Prosecco, Italy's Sparkling Wine
Prosecco: dry, lemony, and bubbling, is Italy's answer to refreshing, well-made, sparkling wine. Created from predominately Prosecco grapes in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps, Prosecco is light, affordable, and fun.
Traditionally Prosecco was made as a soft, somewhat sweet wine with just a little fizz, but today's Proseccos are dry and very bubbly. Sometimes combined with a small amount of Pinot Blanc or Pinot Grigio grapes, Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method, the French method of making sparkling wine. The Charmat method allows the wine to go through the second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in individual bottles. No turning the bottles every day as in Champagne. The shorter, tank fermentation is preferable for Prosecco because it preserves the freshness and the flavor of the grapes.
Straw-colored Prosecco, with its overtones of citrus, melon, lemon, almonds, and honey, is a perfect summer wine. It is crisp and clean with small bubbles and pairs nicely with seafood - especially calamari and crabmeat, salads, and even all but the heaviest pastas.
Most Prosecco is at its best when consumed within three years of its vintage, but the highest-quality Prosecco can be aged for up to seven years.
Venetians consider Prosecco an ideal apperitivo or ombrette (pick-me-up). Prosecco is also delicious when combined with fresh peach juice to make Venice's most famous cocktail, the Bellini. Prosecco is very affordable when compared to her French or California sparkling cousins and is becoming more widely available in wine stores and restaurants in the United States.
By Sandy Mitchell