The best proseccos for the holiday season

By David Rosengarten

Published on November 19, 2013

I haven't always been a fan of prosecco, the sparkling wine from Veneto in Italy's northeast corner. It isn't produced through methode champenoise—it's not bottle-fermented and bottle-aged—so it lacks champagne's complexity. Rather, it's made quickly and cheaply in tanks using a mild-tasting grape called glera, and the results tend to be sweet and straightforward. But when I tasted the proseccos from a tiny growing zone called Cartizze, I realized there are great ones out there; you just have to know where to look. On this rocky hillside northeast of Valdobbiadene, the rich minerality of the soil, from an ancient seabed, makes the wine, labeled Valdobbiadene Superiore de Cartizze DOCG, crisp and complex. Fairly dry, slightly floral Tenuta S.Anna, Cartizze, Valdobbiadene DOCG ($16) has a green apple brightness. Villa Sandi Cartizze, Vigna La Rivetta, Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore de Cartizze, Brut ($44) is drier still, with an aroma hinting of yeast and meat, and a creamy mouth-feel. Champagnelike Adriano Adami Cartizze, Dry, Valdobbiadene Superiore de Cartizze DOCG ($35) has an intriguing herbal, piney character. But my favorite is Bisol Cartizze, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG** ($43). It's so light in color, it seems like it won't taste like much. But inhale and you get a nose full of tropical fruit, cantaloupe, and strawberry. It's lively and acid-edged, with a clean, fresh finish, and like all prosecco, it's also a little sweet: Sip it as an apéritif for a lovely start to your holiday meal.

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