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Monday, September 20, 2010

September in Veneto: the harvesting of wine grapes of Prosecco!!

Cari amici,
How are you?

Grapes of Prosecco
The summer is fading away and we are starting to see sings of the fall:  chilly weather at night and shorter days.
Well even if the summer is my favorite season of all, there is some good in every season so I’m sure I will find some great things in the fall too!!
Like for instance la vendemmia” the harvesting of wine grapes, the vintage!!
I’m from the Veneto region, which is very famous for some great wines.
Panorama of a wineyard in Veneto
Fun during the "vendemmia"

I have many memories of the vintage that is for sure one of the most crucial steps in the process of winemaking. 
For me as a child it was always a great days of fun: walking in the country side, running from one side to another and eating the grapes….so delicious!! Great memories!!
So even if I don’t drink more than 4 glasses of wine a year I’ve been around wines and beautiful wineries my all life!!
My region: wondeful Veneto
My region, Veneto is among the foremost wine-producing regions, both for quality and quantity. The Veneto region counts over 20 DOC zones and a variety of sub-categories, many of its wines, both dry and Spumanti, are internationally known and appreciated.
The three most well known DOC’s are Bardolino, from the town with the same name and surrounding the shores of Garda Lake, Valpolicella, and Soave. Other noteworthy wines produced in this region are the white Bianco di Custoza, the excellent sparkling Prosecco, the Breganze, and the Amarone (a rich and powerful red from the Verona province). If you travel to the Treviso area, look for the little-known Clinton, a wine that is banned from distribution because it does not conform to the DOC standards, but is produced in limited quantities for local consumption.
The Prosecco road
The importance of winemaking in this region is underscored by the creation in 1885 of the very first Italian school for vine growing and oenology. In addition, Veneto was the first region to constitute the first strada del vino or "wine road". This first wine-touring road featured special road signs providing information on vines and the wines they were made into and joined the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano DOC zones crossing a series of hilly vineyards.
The most appreciated wines in the region come from the provinces of Treviso, Verona, Padova, Venice, and Vicenza. The area around Verona, with its temperate climate and hilly surrounding, is believed to have cultivated grapes since the Bronze Age.
The Prosecco grapes
And of the couple of glasses of wine I drink a year for sure the majority of them are of Prosecco!!
Prosecco is a dry sparkling wine generally made from grape variety Glera, The main area where Glera is grown and Prosecco is produced is traditionally in an area near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the hills north of Treviso. In my backyard indeed!!
Up until the 1960s, Prosecco sparkling wine was generally sweetish and barely distinguishable from the Asti Spumante wine produced in Piedmont. Since then, production techniques have improved, leading to the high-quality dry wines produced today. According to a 2008 The New York Times report, Prosecco has sharply risen in popularity in markets outside Italy, and is consider now more popular that French Champagne!! Prosecco is also protected as a DOC within Italy, as Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Prosecco di Conegliano and Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, and since 2009, is also be promoted to DOCG status, to further protect the name, an association of traditional Prosecco growers is advocating a protected designation of origin status for Northern Italian Prosecco under European law.
Unlike Champagne, its main commercial competitor, Prosecco is produced using the Charmat method, in which the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, making the wine less expensive to produce.
In Italy, Prosecco is enjoyed as a wine for every occasion. Outside Italy, it is most often drunk as an aperitif, much like Champagne. Like other sparkling wines, Prosecco is served chilled. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle and grows stale with time; it should be drunk as young as possible and preferably before it is two years old.
Compared to sparkling wines from other areas of the world, Prosecco is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent by volume. This is why is one of my favorites too: Since I don’t drink much this is the only wine that doesn’t make me drunk!! And I love the light taste as well!!  However this is quite typical for Italian sparkling white wines, the flavor of Prosecco has been described as intensely aromatic and crisp, bringing to mind yellow apple, pear, white peach and apricot. Unlike Champagne, appreciated for its rich taste and complex secondary aromas most Prosecco variants have intense primary aromas and are meant to taste fresh, light and comparatively simple.
Most commonly Prosecco is served unmixed, but it also appears in several mixed drinks. It was the original main ingredient in the Bellini cocktail and in the Spritz cocktail, and it can also replace Champagne in other cocktails such as the Mimosa. Prosecco also features in the Italian mixed drink Sgroppino (with vodka and lemon sorbet), perfect after a dinner!!

Approximately 150 million bottles of Italian Prosecco are produced annually. As of 2008, 60 percent of all Prosecco is made in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene area. The place where I’m from indeed!
There are a few great Porsecco Wineries but my favorites is for sure the Moletto Prosecco. The Moletto winery was founded by Commendatore Mario Stival, who still run the company together with his wife and wonderful chef Anna and their songs, Mauro, Giovanni and Chiara!! And in their office works also my wonderful “fracugino” Roberto!! The Moletto winery is a very modern company, state of the art production of great wines and they put so much passion in what they do!!
The Moletto wineyard

At the Moletto winery is also possible to book a tour around the winery,beautiful estate for sure, and you can  end  your visit with a wonderful dinner at the wonderful main building of the winery cooked of course by Anna, Mr.Stival’s wife. The recipes from Anna’s kitchen are the perfect marriage between Moletto wines and the flavors offered by my region’s gastronomic traditions of yesteryear, together with those that emerge from modern-day creativity and devotion to make the wine cellar and kitchen a winning team. It’s an experience that you won’t forget easily!!
Moletto Prosecco
I have visited the Moletto Winery several times and I always enjoy my visit. Cavalier Stival is the only man who can make me drink two glasses of Prosecco on the same day…as soon as my glass is half full he’s ready to purr more of it!! I always tell him that I’m not a drinker…and he always answer to me the same” This is Prosecco and you won’t get drunk with it”!! Well somehow I never really got drunk with it…. Maybe also because I tasted it while having the wonderful food made by La Signora Anna!!
Laird & Company imports Moletto wines in the USA, so look for their selections and you won’t be disappointed!! I can also proudly say that Moletto is also a great supporter of my music. One reason more to love them!!

Here is a delicious “Antipasto” easy and delicious that la Signora Anna makes, follow by the recipe for Sgroppino, a perfect after dinner typical of my region Veneto.

Serves 4: 12 slides of prosciutto (Parma or San Daniele ham), 4 firm pears, butter. 
Peel the pears, cut them in four pieces, heat the butter in a non-stick pan, add the pears and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Divide prosciutto into four servings and garnish with two pieces of tepid pear each.
Serve with: 

1 cup chilled Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine)
2 tablespoons chilled vodka
1/3 cup frozen lemon sorbet
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves
Pour the Prosecco and vodka into 2 Champagne flutes, diving equally. Spoon a scoop of sorbet into each flute. Sprinkle with mint and serve immediately

Buon appetito if you make it and Cin Cin of you are drinking the Sgroppino!!

Stay tune for my next blog about my Concerts in Canada, New York and New Jersey!!

Love always,

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