Can we all make a promise to stop drinking mediocre Prosecco? Italy's most famous sparkling wine fuels many Sunday brunches but not all Prosecco wines are created with a commitment to quality and the market is flooded with so-so wines. But don't despair, quality Prosecco is not a unicorn, it really does exist and Masottina is one of the producers crafting elegant and expressive wines. On a recent visit to Masottina's stunning vineyards in Italy, I was impressed at how their location, legacy, and lifestyle beautifully influence their Prosecco.
Masottina hand harvests Glera grapes for their Prosecco.
Location matters when it comes to Prosecco and the rolling hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, about 30 miles north of Venice and 64 miles south of the Dolomites, have proven themselves the ideal terroir for growing Glera - the starring grape in Prosecco. The region is so special that wines produced here have been granted the distinction of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. Within that prestigious designation are 43 distinct terroirs known as Rive, and Masottina produces their finest wines in the Rive of Ogliano. Ogliano's unique microclimate and soil conditions nurture Glera grapes of exceptional quality.
Glera grapes fresh from the vine.
The Masottina winemaking legacy started in 1946 when Epifanio Dal Bianco expanded his property and persuaded his three sons to join him in the wine venture. One son in particular, Adriano the oenologist, displayed a talent and intuition that led Masottina to the forefront of winemaking in the region. Today, Adriano remains the winemaker and his three sons Filippo, Federico, and Edoardo work with him in various capacities in the family business.
Representing the third generation of the family that produces Masottina wines, Federico Dal Bianco said that his father Adriano's philosophy is to "maintain the terroir in the glass."
Prosecco is not just a business for the Dal Bianco family but an essential part of their lifestyle and another member of the family. From the vineyard to the bottle, they don't settle for mediocrity and care is taken every step of the way to ensure that the wines of Masottina tell the story of their region, family, and culture. While in Italy, I had the pleasure of sharing several meals with members of the Dal Bianco family and I was impressed at how beautifully their Prosecco paired with everything from gourmet cuisine to simple home-style dishes.
No, Federico isn't playing with his food! A few drops of Prosecco added to already cooked risotto creates something special and delicious. Click here for the recipe.
If you've been less than impressed by Prosecco in the past, Masottina's wines are a great reminder that Prosecco can display terroir, character, and elegance. And who doesn't smile at the sound of a cork popping? For your next gathering, consider one of these festive and elegant offerings from Masottina. And remember, Prosecco this good isn't just for brunch!
Masottina Prosecco Brut DOC Treviso NV ($15)
Treviso is the province where Prosecco was born and this lovely wine is a delicious introduction to the Masottina style. Dry but fruit-forward, this Prosecco is refreshing and crisp with vibrant citrus flavors that are enhanced by a touch of minerality and white flowers. Festive and approachable, Masottina's entry level Prosecco is clearly made with care.
Masottina Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut DOCG NV ($22)
Federico Dal Bianco said that Prosecco should express "fruit, floral, and freshness" and "the intensity of these 3 traits increase with more complex wines." Masottina's Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut DOCG is the next tier up from DOC on the quality ladder and beautifully supports Federico's statement. More intense than their DOC level Prosecco, this wine truly celebrates the hilly terroir of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Tremendous minerality and exuberant flavors of lemon zest and lemon curd, with a tinge of mountain herbs, elegantly evoke a sense of place.
Masottina "Le Rive di Ogliano" Conegliano Valdobbiandene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry, 2016 DOCG ($27)
The terroir clearly speaks in this very special Masottina Prosecco from Le Rive de Ogliano. Masottina describes Rive as "the geographical area encompassing vineyards of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene region set on particular inclines." Soft but well-structured, this extra dry style has more residual sugar than the Brut, but displays an impeccable balance between sweetness and minerality. Fresh lemon and grapefruit flavors meld beautifully with accents of mandarin and pear. Creamy and crisp with fine bottles that elegantly linger, this is no ordinary Prosecco.
Are you ready to say bye-bye to bland and blah Prosecco and give Masottina a swirl? Visit the Masottina website to learn more about their full portfolio of sparkling and still wines.