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Prosecco for Discriminating Palates
By Mary Ewing-Mulligan
Mar 26, 2013
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Adriano Adami, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Farra di Soligo (Veneto, Italy) “Col Credas,” 2011 (Dalla Terra, $22):  Once upon a time, as the agent for a major producer of Prosecco, I tried to convince members of the wine trade that Prosecco deserves a place in the U.S. market.  It was an uphill struggle that ended without success.  I was ahead of the times:  Prosecco eventually became hugely popular.

Prosecco became a victim of its own success, however.  Inferior wines appeared on the market and, where once you could find pleasure in almost any glass of Prosecco in any restaurant, increasingly you might be disappointed with the wine -- such has been my experience, at least.  Now drinking Prosecco requires discrimination.  That’s where this fine Prosecco from Adami comes in.

Col Credas is a high-end Prosecco from the family-owned Adriano Adami company, which began making Prosecco more than 80 years ago.  It carries the DOCG designation Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, which indicates a wine made from grapes grown in the original zone in the northern part of the Veneto region, around the towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, near the city of Treviso.  It also carries the name of a subzone, Rive di Farra di Soligo, indicating that the grapes came from vineyards in a specific village between the two main towns.  The DOCG regulations of 2009 recognize more than 40 small territories, collectively known as the Rive; wines from the Rive must be vintage-dated and must be sparkling. (The vast majority of Prosecco wines are non-vintage; most are either sparkling or frizzante style, although still versions also exist.)

Adami sells four Prosecco wines in the U.S., two of which are Rive wines; besides Col Credas, the other is 2011 Vigneto Giardino - Rive del Colbertaldo (also $22).  Both are fine wines, rich in the floral-appley-citrusy flavors of the grape (once called “Prosecco,” now called “Glera”) with the weight, concentration of fruit character and long finish that mark a high-quality sparkling wine.  While the Col Credas is a Brut Prosecco, the Vigneto Giardino is a Dry Prosecco -- which in the typical nomenclature of sparkling wines means a sweeter style.  It is round and flavorful, with about 20 grams of residual sugar (RS), a style rich enough to suit dishes that have fruity flavors or mild sweetness.

Col Credas Brut, for me, is the ideal Prosecco.  With just 4 grams RS, it tastes dry but it delivers all the charm that Prosecco should.  Its aroma and flavors suggest green apples, lemon zest, and peach, with nuances of fresh herbs -- and these aromatics are concentrated while remaining delicate.  Its mousse is gentle but persistent, and the texture is… not creamy, as we might describe a Champagne, but somewhat “oily” and at the same time, crisp.  The long finish expresses the wine’s fruity flavors and a subtle minerality.

Prosecco is made from an aromatic grape variety and almost always through second fermentation in a pressurized tank: therefore, the wine should be fruity, flavorful and youthful, and offer immediate pleasure.  The quality of the 2011 Col Credas does not derive from the fact that it is dry, but partly from the fact that its dryness is not at the expense of Prosecco’s charm.

The Adami Prosecco that’s most available here is NV “Garbèl” Brut, DOC Treviso ($15); another Adami Prosecco is NV “Bosca di Gica” Brut, DOCG Valdobbiadene Superiore ($18), which I admire for its burst of flavor in the mouth.  But the two Rive wines are the top of the line, especially, for me, the Col Credas.

Prosecco is a joy to pair with food.  It is terrific with dried meats such as salami and prosciutto, and it can even accommodate vinegary or spicy antipasti.  It is fine with steamed shrimp, fried fish, chicken Milanese, and so much more.

91 Points