The Prosecco Masters 2014: The medalists

21st May, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt

A panel of experts gathered for a blind tasting to deliberate over the great, the good and the sparkling at the first ever drinks business Prosecco Masters.

Prosecco-Masters-Judges-At-Work

Let’s face it, if one were to list this decade’s most fashionable drinks, Prosecco would undoubtedly feature, and probably top the list. With its memorable and distinctly Italian ring, appealing taste, and gentle fizz, the sparkling wine now features on almost every chalkboard, wine list or supermarket shelf, as well as in a raft of trendy cocktails.

As a result, Prosecco has pretty much single-handedly sustained northern Italy’s export volume success, becoming, some might say, the new Pinot Grigio. And, while the latter light-bodied white grape brought a fresh generation of drinkers into wine, Prosecco has, similarly, taken a great number of consumers in a new direction, turning them into regular sparkling sippers – as opposed to regular wine drinkers and occasional Champagne consumers.

FIRM FAVOURITE

In essence, Prosecco has become the crowd-pleasing solution for more casual, and celebratory social occasions, however, it’s less prevalent at formal and upmarket events, as well as those really special times, when the default choice is still Champagne.

Its inability to take advantage of the latter sparkling opportunity is probably because there’s a sense that Prosecco is nothing more than an unsophisticated, fun sparkling – which after all, is a belief that has served the category well. However, as those who reside in Italy will tell you, there’s more to the category that basic fruit-scented fizz. But, what is the difference in taste between the different quality tiers? And, can one detect site specifics at the top-end?

Prosecco-Masters-Judges-ThinkingIt was such questions, when allied to Prosecco’s sales success, that prompted the drinks business to launch the Prosecco Masters to complement its other major Masters competitions, including one for Champagne as well as others for widely planted grapes, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Having attracted just under 100 Proseccos for our first competition, it seems we were right to instigate such a tasting for the fast-expanding category, with many producers telling us how pleased they were that we were running an independent blind tasting just for this Italian fizz.

To judge the sparklings we selected a range of personalities from different professions that were well known for their expertise in both the Italian and sparkling wine scene, be they wine writers, sommeliers or buyers (see box below for the list of judges).

As the day’s tasting came to a close, all agreed that they were greatly encouraged by the overall consistency in quality, although certain categories performed better than others. The judges were looking for certain traits, such as delicate fruit, freshness, as well as, depending on the price, complexity and a long finish, and they weren’t disappointed.

“For me, Prosecco is all about Italian technology wedded to a very delicate grape variety,” commented Alex Canetti, Italian specialist and brand manager of Antinori at Berkmann Wine Cellars. Drawing attention to the need to protect this variety’s subtle character, he praised northern Italy’s ability to produce the world’s best winemaking equipment, be it bottling lines, tanks or presses, and then use them to great effect with the Glera grape in the Prosecco DOC and DOCG. Supporting such a belief, Nick Tatham MW, who works for Italian specialist Continental Wine and Food, added, “Delicate is an extremely important word when it comes to Prosecco, and I think delicacy is what customers are looking for.” He also noted, “The nose is terribly important; it has to be appealing.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

New Business Development Manager Nordic

Concha Y Toro
Stockholm, Sweden

Experienced Administrator

The Drinks Business
Central London, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 25th October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more