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You all know I love bubbly, but I’ll let you in on a little secret; Prosecco isn’t always my favorite. But then again, up until recently, I didn’t really know Prosecco. For me, Prosecco always brought to mind a pear-flavored, sort-of-sweet wine.

All of that changed a few weeks ago when I attended a Prosecco Superiore seminar at The Middle Gray in Brookline (which I love, by the way). It was a great afternoon of learning and tasting, and below are some of the highlights.

prosecco tasting

There’s more than one Prosecco. Did you know that? There are actually three designated types of Prosecco, and they are classified based on where the grapes are grown. Prosecco Superiore comes from Conegliano Valdobbiadene, a hilly area in North-East Italy, 50 km from Venice and around 100 from the Dolomites. Here, for over three centuries, people have grown the grapes that produce Prosecco Superiore, whose success began with the founding of Italy’s first School of Winemaking in 1876. The wine is hand-harvested only, due to the extremely steep nature of the hillsides. The vineyards have been so trained and shaped to the contours of the land that the area is being considered being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Prosecco tasting

Below you can see the buckets of grapes being moved from the vineyards. It’s a precarious undertaking! Unfortunately my camera failed me during the event, but there were some gorgeous photos. The region looks absolutely stunning.

Prosecco seminar

Prosecco Superiore can be dry or sweet or anything in between. Prosecco that is called dry is actually the sweetest, and the Brut Prosecco is the least sweet. As I mentioned above, I expect Prosecco to be sweet and was surprised at how most of the ones we tried were not.

We also learned that there are three types of Prosecco when it comes to bubbles; spumante (sparkling), frizzante (fizzy), and tranquilo (still). Still Prosecco, you might ask? Yes! Tranquilo is actually the oldest but least known type of Prosecco.

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We tasted the following wines. With so many wines, so much information, and great conversation with the group about food, travel, and wine, I was once again bad at tasting notes. I will let you know that I enjoyed all of the wines we tasted and would absolutely seek out the Brut Proseccos for future enjoying. Prosecco, even at top quality, is a great value and food-friendly, making these wines approachable and appropriate for everyday, not just special occasions!

Astoria Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry – $20

Perlage Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry “Col di Manza” – $18

Mionetto Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze Dry “Luxury” – $22

Adami Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Asciutto  “Vigneto Giardino” Rive di Colbertaldo 2015 – $22

Borgoluce Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $25

Mongarda Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $15

Ruggeri Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Vecchie Viti” – $21

Bortolomiol Valdobiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Prior” Millesimato 2015 – $15

Biancavigna Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Rive di Soligo 2015 – $18

Plan your own Prosecco travels with these wine tourism itineraries.

Thank you to Prosecco Superiore for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston blogger, bubbles, bubbly, events, Italian wine, Italy, prosecco, wine, wine events, wine tasting

My love affair with Vermentino continues, thanks to recent Sardinian wine events. A while back, there was a day on a boat with Santa Maria La Palma tasting some absolutely beautiful Sardinian wines. A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of a delicious wine lunch with Vigne Surrau at Select Oyster Bar, cementing my desire to wander around Sardinia on our trip to Italy this coming summer. We have a wedding in Tuscany in July and are hoping to tack on another destination. We’ve both done Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, and the beautiful Le Marche and Abruzzo regions (BEST wine tasting day ever), so Sardinia is looking like a real possibility.

Okay, enough of our travels for now.

Back to the wine. . . Vigne Surrau wine lunch Warm and charming hosts from Vigne Surrau welcomed us into a cozy space in the back of Select Oyster Bar, wine and information awaiting our arrival. Learning about where wine is grown is always fascinating to me, especially when it is on an island like Sardinia, and all of the conditions of the island affect the grapes. Surrau’s vineyards are in Gallura in the northern part of Sardinia, and they are directly affected by the Mistral wind and the granite earth and clay where they grow. Their website says “Nature imitates art and man pick it”, a concept I found so beautiful as the wines truly were works of art created by nature.

Sardinia is home to incredible Vermentino, and that’s what we started our lunch with.

BRANU Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G.2015

Lemony and with a great, food-friendly acidity and freshness, this wine’s stainless steel fermentation means that the flavors are not influenced by oak or anything else. This wine was like sunshine and a day at the beach, but has enough body to be a winter white, we all agreed.

SCIALA Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G. 2015

This wine is a blend of the best Vermentino and aged on its lees, making it feel like a more substantial wine. Less lemon and more pineapple/mango/minerals than the BRANU.

Sardinian wine

 

 

select oyster bar

While we learned about Vigne Surrau, we also indulged in perfect pairings of the seafood that Select Oyster Bar is known for. Heavenly salmon crudo and Vermentino are quite possibly the perfect pairing. This menu was clearly planned keeping both the food and wine in mind.

salmon crudo

 Vermentino

As we moved onto our second course and the red wine, I deviated from the seafood menu because there was AVOCADO TOAST. I’m sorry, but I just can’t say no to that. Last sips of Vermentino cut through the creamy fattiness of the avocado and brightened it up in the best way, while my first sips of Cannonau added a bit of spice to the pairing.

avocado toast

As I mentioned in my last post on Sardinian wines, Cannonau makes for a beautiful, light red that can be enjoyed year-round. We compared the SINCARU and the Riserva, two different vintages, and noted similarities and differences. As simplistic as it sounds, both were just so delicious. The Riserva is aged in Slovenian oak which gives it a fuller body and richer texture, and I also noticed a slight hint of saline or minerals on this wine. Truth be told, the 2014 was my favorite of the two because of the spicy notes. . . I could see it being perfect for a casual pizza night in front of the fire.

SINCARU Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. 2014
SINCARU RESERVE Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva 2013

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vigne surrauFor the final course and wine, I went back to seafood, a steaming bowl of clams with chorizo, I think the key component of pairing with the wine.

BARRIU I.G.T. Isola dei Nuraghi 2013

This blend of Cannonau, Syrah, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon was big and bold, notes of baking spices and pepper along with stewed fruit. It was so cozy, and while you might not think a red would go with clams, the flavors in the broth along with the salinity of the clams really worked with the wine’s beautiful characteristics.

sauteed clams  

This wine lunch was a delicious and educational way to spend an afternoon. Thank you to Vigne Surrau for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston, events, Sardinia, sardinian wine, seafood, wine, wine and food pairing, wine blog, wine events, wine tasting

I was recently contacted by the PR agency for Vine Brook Tavern in Lexington regarding their series of wine classes. They hold a class monthly with the focus changing each month, and the class last night was Chardonnay Around the World.

Vine Brook Tavern

Classes start at 7:30 p.m., but we decided to get to the restaurant early for some food at the bar. It was hard to choose from a really delicious looking menu, but we decided to be healthy-ish with two salads and a pizzetta. Of course, after the class we split a burger at the bar.

heirloom tomato and burrata salad

Heirloom tomatoes were bursting with sweet summery goodness, paired with one of the best partners a tomato can have, creamy burrata.

cauliflower salad

Even better was the shaved cauliflower salad, a healthy and flavor-packed mix of kale, quinoa, carrots, beets, Brussels, with ginger sesame vinaigrette. Our unhealthy splurge was the lobster pizzetta, which was a delicious bread-like dough topped with bacon cream, caramelized onions, and lobster meat.

lobster pizzetta

After dinner we headed upstairs to the class, where we had   six glasses and a tasting sheet set out for us.

Chardonnay tasting   

The restaurant owner guided us through some information on Chardonnay and how the way it is made varies in different parts of the world, then we blind tasted the following:

Charles Krug, Carneros, Napa

Talbott, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey

Dominique Cornin, Macon Villages

JJ Vincent, Pouilly Fuisse

Hobbs, Felino, Vinos-Cobos, Mendoza, Argentina

There was also a Sauvignon Blanc in there! It was very easy to pick out, with its grapefruit, grass, and mineral notes. I wasn’t as adept at figuring out the others, unfortunately, and got a couple wrong. It became easier to tell the wines apart on the second round and after we knew some more information about each specific wine, such as whether or not they had undergone malolactic fermentation and if they were aged in oak or not. My favorite wine of the night was the JJ Vincent Pouilly Fuisse which was light, crisp, and very acidic, perfect for the humid summer evening. I have to say though, I liked them all.

The class was fun and informative and actually really helpful in learning to taste wine. It was a good group, unafraid to call out the tastes and smells each person was getting from the wines. Classes are monthly and cost $30/person.

I attended the class as a guest of Vine Brook Tavern. All opinions are my own.

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Tags: chardonnay, Dining out, wine, wine events, wine tasting

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