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Klaus-Jurgen Kurten

A wine expert reveals the top wine trend you should be embracing (and the one worth leaving behind)

By LLM Reporters on 20th September 2016

Words by: Barbara Pavone

It was 1887 when master winemaker Francesco Mionetto first began producing wine in the heart of Italy’s Conegliano-Valdobbiadene D.O.C.G. region, known for being home to the renowned Glera vine. Now, nearly 130 years later, Mionetto’s passion for crafting Prosecco is as strong as ever and the vineyard’s wines are being exported to over 40 countries.

Among those, of course, is the United Kingdom, the top importer of Prosecco in the world. Believe it or not, Brits are responsible for buying one in every five bottles of all Prosecco produced! What’s more, consumption in the U.K. increased by a whopping 48 per cent between 2014 and 2015 alone and today, the Italian sparkling wine has surpassed Champagne in sales and popularity.

As part of Prosecco’s continued global expansion, Mionetto recently set its sights on Canada, which is precisely where we met Klaus-Jurgen Kuerten, a leading wine expert, Henkell export director and Mionetto brand ambassador. The official launch of the Prestige Collection Prosecco DOC Treviso in Montreal seemed like the perfect opportunity to sit down with Kuerten and try to unearth some insider knowledge, including the top wine trend we should all be embracing, as well as the one we should be leaving behind.

The Prestige Collection Prosecco DOC Treviso
The Prestige Collection Prosecco DOC Treviso

What is your No. 1 tip for selecting the perfect wine?

My No. 1 tip would be to select a wine that fits with the season (winter or summer), the mood of the day or the food you have on your plate. Sometimes, I like to toast with a glass of sparkling wine or to enjoy a glass of Champagne, but at the moment, my No.1 choice is Prosecco.

Prosecco is a versatile wine that combines simplicity with outstanding quality and is perfect for all kinds of occasions. Its versatility is enhanced by its main qualities: It is light with fruity notes, suitably rich in flavour and extremely pleasant.

All these qualities make Prosecco a fine example of Italy’s own particular world-renowned brand of joie de vivre and its ability to bring high quality and pleasure to a large audience, whether you are an aficionado or a casual drinker.

MionettoLaunch
Mionetto’s various Proseccos are available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Amazon

Can you share some of the top traits that, in your opinion, make a wine truly great?

Every category has its own traits that make a wine a great wine. What for a Champagne is the long fermentation and ageing process is for Prosecco the freshness and fruitiness of the grapes. In my personal opinion, the combination of the components subsoil, the climate, as well as the single grape on its own, lead to the special traits of each wine.

Is there a trend you find to be overrated in the wine world at the moment?

One overrated trend is orange wines. Orange wines differ so strongly in terms of appearance, smell and taste from other wines due to their special production process and are therefore a real specialty. If this specialty fits a worldwide taste [and has the ability to] become a real trend is so far questionable.

The Prestige Collection Prosecco DOC Treviso
Prosecco is a versatile wine that combines simplicity with outstanding quality and is perfect for all kinds of occasions

On the flip side of that, is there a current wine trend that deserves much more attention?

Even though the Prosecco category is growing, it still deservers more attention. A lot of consumers might associate Italy and its way of life with the word ‘Prosecco’ rather than the terroir story and vintage variation. We have observed that many customers are not completely aware of the different qualities across the various Prosecco segments and facts about Rive subzones and cru varieties, like Cartizze.

In Italy, the home of Prosecco, there is obviously a more extensive and deeper rooted culture, but in spite of this, although the D.O.C.G. and D.O.C. denominations are recognized as a guarantee of quality, a distinction is not often made between the two. It is essential to keep going along the path of education to promote and impart knowledge about the various qualities of the different types of Prosecco, starting with their origin and the production zones and subzones.

Mionetto’s various Proseccos are available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Amazon and more.

Photos courtesy Mionetto/Laura Amini