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”
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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
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”?”
“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.”
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.
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.
There’s an old adage that food and wine experts are often fond of repeating: If it grows with it, it goes with it.
In other words, when you are planning a food and wine pairing, consider what wines the growers pair with their foods. And find inspiration in foods and wines that are traditionally paired together.
Most Italian food and wine experts agree that Prosecco DOCG is one of the best — if not the best — pairing for classic Italian seafood.
Prosecco DOCG is widely considered to be the official wine of Venice, for example. And there’s good reason for that.
Proximity: Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, the two primary townships where Prosecco DOCG is grown and vinified, are only an hour away from Venice by car. On a clear day, you can literally see the famous bell tower of St. Marks square (Piazza San Marco) from the hills of Prosecco DOCG country.
Geography has played a historically fundamental role in Prosecco’s relationship with the “lagoon city.” The Piave River literally runs through Prosecco DOCG country and it leads to Venice where it empties out into the Adriatic Sea. The flow of water toward the city made it easy to transport demijohns filled with sparkling Prosecco to the city in a time before modern transportation. It was only natural that Prosecco would become a favorite wine of the Venetians because they had easy access to it.
But Venetians also loved and continue to love Prosecco because they are a seafaring people and they consume a lot of seafood every day.
When farmed and vinified correctly, Glera (the main grape in Prosecco DOCG) always has a characteristic mineral-salty note to it. And that savory character is complemented by its natural citrus (think gently bitter grapefruit) flavor.
If you’ve ever had fish dressed with a touch of freshly squeezed lemon juice, you know that citrus and saltiness go perfectly together. The acidity of the lemon is the ideal accompaniment to the saltiness of the dish. Similarly, Prosecco DOCG makes for a fantastic match for nearly any kind of seafood, like pasta with clams or fried gobies (a favorite snack of the Venetians).
Here on the Villa Sandi USA blog, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite classic Prosecco DOCG pairings as well as creative pairings with international foods.
Prosecco DOCG and fish tacos, anyone? Stay tuned…
In August of last year, Italy’s agricultural ministry contacted its counterpart in Australia and expressed its interest in protecting naming rights for Prosecco DOCG and Prosecco DOC wines throughout the world.
For years now, Australia grape growers and winemakers have labeled sparkling wines as “Prosecco” despite the fact Prosecco originated in Italy and is protected by European Union trademark laws. But because Australia is not an EU member and because it’s not subject to EU regulation, there was no recourse for Italian Prosecco producers.
Last year, the Italian ministry argued that because the grape name has been officially changed to Glera (formerly known as Prosecco) and because Prosecco is a place name (a village in northeastern Italy not far from Valdobbiadene-Conegliano, the heart of Prosecco country), Italian wine growers should be entitled under international law to exclusive use of the trade mark.
The story was first reported by Queensland University of Technology.
According to a report published this week by Drinks Business, the EU has proposed a compromise whereby Austrlians could call their wines “Australian Prosecco,” thus differentiating it from Italian-grown Prosecco and eliminating confusion in the market place.
Prosecco isn’t the only EU food product that would be affected by the current proposal: According to Drinks Business, the Australian agricultural ministry is currently negotiating with the EU over more than 1,500 products (cheese labeled “feta” is one of them, for example).
It’s not clear what the Australian response will be to the EU proposed compromise.
But we will be following the story closely and reporting on it here on the Villa Sandi USA blog.
Image via the Villa Sandi Facebook.
“Villa Sandi relies on a special production technique to get the very best Prosecco,” said owner Giancarlo Moretti Polegato (above) in a recent interview with Slow Food UK.
- To enhance and preserve freshness, floral and fruity aromas of Prosecco, our winemakers chill the must and store it. For any sparkling production, they start the sparkling process from the chilled must instead of starting it from wine. The chilled must has maintained the freshness and the floral and fruity notes of Prosecco at their best (as if the grapes had just been harvested and pressed). The resulting sparkling Prosecco enhances these typical features, making Villa Sandi Prosecco different.
Because of his standing in the Italian and European business community, his patronage of Italian art and culture, and his myriad charitable works, Giancarlo and his family are often featured in both wine trade and mainstream media. You’ll find countless interviews with Giancarlo across the internet. But his Slow Food UK conversation is, by far, one of the best.