Case Club - Forget what you know
Canti Prosecco D.O.C Millesimato 2016
$16.95/bottle - 6 pack
You know, my favourite part about wine is that I’m constantly learning something new. There’s so much going on — so many grapes, regions, techniques, styles, etcetcetc — that every bottle, every sip reveals something new.
And it makes having opinions that much harder. Because as soon as you think you understand something, as soon as you think you’ve got a grip on a particular variety or style, someone goes and upends everything and you’ve gotta start all over.
Take Prosecco. Some people think of it as the “basic bitch” of the sparkling wine world (I heard this comparison at a tasting recently, and I totally get it). It’s simple, bubbly, and fruity; it’s accessible, affordable, and easy to pronounce. You drink it fresh (like, within minutes of purchasing) and don’t really think about it too hard. And, of course, it makes orange juice taste better.
But if you think that’s all there is to Prosecco, you’d be wrong. Because, sure, a lot of Prosecco is the typical, Glera-based, tank-fermented sparkling BFF from high school you call up whenever you want a care-free girls’ night because she makes everything more fun. But, like your BFF, Prosecco has layers.
There are, in fact, a variety of different quality levels for Prosecco from the most basic to single-vineyard bottlings. There are rules and quality controls and all sorts of details that elevate some Prosecco — although, we don’t see a lot of those in Ontario. There are even hip young winemakers experimenting with natural yeasts and older techniques, leaving their wines unfiltered and cloudy. So to say Prosecco is just one thing is just a lil’ bit crazy.
So when I met Jeff from GrapeBrands at the Italian Trade Commission tasting a few weeks ago and he asked me to try their vintage-dated Millesimato Prosecco from Canti, I was intrigued and now here we are. This is a new-to-me(-and-probably-you) category of Prosecco that takes quality so seriously, they measure it in the vineyards. While the grapes are still on the vines.
Yep, before harvest, someone must inspect the grapes, evaluate their quality, and declare the vintage suitable. Only then will the makers label and date the resulting wine — and it doesn’t happen every year.
You’ve probably noticed that few sparkling wines actually have a vintage date on their label, and that’s because most sparkling wine is actually a made from wines harvested and fermented in different years that are held back and blended to create a house style. So when winemakers actually declare a vintage, it's a pretty big deal. (This is true for pretty much all Old World sparkling wine, including Champagne.)
This bottle is from a bigger house and widely available outside Canada, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. It’s actually pretty delicious. The quality and attention to detail shows up in the glass and you could easily serve this to your most snobby friend and impress them. It’s more complex than you’d expect, has a richer mouthfeel than most Prosecco, and evolves over time. But that doesn’t make it stuffy, it’s Prosecco after all! It’s fun and just a little bit frivolous. And it’s just $17!
If you’re interested (and I think you should be), hit up Jeff (firstname.lastname@example.org). It’s only available from him and in 6-packs, but with the holidays coming up I’m sure you can find an excuse or seven to crack into a few bottles.
Because what’s better than bubbly at the holidays?
Nose: Lemon, apples, white flowers, rich and yogurty with some brioche.
Palate: The mousse on this is really rich and delightful. It was almost creamy, which you don’t normally get from a Prosecco. It’s got a really nice, persistent flavour profile of green apple, elderflower, orange blossoms, and lemon zest. There’s also some peach on the back palate, a bit of unripe mango and some tropical fruit lurking. It’s way more complex than I was expecting and I could drink it forever, probably.
Note: This bottle was provided as a sample. I receive samples from time to time, and only review those that really stand out. This one did. It’s also the first in what I hope will become a regular series of reviews of wines by the case that aren’t available in the LCBO. Let me know if you’re interested in learning more about these consignment-only wines in the comments below.