The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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Page 24 of 124

24  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017 The Ransom Note is a monthly column by The Tasting Panel's East Coast Editor, David Ransom. Each month, David connects readers with some of the people, products, and events that are making news along the Eastern Seaboard. I n preparation for the transition to the fall wine season, I found some delightful Northern Italian wines to consider from two regions that may not be on your radar—but should be— thanks to a tasting held by the producers of Montello- Colli Asolani. I first had the chance to try Prosecco from Asolo, the third classified region (along with Conegliano and Valdobbiadene) to be granted DOCG status in the 2009 shift. While some feel there isn't a tremendous dif- ference in the three regions, the government did—and so do I. The production area of the Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG lies about an hour north of Venice in the Asolo hills, just south of Valdobbiadene. Prosecco has been produced here for as long as it has anywhere, and the main grape is also Glera. What sets Asolo Prosecco apart from the other DOCG areas relates mostly to philoso- phy and size. The region is tiny, as is its number of producers (there are only 57 in total). As a result, there's a handmade aspect to these wines, along with a growing focus on organic and bio-production; perhaps most importantly, there's also a big emphasis on "Col Fondo" Prosecco production, a method many call the "real" Prosecco, where the secondary fermentation is in the bottle and the lees is kept in the lightly- effervescent and slightly-cloudy finished product. Look for "Asolo Prosecco DOCG" on the label when searching. Next, I had the chance to try some of the delightful red wines from Montello, another tiny region due east of Asolo in the same foothills. Originally enjoyed by the nobility escaping the oppressive heat and humidity of the Venetian summer, Montello's still wines were historically made with a variety of local grapes, including Bianchetta and Recantina. While wines from these grapes are still produced, these days the majority is made from international varieties. Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon all play a role in making these wines a nice change of pace in the glass and at the table. Due to geographical proximity, many producers make both Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Montello DOCG. Favorites included Amadio, Cirotto, Loredan Gasparini, Montelvini, and Villa Sandi (various importers). Italian Wines You Shouldn't Overlook story and photos by David Ransom The producers of Asolo and Montello wines. From left to right: Matteo Forner, Azienda Agricola Colmello; siblings Simone and Silvia Rech, Tenuta Amadio; Armando Serena, President of the Consorzio Vini Montello e Colli Assolini and owner of Montelvini; and Francesco Cirotto, Cantina Cirotto. Villa Sandi Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG. Col Fondo Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG.

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