At an Italian wine event in NYC a few months ago, we met David Noto, the owner of Altaneve / Vico Neve LLC, one of the producers in the prestigious Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG region of Italy.
This small area north of Venice produces the highest quality grapes and wines in the entire Prosecco region. The Glera grape varietal (from with all Prosecco wines are made) is harvested by hand from small terraced vineyards today. Mr. Noto’s Altaneve is an incredibly fine example of what this region can produce.
Wines from the Conegliano Valrobbiadene DOCG are labeled as such and carry a reputation for both quality and complexity. This is because the region has a more mineral soil than much of Prosecco, from which the grapes pick up a complexity. Wines from this small region can sometimes taste like fine champagnes. With weddings, graduations and Summer entertaining opportunities coming up, sparkling wines are a perfect option for a celebratory wine that is also just lovely for every day enjoyment.
Translated in Italian as “high snow,” Altaneve alludes to the Dolomite Mountains’ temperate micro climate that lends a special character to the grapes that make the wine unique. The wine comes from Valdobbiadene, the Italian town reputed for producing the highest quality of sparkling wine.
Altaneve prosecco is this type of wine --it's very light with a champane-like taste profile and just a slight hint of citrus. The predominant notes are earthy and yeasty giving the wine a distinct and somewhat complex character. As the wine warmed in our glasses, there was some buttery-ness on the finish.
Sparkling wines pair nicely with lots of things, but we tried our bottle of Altaneve with a citrus-y fish. The lightness of the wine helped promote the taste of the food. Also there was just enough acid and minerality to help it hold its own against stronger dishes like salmon or shellfish.
One of the best aspects of Prosecco in general, is the versatility in pairing it with foods. The wine can be paired with charcuterie and cheeses as well as with vegetables and seafood. Even foods that are at opposite ends of the spectrum like white meats and desserts go well with Prosecco, and with Altaneve in particular. Of course, you can just drink it "as-is" of if you wish. Traditionalists, may frown, but if you wish, add a berry (or slice of fruit) in the glass on a hot Summer day and toast your joy!
The suggested retail price of Altaneve ($29.00) is higher than most Prosecco sold in the U.S., but it reflects its higher quality. According to Mr. Noto, “Everything about our wine costs more to make than other, lesser expensive Proseccos on the market in the U.S., starting with the maintenance of our vines that are located on the steep hills of Valdobbiadene in Italy, to the hand-picking and hand-selection of the grapes that are harvested over the course of a month as they reach their perfect ripeness, to the very extended secondary fermentation that occupies our tanks for 2-5 times as long as other wines.”
Mr. Noto’s passion for Prosecco originated in his childhood. He comes from a wine-making family, boasting over 10 generations of wine makers in Calabria. Although the family produced red wines, Mr. Noto was always fascinated with Prosecco and the magic of its bubbles, and when he had the opportunity to pursue his winemaking passion, he decided to introduce the US market to the best Italian Prosecco that he could make.
Prosecco is one of those wines that is starting to become more popular in the United States, but it's still a "newbie" so Mr. Noto felt it was time to introduce the U.S. to a brand of Prosecco designed to meet its preferred taste profile.
Most events we attend serve sparkling wines such as Prosecco in tulip champagne glasses, but Mr. Noto suggests that Prosecco be served chilled, in a white or red wine glass that has a large bowl and a smaller diameter opening. This is because hgh quality Proseccos have a lovely and delicate nose and you need to experience it. The larger bowl and smaller opening of a white or red wine glass allow the scents and essence of the wine to accumulate as the bubbles rise to the surface of the wine. When you serve your sparkling wine, show your wine savvy and serve it properly. This is how you can truly appreciate a great Prosecco!
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