It took us much longer to drive to Valdobbiadene in the Veneto than we had imagined, so it was close to lunchtime when we turned into the little vineyard-lined road which snaked around a few corners then delivered us to the very stylish winery Andreola, the maker of the interesting range of DOC and DOCG Prosecco newly gracing our shelves.
I didn't look too closely at first, so didn't twig to the reason for all the blue ribbons and rosettes over the winery balcony, and on the mirror of one of the cars parked in the driveway. In Piedmont, the place was ripe with confirmations, here must be the same.
Whilst we waited for Stefano Pola, the winemaker and owner, we were shown around the immaculately clean winery, which makes seven Prosecco from the 77 hectares of DOC and DOCG grapes they cultivate. The DOCG occupy the steepest slopes and these wines are the most prized. Stefano arrived and it was established that the blue ribbon everywhere was because he'd had a baby boy 23 days previously. A 'Thomas' so a certain symmetry with our own 23 year old Thomas. Pink for girls, blue for boys, white for weddings - it's a charming tradition of the area. Perhaps we should adopt it.
A tasting was in order. It was fascinating to try the wide range of quality DOCG Prosecco Andreola make. A range of seven different styles of fine Prosecco, some single vineyard, some blends, one, Sesto Senso is in a pretty clear glass bottle and must remain wrapped in paper and is bottled in the dark! All with different residual sugar levels and all rather delicious. Plus a very appealing Spumante Rosé.
Our next stop was lunch at a busy family owned hostelrie restaurant, where we also spent the night very comfortably. Lunch was a delicious selection of local food including excellent white asparagus and a dish of white polenta with a local slightly sour whey like local cheese called Casatella.
Stefano was very surprised to hear that we sell white polenta. It's a local speciality. Definitely something to eat with Prosecco!