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Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri 2017: On Prosecco, Italy’s power bottom

I have no real desire to flesh out this (very real) analogy to fruition, but should it end up inadvertently educating you, my job here is done!

I have even less desire to write another several paragraphs about how much I think people should ditch the tank method Italian sparkling for something yeastier and Maillard-esque. Sorry, guys: sometimes Prosecco is exactly what you need when you’re recording a drag podcast at 11AM on a Monday with your friend who’s in Barcelona (his clock: 8PM). Stop telling me to ditch pears for dough, and soft padding for the sting of overinflated volleyballs. Which were never passed to me in high school gym class, anyways.

It’s obvious that the suited sommeliers don’t flock to bottles of Prosecco at events like San Francisco’s Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting, and instead, place all focus on Italy’s rightly famed reds. My purpose for having tasted all of the Prosecchi I could get my lips on, here, is thusly two-pronged: further education in differing personality styles for a wine essentially cast aside as the sparkling wine equivalent of a novel’s preface chapter or the slightly overbearing positivity of a morning talkshow segment, and because people don’t know how to not fucking block spit buckets.

Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017.
Fantastic green fruit on the entry, with lots of freshness and stuffing, giving a fleeting impression of actually biting into a pear.

Villa Sandi 2015 “Vigna La Rivetta” Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Brut (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017. Tre bicchieri.
More subdued than its little brother, but then much more earthy and a hint more honeyed on the palate. Savoury. Would be curious to see where this goes with age.

Merotto 2015 “Cuvée del Fondatore” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut, Rive di Col San Martino (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017. Tre bicchieri.
The standard mould of pear, here, but there’s a distinctive cameo of Chenin-like yellow apples and a conflict of crisp and creamy on the palate, with flavours buoying across the dance like indecisive cloud formations.

Bortolomiol 2013 “Grand Cuvée del Fondatore Motus Vitae” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut Nature, Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017. Tre bicchieri.
Unlike the Merotto, this has a much more stiletto-like elegant piercing quality to its entry, followed by a very dry and mineral palate with some yeasty flavours to balance the pear and apple skin. But like the Morotto, this has a long fucking name.

Bortolomiol 2015 “Prior” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017. Due bicchieri.
Pear-driven nose, of course; immediate, steely pleasure. Power still runs through its veins, but the edges are slightly more rounded.

Bortolomiol 2015 “Bandarossa” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017.
Very estery: I can name three specific compounds that immediately come to mind. The slightly brash fruit seems to match the medium acid and sweetness, which just reaches off-dry territory.

Ruggeri “Argeo” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Brut (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017.
Wholly pleasurable, but a bit simple and thin. Twink.

Ruggeri “Giall’Oro” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017. Due bicchieri.
More everything, like a supercharged version of the Argeo: most notably, pears, flowers, and general intensity.

Ruggeri 2015 “Giustino B.” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry (Prosecco, Veneto, Italy) Feb 2017. Tre bicchieri.
Sits on the lees for about a year. I’m a bit confused regarding the passing comment that this was “more like a Grower Champagne”, but this is definitely a solid choice for Gambero Rosso’s Sparkler of the Year. Elegant throughout, with the palate leading with mouth-enveloping intensity all the while revealing white peach, a bit of salinity, and a teasing sweetness. Very well-balanced.

Josh

DipWSET, Certified Sommelier, garbage person.

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