cod. It’s a great read and we highly recommend it.

One of the reasons that baccalà became so popular was that it solved a fundamental culinary problem: During the Renaissance, the Catholic calendar called for countless Lenten days or fast days when Christians were not allowed to eat meat, eggs, or dairy products. This tradition still endures among Italian Catholics who don’t eat meat on Fridays, for example.

Because baccalà was so easy to transport (because of its light weight) and because it was so easy to store (the salt acts as a natural preservative that makes it last seemingly indefinitely), it was the ideal food stock to have around for all those Lenten days. Salt was also a valuable commodity at the time, which made baccalà an attractive investment for Venetian merchants.

Today, for example, when you travel to the Veneto for wine and food tourism, you’ll find dishes like baccalà alla vicentina, stock fish soaked for days to purge its salt and then stewed with milk and potatoes until flaky and tender and then served over grilled white polenta. Vicenza, the city that gives the dish its name, isn’t located on the sea, yet its most famous dish comes from the sea.

It’s a CLASSIC pairing for Prosecco DOCG.


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.


Matteo Furlan named England’s “Best Sommelier”

Earlier this month, London-based sommelier Matteo Furlan, head sommelier at the five-star Ritz Hotel in Mayfair, took home the coveted title of “Best Sommelier UK 2019.”

That’s Matteo (above, right) with Villa Sandi ambassador Diva Moretti Polegato who presented him with the award.

The competition, which was organized by the UK Sommelier Association and sponsored by Villa Sandi, also featured a Prosecco DOCG and Cartizze Master Class led by Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto and winemaker Stefano Gava who had traveled to London especially for the event with Diva (daughter of Villa Sandi owner Giancarlo Moretti Polegato).

The event was attended by Britain’s top sommeliers and wine professionals. And the result was all the more special because Matteo comes the town of Portogruaro in Friuli, a stone’s through from the newest addition to the Villa Sandi family of wineries, Borgo Conventi, one of the region’s most esteemed estates.

In order to clinch the title, Matteo had to complete a grueling series of tasks.

“In 30 minutes each contestant had to perform seven tasks,” wrote Peter Dean for the popular trade magazine The Buyer.

“Blind tasting 3 wines and giving in-depth commentary about them and how they would serve/ pair them, serving a bottle of premium Prosecco and giving a cocktail suggestion (the sparkling was Villa Sandi naturally), taking a wine order and suggesting matches for a set menu, decanting a bottle of Lynch Bages 1985, blind tasting three spirits, analyzing a complex wine list and identifying a winemaker and a label.”

No small feat!

Congratulations, Matteo, on your win and new title!


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!


Where to drink Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG: Osteria Mamma (Los Angeles)

Above: Osteria Mamma owner Filippo Cortivo. The menu at his popular Hollywood restaurant is a homage to his mother, whose cooking inspired him to go into the restaurant business.

“When it comes to a lot of Proseccos,” said Los Angeles-based restaurateur Filippo Cortivo when the Villa Sandi USA blog spoke to him by phone yesterday, “you generally just drink one glass and move on. But with Villa Sandi, it’s easy to drink the wines throughout the entire meal. That’s why I love them so much.”

Filippo first tasted Villa Sandi’s wines 14 years ago, he told us.

“Back then you couldn’t give Prosecco away,” he remembered. As a Veneto native who grew up not far Prosecco wine country, he knew the wines well. But his customers didn’t.

“I would pour a free glass for all my guests when they arrived,” he explained. “Today, they can’t get enough of it!”

The cuisine at Osteria Mamma is Veneto-focused. But it also includes classic dishes from other Italian regions as well.

Originally from Padua (Padova) about an hour south of Valdobbiadene where the Villa Sandi estate is located, his family opened their highly popular Osteria Mamma in 2010. The restaurant has always focused on Veneto cuisine, a homage to the family’s roots.

It’s one of the few places in California where you can find classic Veneto dishes like bigoli in salsa (handmade country-style long noodles tossed in sautéed onions and cured anchovies) and baccalà con polenta (slow-cooked salted cod served with creamy polenta) — both classic pairings for Prosecco.

But the restaurant’s menu, which changes every season, also includes favorite dishes from other regions of Italy “with a modern flair,” he said.

“When I first visited Villa Sandi,” he told us, “I was amazed by their passion for the wines and for their land. And it shows in how good the wines are.”

Osteria Mamma is a winner of the Wine Spectator award of Excellence.

Osteria Mamma features Villa Sandi Prosecco DOCG by the glass. And the wines are available as well at his newly opened wine bar Vino Bistro, also in Hollywood.

Osteria Mamma
5732 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90004
(323) 284-7060
Google map

Vino Bistro
6266 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90028
(323) 943-0267
Google map

Images via the Osteria Mamma Facebook.


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!

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

Image via the Torali Facebook.


Italy “world’s best wine country” according to recent survey

Above: The hills of Valdobbiadene where Prosecco is produced.

According to the results of a consumer survey published by the popular wine trade magazine Drinks Business this week, Italy is the “best wine country” in the world.

“Italy has been ranked as the best country in the world for wine lovers,” report the editors, “beating France and Spain.”

“Italy emerged victorious due to the abundance of wine tasting experiences on offer throughout its 21 wine regions running from the top to the bottom of its boot.”

Italy prevailed over other countries “due to its higher number of consumer wine experiences and having a larger number of wineries open to the public.”

Click here to read the entire results of the survey.

Villa Sandi takes GOLD at world’s most prestigious sparkling wine competition

With Tom Stevenson — the world’s greatest expert on sparkling wine — as the chair of its judges panel (see note below), The Sparkling Wine and Champagne World Championships is widely considered to be the category’s most prestigious competition.

We couldn’t have been more pleased to learn that the Villa Sandi Prosecco Cartizze La Rivetta received one of the tasting’s top prizes:

Villa Sandi 2018 di Cartizze La Rivetta
Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, Veneto, Italy (75cl, 11.5 %)

Click here for the complete results.

From The Sparkling Wine and Champagne World Championships website:

Tom became the first wine journalist to specialise in Champagne when, after six years of research, he published Champagne (Sotheby’s Publications, 1986). His Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine (Absolute Press, 1998) reproduced a 17th-century document proving that the English invented sparkling Champagne six years before Dom Pérignon set foot in Hautvillers. This historical revelation ensured the encyclopedia itself made history by becoming the only wine book to warrant a leader in any UK national newspaper (The Guardian, 14 October 1998). Tom has a regular Champagne column in The World of Fine Wine, and has judged at wine competitions in Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, South Africa and the USA. In the UK, he held the chair of the Champagne panel for the Decanter World Wine Awards from its inception until 2012.

Wine Spectator interviews Villa Sandi owner

Earlier this week, Wine Spectator senior editor Alison Napjus reached out to Villa Sandi owner Giancarlo Moretti Polegato (above) for his reaction to the news that the hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene had been officially named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (announced over the weekend).

Here’s what he told her:

    “It’s a great recognition for the territory,” Giancarlo Moretti Polegato, owner of Valdobbiadene’s Villa Sandi, told Wine Spectator. “We have grown and lived in a breathtaking scenery made of vineyards—embroidered hills [with] neat rows of vines up and down steep slopes—aware of the extraordinary beauty of this area …. The UNESCO status will be a great opportunity to further strengthen the identity between this unique area and the wine produced within it.”

Click here for the complete article.

Prosecco DOCG named UNESCO World Heritage Site

Above: A photograph taken in the hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene during the 2018 harvest (via the Villa Sandi Facebook).

In a tweet posted early Sunday morning (EST), UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announced that the hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene have been officially “inscribed on” the World Heritage list, a coveted designation that adds the Prosecco DOCG appellation to an exclusive club of sites recognized for their cultural uniqueness, beauty, and significance.

The following statement appeared yesterday on the UNESCO website:

    Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene (Italy) — Located in north-eastern Italy, the site includes part of the vinegrowing landscape of the Prosecco wine production area. The landscape is characterized by “hogback” hills, ciglioni – small plots of vines on narrow grassy terraces – forests, small villages and farmland. For centuries, this rugged terrain has been shaped and adapted by man. Since the 17th century, the use of ciglioni has created a particular chequerboard landscape consisting of rows of vines parallel and vertical to the slopes. In the 19th century, the bellussera technique of training the vines contributed to the aesthetic characteristics of the landscape.

With 55 sites included in the list as of 2019, Italy has more designations than any other country in the world (see the complete list on the Italian Wikipedia here). Other sites include the archeological excavation at Pompei in Campania and the viticultural landscape of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato in Piedmont.

The hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene were considered but not included in the list during last year’s meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee. They are now the eighth site to receive the designation in Italy’s Veneto region.