Aussie prosecco rises to the top, discovers MARY-THERESE BLAIR.
While the Italian prosecco DOC and DOCG are protected designations, it is possible – and legal – for prosecco to be produced and sold outside of the EU. While there’s no doubt the Italians aren’t thrilled about it, Australia produces about 20 million bottles of prosecco annually.
Having visited the Northern Italian region of Veneto, from where prosecco originates, and sampled a glass (or two), I have always considered Italian prosecco superior and claimed the Aussies could never make a drop as good as the ‘real thing’. Well, it turns out they can and our results prove it, with three of our top four originating over the Tasman. These results made me stop and realise I was doing the very thing I frequently admonish others for doing – assuming that we in the wine new world aren’t capable of matching or even surpassing the talents of old-world winemakers. I guess I’ll be matching my next glass of prosecco with a slice of humble pie.
The King Valley is considered the natural home of prosecco in Australia. Located in the north east of Victoria, the region is rich in Italian heritage and is already the home of many Italian wine styles. Inspired by the prosecco of his youth, winemaker and Italian immigrant Otto Dal Zotto planted 300 glera vines in 1999. Australia’s first prosecco was released in 2004 under the Dal Zotto Wines brand.
In 1924, Vittorio De Bortoli left his home in the foothills of north Italy, leaving behind war-torn Europe – and his fiancée Giuseppina – to seek a better life in Australia. At the time of his arrival Vittorio’s winemaking skills were basic, but with hard work, determination and grit – together with Giuseppina, who joined him four years later – he started De Bortoli Family Wines in 1928. Since then, each generation of the De Bortoli family has built on the work of the generation before to ensure the legacy lives on and there’s no doubt that Vittorio and Giuseppina would be proud as they see the fourth generation of De Bortolis start their journeys into the world and potentially into the family business. This prosecco is a gorgeous pale pink in the glass with aromas of strawberries and jasmine streaming from the glass. Clean and fresh with hints of spice against a lovely creamy weighted palate with everything working in perfect harmony. Sublime. (A)
Pale in the glass with hints of spice against the floral character …2
A fresh and juicy prosecco with lovely white florals on the nose …3
A lean and focussed example that is slightly subdued on the nose …4