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Natasha Hughes tastes the best of Prosecco and Pomerol

Published:  01 June, 2009

Château La Conseillante, Pomerol, tasting, London, 15 May 2009

The Duo de Conseillante, the château's second wine - a blend of 90 per cent Merlot and 10 per cent Cabernet Franc that spends about a year in old oak before bottling - was first launched in 2007. The 2008 vintage, a barrel sample (€22, through Bordeaux négociants), is already a pretty wine, with plenty of vivid raspberry and cherry fruit tinged with a not unattractive hint of currant leaves. It's not hugely complex, but it is bright and long.

Both the 2006 (average retail price £66.41, from a number of merchants) and the 2005 (average retail price £129.45, from a number of merchants) vintages of the grand vin were showing well. The 2005 probably had the edge in terms of structure and complexity - it's a potent, concentrated wine with velvety tannins and rich plum fruit and a note of gingerbread on the long finish. The 2006 is ripe and fleshy, with its slightly meaty fruit balanced by fine-textured tannins and an earthy finish.

Trip to Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene DOC, 17-19 May 2009

My favourite wines of the whole trip came from Sorelle Bronca, a relatively small property run by two sisters and their daughters. Of all the producers we visited, Sorelle Bronca seemed the least tied to formulaic winemaking, working with indigenous yeasts and lower yields than most. Another innovative technique is the maintenance of the must at very low temperature until a new batch of wine is required, at which point it undergoes a single fermentation in a pressurised tank until the required degree of residual sugar, effervescence and pressure is achieved.

The Extra Dry cuvée (£8.73 ex VAT, Indigo Wines) has a creamy texture and flavours of pearskin, white flowers and herbs. Great concentration and a balance that makes it appear almost dry, despite the presence of 16 g/l residual sugar.

The star of the production, however, is the Particella 68 Extra Dry (£11.19 ex VAT, Indigo Wines). named after the part of the hill on which the vines are planted, this is a complex wine with notes of dry honey, herbs and tropical fruits, along with a streak of minerality and lovely freshness. Lots of extract. A wine of great personality.

Mionetto's Sergio Rosé Prosecco (£9.14 ex VAT, Moreno Wines) is a pleasant summer quaffer made from a blend of Raboso and Lagrein. It has a touch too much sweetness for sophisticated palates, but it's packed with enough attractive, crunchy red berries and pink grapefruit to make it a very refreshing, easygoing wine.

The hill of Cartizze is the source of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene's most hallowed wines. Bisol's Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore Cartizze 2008 (£19.62 ex VAT, Bibendum) doesn't come cheap, but it's a lovely wine with depth of flavour and a complex ripeness of fruit that interweaves notes of nuts, honey, pineapples and peaches. Its balance of sugar and acidity is spot on.