Sunday, May 18, 2014


Vini in degustazione-A region of fine arts

Enjoying Prosecco Superiore in the magnificent setting of the ancient Castello di San Salvatore

Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

SUSEGANA-TREVISO, Italu--The ancient castle and surrounding grounds at Castello di San Salvatore is a candidate to become a UNESCO World Geritage Site. a look out of the massive windows of the splendid castle over the vineyard clad hills gives you an idea of what the early classical painters saw as they created their masterpieces. It is a glimpse into a gloried history. Taking in the iew while enjoying a sip of the latest vintage of Prosecco Superiore makes it an even more heady experience, because you are not only taking in the vistas that inspired such artists as the great Cima and his contemporary poets and writers, you are also imbibing the culminating masterpiece of the current artistry of the winemakers present at Vino in Villa to pour their latest vintages for hundreds of enthusiastic patrons who came from across the region and around the world.

I was privileged to be on of the scores of international journalists invited to this year's celebration, which included tutored tastings of Prosecco Superiore, attended to by a cadre of highly skilled Sommeliers and a spectacular Food Showm featuring specialties form local producers in the Gastronomic Garden.

Prosecco Superiore is Italy's leading sparkling wine. It is quickly gaining acceptance and popularity in the United States and globally. Consumer acceptance has quickly catapulted it becoming a leading contender to Champagne, the popular and historic sparkling wine from France. Affordability, easy drinkability and high quality have made it an easy contender in the widening field of global wine competition. There are many pretenders to the throne of Prosecco Superiore, but few can match the real thing. There certainly is no headier experience that drinking it in the company of  more than 60 of its creators in the splendid setting of the Castello di San Salvatore.

Prosecco Superiore is made primarily from the Glera grape, which is native to the area. Although each of the wines poured at the tasting is created from this grape and vinified in much the same way by each producer, its amazing how differently each of the wines tastes based on the production methods and skill of the winemakers and the varying soil and climate exposures experienced by the grapes as they mature. Its fascinating to take the flavor journey from a bone dry Brut, to the most aromatic and naturally sweet, fruit forward Extra Dry. I not only had the opportunity to meet the winemakers personally and hear first hand their explanations of how they went about creating their wines, but I was also able to contemplate them in the solitude of a private tasting room attended to by knowledgable Sommeliers, who carefully explained each vintage in a progressive tasting of styles and flavor profiles. It was an enlightening and life-changing experience.

I will share some of my reflections from my tasting notes :

Adami Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry "Dei Casel"- $22. Dei Casel is the venerable nickname for the Adami family. Their winery is located high in the hills above the town of Conegliano. From their steep aviary of a winery, they produce some of the most notable sparkling wines I tasted during my tour of the area. I had the Dei Casel at the winery in a private tasting with the winemaker, and again in the writer's "salle" at the Vino In Villa event at the castle. I was blown away both times! The wine is bursting with zesty, youthful fruit flavors. Yet, it has a bright sophistication that puts it in the league of more serious (and much more expensive) sparklers.
  1. Prosecco Superiore Dei Casel is a soft, foamy wine with apple mousse, lemon zest and soft layers of peach cobbler. The wine is delicate, elegant and fine. A perfect example of the effects of the local terroir, with its clay and calcerous soil and steep hillside exposure to intense amounts of sun and the cooling effects of maritime breezes at night. This wine scores 90 points and above among most rating bodies. And no wonder. It's terrific with summertime salads, an assortment of soft cheese, or just on its own as an aperitif. Once you start drinking it, you can't get enough and at $22, you can afford to indulge the addiction. 
Bisol Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut "Jeio"-$17. The first thing that hits you, after taking in the light straw yellow color is the nose. It's all fresh ripe tropical fruit,  perfumed white acacia flowers flowers and a crisp elegance that literally defines the word "brut." This is one where you can really show off your skill at making cocktail party canapes for your next summer soiree. Go all out with the fancy stuff. Break out the caviar and the really expensive Nova Scotia. With the price tag at well under 20 bucks, you can afford to splurge!

Villa Sandi Brut Millesimato 2013-$13. Villa Sandi is one of the largest producers in the Veneto. Don't let that be a deterrent to savoring one of the most approachable and enjoyable proseccos of the current vintage. It's light, pleasant and easy to drink, as a prosecco should be. Millesimato Brut gives a clear definition of why so many people are turning to prosecco and making it one of the most popular wines in the U.S. A bright, clean flavor and a nose with hints of banana and pineapple give it a bit of complexity, but just enough to keep it light and fun!

 Here now are the sights and scenes from Vino In Villa.

 Dwight Casimere with Armando Adami, winemaker and co-owner with brother, of Adami wines
Below; the historic hillside vineyards of Adami in Conegliano

 Dwight Casimere with Giancarlo Polegato, owner, Villa Sandoi

Below: various scenes of the Palladium-style estaste of Villa Sandi and Locanda Sandi, the restaurant

Prosecco Superiore is ideal for spring and summer

Spring is time to celebrate Prosecco Superiore in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene in Italy

Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere
Dwight Casimere with Consorzio Director Giancarlo Vettorello
The steep hillside vineyards of Conegliano
With Silvia Baratta (c), public relations for the Consorzio and a fellow international journalist
Vineyards of Glera grapes, from which Prosecco Superiore is made

Sunrise over the hillside vineyards of Conegliano

CONEGLIANO, Italy--The hills are alive with vibrant colors and the intense aromas of blossoming flowers. The steep hillside vineyards, with their bright-green tones and the sinuous valleys outlined by rows of vines are the birthplace of one of the most popular sparkling wines in Italy, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.  The name may be hard to remember, but the distinctive flavor, aroma and creamy effervescence of the wine is hard to forget. Standing on a terrace overlooking the steep hillside vineyards and sipping a glass of the tantalizing bubbly, its hard to imagine that prosecco is only now coming into its own, yet the territory from which it comes is extremely old and the sparkling wine that is now gaining so much traction in the among consumers,  is the result of centuries of human endeavor.