Dignified Prosecco

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Primo Franco, now a white-haired Prosecco statesman, recalls the moment the world changed for him.

More than 35 years ago, he was dining at legendary chef Gualtiero Marchesi's Milan restaurant. A customer had left an unfinished bottle of classic white Burgundy, and Marchesi offered it to Franco.

"Gualtiero said, 'Would you like a glass of Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 1969?'"

"I said, 'Why not?'" Franco shrugs.

Today in his Nino Franco winery in Valdobbiadene, Franco doesn't even try to describe the complex sensations, flavors and feelings he experienced with that glass, though he says it changed his life. At the time, Italy's white wines didn't reach the quality levels they do today, and he had never tasted anything like it.

The Montrachet convinced Franco, a young Prosecco négociant and winemaker working for his father, that Prosecco deserved more. "I wanted to give Prosecco a different dignity," he says. "I decided that a great sparkling wine must first be a great still wine.  Read the full blog (free) at winespectator.com