What do you get when Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich decide to put their collective heads together to import Italian sparkling wine?

If your answer was anything other then “Quality”, “Value” or “Excellence” then you are wrong my friend. This trio represent some of the absolute pre-eminent Italian regional cuisine in all of the New World and have an understanding of the human palate far beyond the keen of most people. Their collective success is more then sufficient evidence to support this wild accusation and so I’ll go one step further:

If they understand how flavors interacts with the tastebuds then they understand how wine can interact with the soul.

Prosecco, Cava, sparkling wine, Champagne… all words that represent tiny bubbles of perfection captured in time by an ethereal liquid. It is a well-cut suit, a beautiful woman by your side and a well-appointed vehicle to whisk you to your destination. This glass of effervescent gems is a glamorous party with pretty people thronging to be let in and you walk past them all. Sparkling wine is the dream of something better, something prettier, something richer.

How utterly brilliant that these collective taste-gurus have imported such luxury, but at a price that the masses can appreciate. At under $20 this wine is an easy competitor for the contemporaries in France who charge twice, thrice, tenfold the cost… and also handles itself confidently against Spanish challengers with it’s ripe orchardfruit and stonefruit palate.

Brilliant value for the money? The proof is in the glass!

Flor n/v, Prosecco DOC, Italy

Flor NV Prosecco DOC

90+/91 points

Tiny pearls of air raise through the glass with movie-like perfection, bringing refreshing aromas of ripe pears and clean minerality… the palate is Springtime; peaches and apricots are warm and honey-like, emphasized by a seductively approachable medium- acid. Excellent balance and structure with medium+ length, a show-stopper for the price and an excellent way to start an evening or create Mimosas with the next morning Flor n/v, Prosecco DOC, Italy

Prosecco is still a red-headed step-child in the sparkling wine market of the New World. Misunderstood, often abused, this wine is capable of greatness in the right hands but has been bastardized by some into a bubbly Koolaid beverage that stuck in the minds of many… ah the heyday of Asti Spumante right?!

Batali. Bastianich. Koolaid. Like they say on Sesame Street, “One of these words just doesn’t belong.” So don’t trust my words, or my palate, that this wine is worthy of your time and effort. Don’t even trust the literally hundreds of fellow journalists who have written words of praise for this budget-conscious jewel. Just trust your own eyes when you read that it was created by three of the savviest people in the restaurant business today.

And trust your own palate when you try it, because really, at the end of the day yours is the most important opinion.

Many thanks to the Christopher Stewart Wine Agency, representatives in Canada, for the sample bottle. www.christopherstewartwineandspirits.com

As always, I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions. Here, or:
on Twitter @AStudentofWine
on Facebook @www.facebook.com/TheChefandTheGrape

About Author


Kristof Gillese: trained chef, certified wine steward, journalist and proud father. In these articles it is the human story that takes priority: to tell the tale of common people accomplishing uncommon goals. In the world of wine these tales are prolific. It has been Chef Kristofs privilege to have worked with luminaries such as Pierre-Henry Gagey of Maison Jadot, Nik Weis of St Urbans-Hof, Ray Signorello of Signorello Estates and Ezra Cipes of Summerhill Pyramid Winery; leaders in the industry. With almost 3 decades of experience working with the synergy between food and wine, Chef Kristof is proud to share the stories of these amazing stewards of the land. These articles are written with a profound reverence for the family aspect to winery culture as, to this writers understanding, nothing has ever had a more far-reaching effect than the love and devotion for a parent to a child. All great wineries are built by parents for their children and it is because of this that Chef Kristof writes.
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