Prosecco puts a spring in your step for National Bubble Week


The second full week of March is National Bubble Week, and although it more than likely refers to bubbles of the soapy kind, there’s no reason to salute the week with a few bubbles of your own in the form of Prosecco—a light and delightful sparkling wine.

Sparkling wine options were largely ‘cheap or pricey’ before Prosecco came on the scene in the nineties, it provided the best of both worldsa way to trade up by a few dollars for a better wine without springing for French Champagne. Its refreshingly low alcohol and pleasing whisper of natural sweetness were crowd-pleasing qualities that made it a hit with wine novices and occasion-only drinkers, making it a perfect choice for parties and celebrations.

Prosecco’s quality and price varies greatly according to where it is grown, how large the production per hectare or acre is and what happens to it in the winery. With a few rare exceptions, it is made by the charmat or bulk method, rather than fermented in the bottle as Champagne and many other sparkling wines are. The amount of time it spends on the lees—the layer of flecks of grape pulp and spent yeast cells that fall to the bottom of the tank—can make it crisp and fresh or rich and rounded.  

One perennial favorite is Lamberti Prosecco, a perfect apéritif for spring and summer (well, any time actually). It is ripe with notes of apricot skin, peach blossom and a slightly floral component without being overly fruity or off-dry. It is a perfect palate cleanser or refreshing glass any time  due to its easy-drinking personality and effervescences. It is also delicious with lighter dishes such as fruits, salads and shellfish which are particularly pleasing in warmer seasons.

Lamberti Prosecco has fruit  sourced from the best hillside vineyards across Treviso in the Veneto. Glera grapes are harvested slightly before full maturation to preserve acidity. The base wine is re-fermented in enclosed pressure tanks for the “prise de mousse,” utilizing the Charmat method for secondary fermentation, a method best suited to enhance the Prosecco grape’s aromatic qualities.

Lamberti’s appeal is not just in its  balanced, aromatic, crisp style defined by green apples, flowers and sweet spices., but in its price-to-quality ratio.

If you’d prefer something at a lower price point, Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is an authentic sparkling or “frizzante” wine also made from 100% Glera. Spago Nero means “black string” in Italian, so Riondo Spago Nero is named after the bottlle’s original black string closure, which is still featured on some of Riondo’s bottles. Riondo boasts fresh aromas of Golden Delicious apple, pear, and acacia blossom. There is a wonderfully soft and weightless mouthfeel opposed by very stern minerality. The persistent effervescence is followed by a crisp, clean finish. While delicate and fruity on the palate, this prosecco is the perfect choice to either sip by itself or mix to make a bubbly cocktail.

Prosecco is festive and can be the perfect pour at the beach, in someone’s backyard, a BBQ, picnics or by the pool, it’s not as ‘serious’ as Champagne because it has an orchard-fresh fruit character that’s simply friendlier on first sip,which is especially true in the absence of food.

So pop open a tasty Prosecco for National Bubble week and celebrate. I know I will.

 

Pink and sparkly wine for summer days.


 A Pink Prosecco? Well, not exactly. This wine is definitely pink and from Italy’s Prosecco region, but now that Prosecco now is protected by a DOC, only sparkling white wines produced in the regions of Friuli, Venezia, Giulia and Veneto in Italy, and traditionally mainly in the areas near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso, can be called Prosecco.

Imported to the Jersey shore by Barneget’s VE Raimo Brands  Costaruél’s cheeky pink Costaruél Rosé Cuveé Concerto is made from Raboso, a red grape. The Raboso grape is grown primarily in northeastern Italy around Veneto. This little-known grape is essentially the sister grape of the white Prosecco, and Costaruél uses it to make a similarly delicate sparkling wine. Unlike France, where the region controls the name, here the grape, Prosecco (or Glera), has created a name for itself and any non-prosecco grape grown in the region is simply out of the DOC.

This sparkler is something special—serve chilled, it feels light and refreshing, but because it is made from red grapes it holds up to heartier foods.

In the glass, it is a pretty shade of pink with pale copper reflections, the fine effervescent beads provide a golden sparkle to the wine. The aromas that greet your nose are elegant, dry and soft: fresh, mouth-watering strawberry and peach with just a hint of fresh herbs. The nose carries through to a crisp, prickly palate running rampant with fresh yet delicate, watermelon, red berries and a creamy mousse.

The first sip is a taste of sweet summer fruit backed with a tart tongue-tickling acidity. The subtle fruitiness is refreshing and leads to a crisp and dry finish.

This gentle pink is great served on a warm summer’s day as an apéritif prior to a barbecue, with hors d’oeuvres, summer salads, Sunday brunches, strawberries, cheesecake or as a special dessert.

You can also make a simple delicious Wine and Roses Cocktail using a 750ml bottle of Costaruél Rosé Cuveé Concerto and rose syrup. Pour four ounces of the sparkling Rosé into a Champagne flute, take one tablespoon of rose syrup and gently drizzle the syrup into the glass. It will trickle down to the bottom and create a pretty effect when served to delighted guests.

If you aren’t in the mood for pink, how about just sparkly?

Costaruél Prosecco Extra Dry would be a sparkler of choice, according to Vic Raimo, owner of VE Raimo Brands, he says says “Costaruél Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in Italy, perfect for beating back the summer heat. It is light, refreshing, low in alcohol and delicious.” He is also happy to announce that Costaruél Prosecco Extra Dry has won a Silver medal at this year’s Vinitaly competition in Verona, Italy.

Prosecco is Italy’s famous sparkling wine, and it is also the name of the white grape that is used to produce the bubbly. Costaruél Prosecco Extra Dry  hails from the Le Dolcirive Costaruél vineyards in the Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOC—situated between those two multi-syllabic towns some 30 miles north of Venice, and due north of Treviso.

Generally labelled as Prosecco, it is a sparkling wine made from the indigenous Prosecco grapes of this region. DOC Prosecco Appellation rules allow for up to 15% blend of other local minor varieties—Verdiso, Perera, Bianchetta and Prosecco Lungo. Costaruél Extra Dry Prosecco has some Verdiso—a grape discovered in 18th century. It increases acidity and gives more tangy flavor. As such it becomes more  important in hot years when the acidity tends to be low. The other grape in this blend is Perera—used to heighten the wine’s fragrance and flavors with its distinctive pear taste and aromas.

This pale straw-colored blend offers delicate fruit and enticing aromatics of granny smith apple, pear, some citrus and a dash of almond and gossamer bubbles.  The ripe mouth-watering flavors are of granny smith apples, followed by peaches, pears, some bready notes and gentle apricots. The fresh fruity palate shows forward acidity, warm fruit, honey, peach, green apple and citrus notes leading to a truly crisp long-lingering refreshing finish. This well-made wine has a luxurious edge, medium body, and some minerality to it, but it retains the playfulness Prosecco demands.

Perfect to pair with Prosciutto, stuffed mushrooms, creamy sauces, almonds, seafood, fried fare, spicy Asian entrees and even potato chips or buttered popcorn. This is a very forgiving, food-friendly sparkling wine option.

Prosecco is not meant to be aged, so drink it up!

Both wines have recently started appearing on local retailers’, if your favorite retailer doesn’t have it, ask them if they can order it for you.