From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve the holiday season brings ample opportunity to gather with family and friends over meals and celebration. Here’s a few recommendations when it comes to toasting those occasions with a sparkling wine that’s budget friendly. Prosecco is an easy choice.
Prosecco is prized for its pop and its price-point. The glera grape and the the steep hillside vineyards of the Prosecco DOCG or Denominazione di origine controllata are centered in the region of Veneto’s Treviso province. Prosecco DOC though can be grown from a broader region that stretches from five different provinces in Veneto and four different provinces in Friuli. There have been Prosecco-pretenders produced the world over from Australia to Brazil but do not be fooled. Northern Italy is Prosecco’s proper home.
The wine is produced in a method that is contrasted from Champagne in that instead of allowing the secondary fermentation (where the bubbles come from) to take place in the bottles, the Italian or Martinotti method used in Prosecco is to have secondary fermentation take place in tanks or autoclaves. The resulting wines don’t carry the yeasty and bread character often associated with Champagne but are instead, fresh, fruit forward and bright.
Here’s an outstanding link from the blog Wine Folly that demonstrates the distinction between sparkling wines.
Not all Prosecco is created equal, and this bottling from the DOCG of Valdobbiadene-Conegliano shows why. The Glera grape’s true home is in these steep hillside vineyards. Savory herbal notes mix with cut pear and apple, and the classically floral elements that make Prosecco one of the great sparkling food wines of the world.
From eight different certified organic vineyards around Valdobbiadene comes a bright, fruity prosecco. The beautiful hills of the Prosecco DOC are laughably steep and imagining the care that must goes into these organic sites, given what is already a labor intensive process. Aromas of citrus and a crisp, clean palate loaded with stone fruit flavors make this one a natural with all those Thanksgiving side dishes.
This Prosecco bottling from the well known makers of Vermouth, and just about anything else is a blend of Glera with Verdiso, Bianchetta, Chardonnay and Pinot. The aromas are all about fields of flowers, as well as hints of fresh herbs. The palate is lean and light and it’s a perfect palate cleanser between dishes.
From vineyards in the Treviso province, this is an especially elegant Prosecco. Aromatics of flowers, fruit skin and there’s even a hint of sweet fruit. The palate is a really nice balance of crisp citrus and rounded stone fruit flavors with a cutting acidity that’s going to shine, even through grandma’s gravy.
A bit lower in alcohol the Da Luca Prosecco highlights hint at the sweet notes that Glera can produce. Aromas of pineapple and passion fruit, and hints of honeysuckle. The palate is light, with a touch of sweet tropical fruit, and a zippy acid.
From the foothills of the Dolomites in Treviso this is quite a pretty Prosecco. Ruggeri makes a number of higher end, site specific Proseccos as well. There’s an elegance and freshness to this wine that is not standard. White flowers and jasmine aromatics, and apricot skins. The palate is fresh and delicate with a mix of honeydew melon, lime zest and the acidity leaves your palate refreshed and ready for the next course.
Perhaps best known for their wines from the Valpolicella region, and Amarone in particular, the Tomassi wine holdings also include a plot of thirty five year old glera vines in the heart of the Prosecco DOCG. The bottling takes place outside the DOCG and so the label cannot list it as a Prosecco Superiore even though the pedigree of the fruit is from just outside Valdobbiadene. This is a very fine example of Prosecco with a floral accent along with sweet hay and ripe stone fruit aromas. The palate is weightier than one might expect, yet it maintains its freshness. Apple and pear flavors and even a slight note of almond make for a classy Prosecco that makes a serious case for the quality that can be found from the region.