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Climbing the Prosecco Hierarchy: To Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze with Steamed Clams, Smoked Scallops, and Capellini #ItalianFWT

This month - July 2019 - I am hosting the #ItalianFWT group as we delve into tasting and pairing Prosecco DOCG or Prosecco Superiore. You can read my invitation to the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers here - You're Invited: Tanti Auguri (Many Wishes), Prosecco DOCG!!


Grazie Mille
I'm grateful for the event's sponsor, the Consorzio of Prosecco Superiore DOCG*, for sending some industry samples to the blogging group. I saw nearly three dozen informational sheets come through; I received three bottles and tracked down a fourth as I dove deeper into the wine. 'Prosecco Superiore' which is the official name of all Prosecco wines that are produced in the DOCG region; it is the highest quality Proseccos made, showcasing the Glera grape at its finest.

You can read more about the Consorzio's campaign to bring awareness to the United States here. And visit the Consorzio's website for more information about Prosecco DOCG. Grazie mille to Liz of What's in That Bottle? for sourcing the samples from the Consorzio.

Join the Conversation
If you're reading this early enough, please chime in on our live #ItalianFWT Twitter Chat. This Saturday - July 6th - at 8 o'clock AM Pacific time. You can follow the main hashtag (#ItalianFWT) and additional hashtags - #proseccosuperiore #coneglianovaldobbiadene #proseccodocg #proseccoelevated - and join in or search for it later and read all the posts.

The Prosecco DOCG Posts
Here's what the #ItalianFWT bloggers are sharing for the Prosecco DOCG Party...

My Explorations
Over the past few weeks, I've poured, paired, researched, and learned more about Prosecco DOCG. You can read about my first exploration here, where I looked at the difference between Frizzante and Spumante when I paired Perlage Winery's 'Riva Moretta' Prosecco Valdobbiadene Frizzante
with a cheeseboard.

Then I paired Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry from Prosecco Toffoli with roasted lobster and learned about the Martinotti Method.

And my third bottle was Cantine Vedova's Nebbia Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
with Seared Duck Agrodolce.

The Prosecco Hierarchy

What I learned was that not all Proseccos are created equal. I previously lumped all Prosecco into the 'Italian bubbles' category - which they are. But, before last month, I didn't realize that there is a hierarchy of those bubbles.  In fact, I'd never even heard of Prosecco Superiore much less Superiore di Cartizze.

But here's what I learned: Prosecco DOC is the base appellation for Prosecco. It's located within the region of Treviso. Prosecco DOCG, which is the focus of this month's #ItalianFWT event, is a smaller region comprised of three villages - Conegliano, Valdobbiadene, and Asolo. Prosecco Superiore Rive DOCG only applies to wines made from one of just over three dozen single vineyards in the Coneglio-Valdobiaddene district. And Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze DOCG is considered, by some, as the 'grand cru' of the Prosecco line-up. Given that I had never even heard of Cartizze, I had to trackdown a bottle!

Cartizze was officially recognized in 1969 when the DOC zone was established. It is comprised of just over 160 acres and lies on steep vineyards in the Valdobbiadene communes of San Pietro di Barbozza, Santo Stefano, and Saccol. Cartizze, derives from gardiz, a word in the local dialect that refers to the reed mat on which the grape clusters are placed to dry.

This wine was soft with nuances of summer stone fruit and subtle citrus. There were also hints of jasmine or honeysuckle. 

For me, the mineral salinity at the end contrasted this sparkler’s natural sweetness nicely and made it a good match for a savory dish.

Steamed Clams, Smoked Scallops, and Capellini

One thing I loved about the wine was the subtle saltiness and gentle citrus  that would be an ideal complement to clams and the sauce they naturally create when they are sautéed and steamed open.

Ad a nod to a traditional spaghetti alle vongole, I served a capellini dish with smoked scallops along with the steamed clams.

Steamed Clams

  • 2 pounds clams, soaked, scrubbed, and dried
  • 1 stick of butter, divided in half
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C prosecco or other white wine (I used some leftover wine)
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 C Sambuca or other licorice-flavored liqueur (you can use water also)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Also needed: toast for serving

Place 1/2 stick of butter in a large, flat-bottom pan with a lid. Add a splash of olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Heat until the butter is completely melted and foamy.

Add in the leek. Cook until the leeks are softened and beginning to caramelize. Deglaze the pan with prosecco. Once the prosecco begins to simmer, pour in the lemon juice and Sambuca (or water!) and place the clams in a single layer in the pan and add the remaining butter. Cook till the butter is melted, then, stir to combine. Cover and steam until the clams open. Check them after five minutes. They are cooked and ready when the shells are completely open. 

To serve, I divided the clams evenly into the bowls and spooned the sauce over the top. Offer slices of toast on the side. As you can see, there was nothing left but empty shells at the end of the dinner!

This has been an eye-opening month with a look at Prosecco Superiore or Prosecco DOCG. I will actually be attending a Prosecco DOCG luncheon in San Francisco soon and will report back on what I learn there.

And next month we'll be looking at the white wines of Northeastern Italy with Kevin of Snarky Wine. Stay tuned for more information about that. Cin cin.

Find the Consorzio
on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.


  1. Thanks for hosting! The steamers & Prosecco Superiore sound like the ultimate summer pairing!

  2. What great explorations! Thanks for the recipe for steamed clams to pair with the next bottle of Prosecco DOCG.

  3. Quite the feast! I wish I could prepare in advance farther than a week ; ) I'm not sure I've had a cartizze, but I know I've read a lot about them. Thanks for hosting!

  4. Oh my...I'm reading this as we drive home from vacation and my stomach actually growled long enough that Frank heard it LOL. Thanks so much for hosting this month Cam.

  5. All your pairings look divine!!! Did you have a favorite?
    Loved reading all your posts on Prosecco DOCG! (You must have a clone.)
    Thank you so much for hosting this month, a great theme.

  6. What an assortment of pairings! Everything looks good, but I'm such a sucker for shellfish, I'd probably pick the clams as my favorite.

  7. Great article and great chat. Was especially special to celebrate the 50th Anny. I loved all your pairings and recipes.

  8. Thanks for hosting Cam. Your food looks like the perfect pairing for that Cartizze.

  9. This was so much fun, thanks for hosting and thanks for the inspiration. You've always bring the boom!

  10. I don't know how you do it so consistently Cam...another mouthwatering post. We love seafood and I'm taking note of your recipe! Cin cin!


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