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Decanter Italian Fine Wine Encounter Discovery Theatre: Prosecco, more than an aperitif…

3: Prosecco, more than an aperitif… Presented by: Roberto Cremonese, Bisol

The effusive and affable Roberto Cremonese didn’t bother with a microphone for this entertaining introduction to Bisol’s excellent range of Proseccos – not that that obstructed his enthusiasm and passion for the subject.

In an area where the average land holding is less than one hectare, Bisol has nearly 140ha of vineyards, enabling the company to produce a varied range of Proseccos for all manner of occasions.

These include the bright, brisk, easy-drinking Jeio, a bone-dry and uncomplicated match for fresh mozzarella; the weightier and finer Crede, a single vineyard wine which was a pitch-perfect foil for sushi; and the highly-prized and expensive Cartizze, able to stand up to foods as varied as scallops, lobster with mango salsa, and even a panettone-style cake.

And then there were the curiosities, including a Jeio rosé that Bisol only started making two years ago. ‘We never wanted to do a rosé because we thought it was too commercial,’ explained Roberto. ‘But in the end we said, let’s do a rosé, but the Bisol way, with food.’

Other specialities included the Passito, made with dried grapes and a blend of 15 different vintages, and Talento Riserva, a bottle-fermented assemblage of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with more than eight years’ bottle age.

That raised the obvious question of comparisons between Prosecco and Champagne, but failed to ruffle Roberto. ‘I never compare my Prosecco to Champagne,’ he said.

‘I love my Champagne – of course, I’m a Champagne lover on a special occasion, otherwise my wife would kill me! But Jeio is my fridge wine, my 24/7 Prosecco.’

Best audience question: ‘Can you explain the new rules for producing Prosecco?’

Answer: Er, a bit complicated. Because you can plant the Prosecco grape anywhere, Roberto explained that the grape had been locally given its ancient name of Glera.

There are basically two appellations – a DOC plus a town name, such as Padova; and a DOCG for Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Prosecco’s highest-quality expression.

New rules have come into play since 1 April this year, but as Roberto says: ‘In Italy, we make a law, and then we find a way to get around it. We have done the law and in two or three years, we will refine the law.’

Best presenter comment: Roberto Cremonese: ‘Does anyone have any constructive criticism? Don’t worry, I won’t shout – I’m not French! I might charge you double on the way out, though.’

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