veneto, Italy

Umberto Marchiori

Umberto Marchiori and his family are a rare breed indeed - a small Prosecco producer. In a region dominated by mass-produced generic-tasting fizz, Marchiori wines really stand out.

He went to university 20 years ago with a mutual friend of ours, Carlos Rodriguez, which is how we got in touch. Funny how it took a well-travelled Spaniard living in Rioja to find me the real deal of Prosecco.

Umberto is the only producer in the region to use the traditional recipe to make Prosecco - from 5 grape varieties. These are Glera, Glera Lunga, Perera, Bianchetta and Verdiso.

This is exactly how the locals used to make it hundreds of years ago. Then Phylloxera and two world wars happened, so these ancient vineyards were ripped out in flavour of the high-yielding Glera grape.

The best Prosecco vineyards are high up in the hills - and Umberto only produces wines from the hills. He’s a big believer in biodiversity and his vineyards are teeming with wildlife.

His wines look as good as they taste, and you’ll find them right at home in Michelin-starred restaurants as the welcome wine.

Umberto proves charm beats cheap, every time.