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A family affair brings the Italian sparkle of Valdo Prosecco to South Africa

16 October 2017

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Heritage. Passion. Family. They are all key ingredients in the enviable Italian lifestyle of la dolce vita, the sweet life. They are equally the inspiration behind Prosecco SA, the dynamic company founded by brothers Chez and Alex Valenti whose family hail from Veneto, the scenic region of northern Italy famous for producing prosecco sparkling wine.

Prosecco has taken the world by storm over the past decade, enjoying double-digit growth in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe to replace champagne as the sparkling wine of choice.

Combining their own passion for prosecco with a desire to share the fruits of the Veneto with South Africa, the brothers scoured the region for the finest prosecco producers. “We have always had a real passion for the produce of Italy, and especially prosecco, and were simply looking for the very best prosecco to introduce to South Africa,” explains Alex Valenti, Managing Director of Prosecco SA.

Their journey eventually led them to the cellar door of Valdo Spumanti, a family-owned winemaker from the iconic village of Valdobbiadene. The Valdo story dates back to 1926, when a group of pioneering winemakers came together to focus on producing premium prosecco. In the decades since, Valdo has grown to become one of the most respected prosecco producers in Italy and an embodiment of the winemaking traditions of the Veneto.

“South Africa is tracking the global growth in demand for quality prosecco, and Valdo Spumanti is the perfect way to discover the category,” enthuses Valenti. “Valdo is also one of the only Italian prosecco producers that specialises exclusively in sparkling wines, and we believe they offer the best quality prosecco at an affordable price point.”

Accessibility, value-for-money and a sense of celebration is key to the growing success of prosecco, as wine-lovers worldwide discover the welcome lack of formality that defines this uniquely Italian sparkling wine.

“Prosecco is not stiff or formal. It’s about family, life, love and celebrations. And in all of those things, you should have a bottle of prosecco in the middle… it’s a drink for Life Lovers!” adds Valenti.

While prosecco is a more affordable and less formal alternative to champagne, the rules governing its production and quality are no less stringent.

Just as champagne is protected by the French rules of Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), so Italy’s Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di origine controllata garantita (DOCG) regulations dictate which sparkling wines qualify as prosecco.

Most importantly, for a wine to be labelled as prosecco the grapes – mostly Glera – must be grown, harvested and vinified in the northern Italian region of Veneto, the ancestral home of prosecco. While the champagne-style method of bottle fermentation is used occasionally, most prosecco is made into sparkling wine using the Charmat method, where secondary fermentation takes place in pressurised steel tanks.

The result? A naturally sparkling wine with a delicate bubble that brims with youthful vibrancy. Unlike champagne, which will usually improve with bottle maturation, Prosecco is at its most expressive when enjoyed young, allowing the bouquet of bright apple, honey and pear notes to shine through.

For those new to prosecco, the best place to begin is the Valdo Prosecco DOC Extra Dry, a timeless prosecco with classical bouquet of apples and pears underpinned by an elegant palate. Produced in the hills of Treviso, “it’s an approachable, fruity sparkling wine that offers excellent value and caters to everyone’s tastes,” says Valenti.

In a similar style, the Valdo Prosecco DOCG Brut from Valdobbiadene offers a prominent floral character on the nose with a dry backbone that allows it to pair perfectly with a meal.

Showcasing the remarkable versatility and complexity of prosecco is the Valdo Prosecco Fondatore Brut. Produced from both Glera and Chardonnay grapes, the Chardonnay (10%) was aged in French barrels to bring a subtle oak-driven character to the primary fruit of the bottle-aged Glera. It’s ideal as an aperitif or paired with an antipasti platter.

For special occasions, perhaps the true spirit of Valdo is to be found in the Valdo Prosecco Cartizze Dry. Sourced from vineyards on the Veneto’s iconic Cartizze hills, the vibrant bouquet and slightly sweeter palate of this famous spumante make it an ideal pairing with delicate desserts.

Similarly, the Valdo 90 is an ultra-premium example of quality prosecco. This limited-edition release pays tribute to the innovative spirit of Valdo, as it is one of the only proseccos to be created following the méthode champenoise. The wine is aged for more than three years to highlight the complexity and character of prosecco.

But the Prosecco SA portfolio also knows how to let its hair down.

With its eye-catching bottle designed especially for Milan Fashion Week, “Valdo Rosé Floral Brut is doing very well in South Africa at the moment,” comments Valenti. Made from a unique blend of Glera and Nerello grapes, this rosé-styled prosecco brings sweeter notes of ripe red berries to marry perfectly with crisp apple aromas.

The Valdo Rosé Brut is made in a similar style, with grapes from hand-selected vineyards ensuring a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity in the wine.

Alongside the acclaimed proseccos from Valdo Spumanti, Prosecco SA is also the exclusive South African importer for two unique wines: a sought-after Kosher Extra Dry Prosecco by Val Do’Oco. and the low-sugar Skinny Prosecco made from organic grapes from Thomson & Scott Limited. Broadening the appeal and accessibility of prosecco is equally the driver behind Prosecco SA’s innovative new product: ‘Bubbly On Tap’.

Using the traditional Italian prosecco grape, Glera, the bubbly is stored in pressurised kegs. This ‘on-tap’ bubbly will be available at selected bars and restaurants in major cities soon.

“It’s something entirely new to the country, and because the Bubbly On Tap is slightly less fizzy than the bottle it is ideal for enjoying throughout a lengthy Italian dinner,” says Valenti. “The bubbly will be available by the glass and carafe, but it’s also perfect for bartenders who want to use it in cocktails, such as the ever-popular Aperol spritz.”

This refreshing aperitif is as common to northern Italy as the splash of prosecco that gives it life. Whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail, or simply eager to discover the sparkling world of Italian prosecco, the wide range of authentic Italian bubblies from Prosecco SA is the only place to begin your journey.