| Between the Lines |
July 2021 - The Sparkling Edition
Between the 30th and 50th parallels that we find the ideal climates for producing Fine Wine.




The Neo-Classical Sparkling Wines of Spain

by Eric Gennaro

Four years ago, a group of Spanish wineries, from the heart of Penedès, came together with the idea to distinguish themselves from the mass produced sparkling wines of the region.  In Spain, Cava Denominación de Origen (DO) produces over 250 million bottles a year with the majority coming from three main sources: Freixenet, Cordorníu and García Carrión. The forward thinking nine producers broke free from this appellation and formed a new wine called CORPINNAT, which translates literally to the ‘Heart of Penedès’. Knowing that their sparkling wines were of higher quality, with strong attention to the winemaking, they were determined to have them recognized. 

The wines of CORPINNAT come from the heart of Penedès in the north east of Spain.  The almost exclusively native varieties must be 100% organic, harvested by hand and estate bottled. The wines must be aged for a minimum of 18 months with the best examples coming from aging longer, around 30-60 months. 

Being a lover of Spanish wine, this makes a great deal of sense to me. I have found the best way to put this wine into perspective is through my love for Spanish food. I am an amateur cured ham maker and cured ham, or jamón serrano, can be thought of like Cava.  CORPINNAT is the sparkling wine equivalent to Pata Negra, or jamón ibérico, the famous Spanish ham made from the Iberian black hoofed pigs.  The complex flavours of long ageing, the fine bubbles and respect to nature are mirrored when tasting Pata Negra hand carved and sliced close to the bone.

LLOPART - Viticulturalists Since 1385

The Llopart family’s roots can be traced back to the year 1385. Although they were involved in other Mediterranean agricultural products, wheat and olives, the focus turned to wine growing by the end of the 18th century.  The vineyards are found in Subirats where the terroir, called Clos dels Costers, has a unique soil. This soil is made up from layers of marine fossils, coral reefs, and sediment strata from old cliffs, rivers and lagoons combined with limestone rock.  The vines face northward and create a virtual amphitheatre surrounded by wild Mediterranean forests.  This allows for a good contrast of the day heat and the night cold to allow for slow ripening with a perfect balance of fruit and acid. 

2018 Brut Reserva

Made from 40% Xarel·lo, 30% Macabeu, 30% Parellada.  Bright straw yellow with fine and constant bubbles. Clean aroma with a predominance of primary aromas of white fruits. Very smooth on the palate, fresh and vibrant  with long acidity and lingering aftertaste.

2018 Brut Rosé

Made from Monastrell 60%, Garnatxa 20%, Pinot Noir 20%.  Very bright cherry-pink color. Well-developed bubbles, constant and small in size. Fruity exuberant aroma dominated by a variety of forest fruits along with delicate tannins. An initially potent flavor with good structure and just the right degree of acidity that maintains a perfect balance throughout its prolonged lingering aftertaste.




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Buying Prosecco In Ontario

by Nelson Abreu

There is no doubt Prosecco is the most popular sparkling wine in Italy but now it is also the #1 bubbly exported around the world. In Ontario, we import and consume our fair share of Prosecco, the availability is very good and the selection is quite diverse.  Let’s understand the promise of Prosecco and explore the great value Prosecco we import to Ontario.

What Distinguishes Prosecco from other Sparkling Wines? 

Prosecco is sparkling wine that originates from the Valdobbiadene Region of Northern Italy, informally called the “Prosecco Zone”.

  • It is made entirely from the Glera grape variety.
  • It is vinified using the Charmat Method of producing sparkling wine. 
  • The type of grape, Glera, and method of production, Charmat, used in making Prosecco allows for a fruit forward style of wine produced to be consumed soon after bottling.

Prosecco showcases clean primary aromas of the grape, contains residual sugar typically between 9-15g/L and is balanced by the high levels of acidity. Brut is the most popular style of Prosecco and  it contains under 12g/L of residual sugar.

What Pairs Well with Prosecco?

Prosecco is an ideal aperitif, given its mouth-watering fruitiness and slightly sweet nature, and it is also versatile in food pairing. From light appetizers to charcuterie, to sushi and spicy Caribbean inspired dishes, Prosecco compliments them all. 

Finding Quality Prosecco

The number one rule when looking for a good quality Prosecco (or any other type of wine for that matter) is to buy from a reputable producer. When it comes to Prosecco look for a wine made by an actual winery rather than a virtual brand created by a large bottler. In wine production, product integrity begins with having control of how the fruit is grown and harvested.  There are producers that do not own their own vineyards, or grow their own grapes, instead they buy pressed juice, or already fermented wine, to bottle.  In this case, the producer has no guarantee of the quality of base product being acquired which can require manipulation to achieve the desired finished Prosecco.  

Virtual Prosecco brands can often be identified because the brand also exists on different types of wines from other regions, or even other types of alcohol products.  Similarly, many of the Prosecco brands you will find imported into Ontario were created specifically for the the export market and do not exist in Italy. In Ontario, virtual brands dominate the retail store options. To find the grower-made Proseccos look in Vintages and, to the more consistently supplied, Private Wine Importers.

Tip:  When you find a Prosecco you enjoy, you can do your research online and learn about the producer behind the brand. A company that takes pride and shares the history of their vineyards and farming practices and  grows its own grapes is a good sign. The steep, hand harvested hillside vineyards produce the best quality fruit.

The Quality Categories of Prosecco

  • Prosecco DOC 
This is the most common quality level of Prosecco and is dominated by the large volume producers.  This classification covers nine provinces in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia region.  The majority of this area is flat and harvested by machine.  In Ontario, Imported Prosecco DOC can be found priced from $12 to $25 per bottle.

  • Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Grapes are blended from these hillside vineyards located in the specific areas between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, or Asolo. These regions produce good quality Prosecco and, generally speaking, are from smaller, quality focused producers. Compared to Prosecco DOC, you will encounter more hits than misses when exploring these wines.  Prosecco Superiore DOCG are typically priced from $20 to $35 per bottle in Ontario.

  • Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive DOCG
These are specific wines made from hillside commune vineyards in the Congeliano Valdobbiadene area. This category includes 43 eligible communes, or vineyard sites.  This is very high quality vintage Prosecco normally priced above $30 per bottle in Ontario. These wines are not commonly found in stores and more easily accessible by private ordering through a Wine Importer or Agent.  

  • Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG
Cartizze is the name of the hillside that produces the most prestigious vintage Proseccos and these wines garner the highest Prosecco prices. They are very concentrated wines and can have higher residual sugar levels that balance them. Expect to pay grower Champagne prices, starting around $40 per bottle,  to enjoy Cartizze in Ontario.  Know your producer and contact the Import Agent to place your order but be prepared that it is often a custom order and you may have to wait for your favourite Cartizze to arrive! 

BISOL 1542

The Bisol family has been producing Prosecco since 1542. The knowledge of the territory and the experience from refining the production process, over eight generations, is unparalleled in the industry. In addition, the family has continued to acquire vineyard holdings and is now the largest Vineyard-Owner-Producer in the region. Knowledge and control of the fruit that produces their wines are the foundation of their fine quality.  

Best Value: Belstar Prosecco

The bubbly we import in Ontario from Bisol 1542 are Belstar Prosecco Brut DOC and Belstar Rose Extra-Dry.   Translated from the local dialect, Belstar means, a beautiful place to be. (Bel, meaning ‘beautiful’, and Star, meaning ‘to be’).  Belstar Prosecco is grown on hillside vineyards in the DOC zone and offers expressive, balanced fruit that is grown with minimal intervention and harvested by hand.  These wines are crafted with the production knowledge the Bisol family has developed crafting exceptional Cartizze and Superiore Proseccos for generations.  Consider these wines the best value Proseccos imported in Ontario based on the quality of expression, elegance and clean, precise finish for under $20.00 per bottle.  




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Currently at Vintages

Les Vignes Vial Fleurie 2018
Collin-Bourisset. Beaujolais, France
Vintages #0018586
Pinot Grigio Riserva 'Giatl' 2017
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