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Forget the pandemic with five ultimate Proseccos

There’s so much more to Prosecco than inexpensive fizz, including a rarified expression that’s sold at Champagne prices. We round up the ultimate Proseccos to help you forget about the pandemic – at least for a minute.

Cartizze vineyards are located within the hilly Valdobbiadene area

All of them come from an area called Superiore di Cartizze, although known simply as Cartizze, which takes its name from a hill that’s famous for producing the most concentrated expression of Prosecco – and often too, the sweetest.

The hillside vineyards only amount to 107 hectares in total – just 0.4% of Prosecco’s total 28,600ha – and is home to the most expensive vineyard land in Italy, with an estimated value of €1.5m-€2m per hectare, prices one might expect for grand cru sites in Champagne.

As for the location of the Cartizze hill, well, it is found within the historic core of the Prosecco producing area, an undulating landscape which is called the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG – representing 6,600ha – compared to over 22,000ha for the Prosecco DOC, which fans out over the flatter valleys of this part of north eastern Italy.

So, if you are planning on trying some fizz from the peak of the Prosecco pyramid then where should you begin?

Well, we’ve selected five outstanding examples, from the most affordable to the priciest, all of which have been top performers in The Prosecco Masters by the drinks business.

You can read more about the competition by clicking here, but rest assured that this is the largest competition of its type, and the only one that sees Prosecco judged ‘blind’ by a panel of Master of Wine sparkling experts.

5. Astoria, Arzana, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze, Dry

The style: Cartizze, Vintage, Dry

The medal: Gold – The Prosecco Masters, 2017

The price: Approx £25

Sugar content: 22g/l

The taste: As expected of Cartizze, this is a fuller, sweeter style of Prosecco, rich in peachy fruit, dried apricots along with a hint marmalade, and a lick of lemon sherbert. This is an opulent and layered fizz, and, considering it comes from the valuable vineyards of Cartizze, a surprisingly good-value one too.

4. Colesel Spumanti, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze, Brut

The style: Cartizze, Vintage, Brut

The medal: Gold – The Prosecco Masters, 2018

The price: Approx £25

Sugar content: 9g/l

Unlike the majority of Cartizze Prosecco, which is made in the ‘Dry’ style – which actually means its sweet (see here for an explanation) – Colesel has decided to create a Brut version, meaning it contains very little residual sugar from the fermentation process.

This means that it’s a little lighter and tighter in style that the more common type of Cartizze, but still contains the area’s typical ripe stone fruit flavours, and delicious creamy textured bubbles.

3. Foss Marai, Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, Dry, 2016

The style: Vintage DOCG, Dry

The medal: Master

The price: Approx £30

Sugar content: 27g/l

The taste: As one would expect of top Cartizze, this is a full-flavoured, Prosecco with masses of ripe peachy notes and a touch of pear sorbet-like fruity sweetness. Lifting the drinking experience is a lovely zesty lime and mint-flavoured finish.

The medal: Master – 2017 Prosecco Masters

2. Andreola, Cartizze Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG Dry, 2019

The style: Caritzze, Vintage, Dry

The medal: Master – Prosecco Masters 2020

The price: Approx £30

Sugar content: 26g/l

The taste: Pretty, youthful, inviting aromatics of peach, pear and some lime zest, give way to a creamy and sweet palate, dominated by flavours of apricot and orchard fruits, then a chalky fresh finish, with some bright acidity too. This is a persistent, powerful and layered Prosecco, that’s quite sweet, but balanced, and cleansing, with delicious pure fruit flavours.

1. Bisol1542, Cartizze Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG dry, 2019

The style: Caritzze, Vintage, Dry

The medal: Master, Prosecco Masters 2020 and 2019

The price: Approx £50

Sugar content: 25g/l

The taste: A ripe, peachy, gently zesty and floral nose, with nothing overt, but complex, and inviting. The palate is deliciously sweet, but not saccharine, with ripe notes of pear, peach and then lovely fresh lemon and orange blossom too. Layered, powerful, creamy-textured but refreshing, it gives an impression of dryness on the finish. A very long, very pure and very fine prosecco, which combines richness with zestiness, making it hard not to drink. It would be particularly good with an apple / pear tart or blue cheese. 

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