“You must have one of the most desirable jobs in the world!” I asked Innocente Nardi, President of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. Consortium, during a lunch at the fabulous Salis Rsitorante Enoteca with its breathtaking views over the Cartizze region.
“I am very proud to hold this position. I am also very proud to represent the 3,000 producers of this region.” Innocente replied having now held this position for six years in 2017.
For those who are not familiar with DOCG, this is the original area of the Prosecco region that is mostly full of steep hills of vineyards that produce the finer grapes and quality of Prosecco, each bottle will be marked ‘DOCG’ and ‘Superiore’ so that when you purchase your next bottle, you have something above the standard DOC Prosecco wine which is mostly produced from vines of the flatter land of the region.
An important question to put to Innocente I felt was the current position of Prosecco in many peoples minds, especially consumers, that it is a cheap sparkling wine solution and especially when it is compared to Champagne. “Is the representation of Prosecco in the UK as a cheap wine a good thing?” I asked:
“When we talk about the Prosecco system, it is a complex word to analyse. We need to appreciate the smaller region we have and that 100 bottles of Prosecco sold only includes 18 which are from the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area. Our territory includes history, culture and a way of vini-culture that represents a high quality and expectations. So, to use the word ‘cheap’ for Prosecco from our region, for Prosecco Superiore, it is completely wrong. The word cheap for all Prosecco is happening because people do not yet know of the differences in regions of Prosecco.”
It is clear to me and of course deep within the heart and mindset of Innocente and the team at Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. Consortium, that it is important that those appreciating Prosecco should have the very basic knowledge to understand where exactly the wine comes from as it can change many things and this will in turn limit the times that Prosecco Superiore is classed as a cheap. I am sure that no one really wants to take a course in Prosecco to just be able to pick up a bottle at their local supermarket or opt for the fizz whilst out with friends at the local bar, but just the very basic knowledge between DOC and DOCG, or as I prefer to say Prosecco or Prosecco Superiore, will lead to more people enjoying this great sparkling wine to its fullest.
I also wanted to ask Innocente about food and Prosecco as this is a growing trend with the likes of Champagne, English Sparkling Wines, Franciacorta etc.
Innocente replied: “Our mission is to focus on the Prosecco from our region and particularly to the locations that each winery produces their wines from as each can vary in taste. With this in mind, each Prosecco Superiore can be enjoyed as an aperitif, but at the same time has the characteristics to accompany light meals and especially with fish because of the lightness and freshness of the wine. We want to continue to promote foods to go with our Prosecco and especially highlighting our local cuisines, our wines have versatility because of the three main styles we produce and with the additional forth wine of extra brut next year.”
It is also important to recognise that the Conegliano Valdobbiadene region is applying to UNESCO and this could have a very positive effect for this region of Italy. Even though the evidence is all around me and I have fallen in love with every part of it, I asked Innocente “You are going for the UNESCO title, can you share with me why this region deserves to have this?“:
“It is with pride that we are working towards our UNESCO bid. Our region holds much beauty in territory, wine innovation, art, architecture and the people.“