The romance and wonder of Italy feel far away right now. Earlier this summer I wrote a series here in Wine of the Week of three other wines from my last visit. This Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore takes me back to a week in the Veneto before the world changed.
2019 Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Brut, Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, Veneto, Italy
Wine of the Week with Annette Tomei
Prosecco has its lovers and haters. Amy Reiley recently wrote about when and why you might choose prosecco and shared her recommendations. I’m going to take us on a slightly deeper dive into the story of this often-misunderstood style of wine. Here, I’m adding another recommendation to that list.
Reading a Label: What’s in a Name?
There are a few long, challenging words on the label of Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore. I’m going to help you read the map they provide. We’ll start with the basics.
Prosecco was a village that grew to become a suburb of Trieste. The wines made here hold acclaim dating to at least the time of the Roman Empire. Pliny the Elder wrote of them in his treatise, Natural History. They were said to be the favorite wines of Livia, wife of the Emperor Augustus Caesar.
All Proseccos are made from at least 85% of the grape now known as Glera. The grape was once known also as Prosecco, until 2009. The change precipitated when some Proseccos were elevated to DOCG status. In effect, this protects the name Prosecco from being used anywhere outside the DOC/DOCG zones (similar to the protection of the name Champagne).
So, what does the “superiore” mean in the name of our wine, Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore? Essentially, it is there to indicated that these wines are more select than their DOC counterparts. This encompasses where the fruit is grown and the governing standards that are in place. Often the superiore wines are slightly higher in alcohol and less likely to be sweet. The sweetest rating allowed is “dry,” which is rather sweet at around 17 grams/liter (just to further confuse us).
Our Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore is also labeled Millesimato 2019. The word millesimato on the label indicates that at least 85% of the fruit was harvested within the vintage year. This may seem unnecessary, but when are talking about sparkling wines it matters.
Most sparkling wines (including fine Champagnes) are made from a blend of base wines that often include some from other vintages. We refer to them as NV or non-vintage. It’s only when a harvest is particularly notable that a winery (or region) will choose to designate it as its own vintage.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG
This region lies between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. It is between the foothills of the Alps and the sea. The way the hills undulate is different here. They call them hogbacks (ciglione in Italian). The terraced slopes are south-facing and steep. All vineyard work must be done by hand here.
There are actually three DOCG designations within the region (from broadest to most exclusive):
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive
- Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze
In 2014 the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco from Conegliano and Valdobbiadene was formed. Today it represents approximately 150 producers. In 2019 these hills became a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene because of the unique quality of Prosecco produced here.
My Review of Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore Millesimato 2019
The color of this wine is the palest straw. The mousse is fine and steady. Unlike some Proseccos, the aromas don’t immediately jump out of the glass at you. These are subtle and elegant, green apple and white peach. On the palate the fruit aromas continue. They are accompanied by a slight minerality and lingering floral note.
This wine is labeled “brut,” which means it has less than 12 grams/liter of residual sugar. It is not perceptibly sweet. Still, there’s enough there to make this a great pairing with spicy foods, though not sweet enough to pair with dessert.
I first tried this wine with my favorite Sicilian comfort food, pasta con le sarde. My recipe has a lot of sauteed fennel with a generous portion of good quality canned sardines. The delicate sweetness of the fennel balanced well with the hint of residual sugar. The soft bubbles were just right with the tender oily sardines.
No sardines? No problem. How about our Pomegranate and Cider-glazed Smoked Salmon instead?
Where to Buy Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore
Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore is on Drizzly. Check the site for local availability. (This is an affiliate link.)
For more on my travels through Italy, including the Veneto, and more, check out my new website: Wander Eat and Tell.
A Bit More About Cecilia Beretta Wines
In researching the Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Superiore, I learned a little more about this family-owned company. I’m looking forward to finding and tasting wines from their special project with Conde Naste’s Wired magazine. They describe this ode to 33 women innovators and leaders as:
“A journey into the feminine dimension of innovation, told with the passionate gaze of researchers, entrepreneurs, artists, startuppers and many other professionals. All through the life stories of those who – with their work and intuition – have done extraordinary things, in Italy or elsewhere in the world.”
The Cecilia Beretta Valpolicella Mizzole labels are illustrated with images and stories of 12 of 33 featured international innovators.
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