“Success of Prosecco is due to its versatility,” stated Giulia Pussini, “[and] it has a long history [which] started in 1876. Production has improved, and success [has been seen with this style of wine] in the last two decades.” Essentially, Prosecco has enjoyed a global uplift in the last little while. Giulia was visiting from Veneto, the northeastern region of Italy, where she works for the Office of Communications and Events with the Consorzio Tutela del Vino. According to their website, the Consorzio, or Consortium, is “a private body created in the public interest and it groups together all of the categories of producers: vine-growers, winemaking companies and bottlers”. Their goal is to work in the areas of promoting, protection, and sustainability.
If you didn’t know already, wine lovers, Italy exports a lot of wine to Canada, and with those shipments comes the bubbles. In the most basic of terms, Prosecco is the sparkling wine of Italy, in the same way Champagne is to France or Cava is to Spain. Prosecco ranges from dry to sweet[er], and it is a very food-friendly wine.
According to Jim Ainsworth in his book, White Wine Guide: A complete introduction to choosing white wines, “Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene or Prosecco (as most people know it), is the sparkling wine Venice drinks. [It] can offer a dry and agreeable style, providing it is consumed while young” (145). While most wines offer potential for ageing depending on the style and quality, Prosecco is the perfect sparking wine for Friday night dinner parties, backyard BBQs, or romantic getaways with the one that makes you swoon. As stated in the Wine & Spirit Education Trust advanced textbook (2011), “These wines are meant to be consumed when they are young and fresh and do not benefit from bottle ageing” (215). My point? Prosecco is the memento mori of wines – the drink, live life, pair-with-your-favourite-food-and-enjoy kind of wine. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, and it’s available at your local liquor store.
“Prosecco is a wine that is easy to drink, so it has an easy approach. We are not comparing ourselves to Champagne. Our wine is easier [to approach] and makes people feel comfortable.” Giulia ensured that I understood that Prosecco is a wine to “drink with friends”.
And so one should.
As mentioned earlier, it is a wine that is very ‘accessible’. Prosecco, made predominantly from the Glera grape, is quite the chameleon. By that, I mean it pairs perfectly with international cuisine. Its characteristics revolve around it being fruity, floral, and fresh. Prosecco can be paired with light cuisine from soft cheeses to sashimi, or with heavier foods such as cream-based pastas to Asian noodle dishes. “Dim sum is a great pairing for Prosecco,” Giulia added, “[and] there are some nice Asian steamed vegetables to go with it”.
So beyond the food perspective, Prosecco has a huge market all over the world. Many Canadians drink Italian wines because they have been to Italy and have experienced the food, wine, history, and culture. For those who haven’t been to Italy, Giulia says that one can still experience Italy without the jet lag. Furthermore, she went on to say that the ‘Italian way’ around consumption of alcohol is based on maintaining presence related to the culture. Enjoying Prosecco essentially brings one closer to a tradition of wine that has been around for almost 150 years. “Sixty percent of our wine is sold within our country (Italy).” However, with approximately 1 million bottles of wine being shipped to Canada, there is plenty of opportunity to indulge in what Veneto wines have to offer.
Giulia suggests that folks “enjoy a wine that is a true expression of a culture, of a tradition, of a nice corner of Veneto” by trying out some bubbles to suit your plates and palates. If you’re wanting an extra-dry style of Prosecco, she recommended folks look for the term “classic” on the label.
Here are some of my suggestions for a great Prosecco experience:
Val D’Oca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG BRUT Black Bottle
Delicate, floral, and fruity, this Prosecco is a gorgeous example to try if you don’t have a lot of experience with this sparkling wine. It has a good mousse and offers a long-finish to go with that sunset. <wink>
~$25.00 Contact La Grotta Del Formaggio 604.215.0046 for more info, or you can check out Cioppino’s in Yaletown (Vancouver) for the Prosecco plus a great dining experience!
Terre Di San Venanzio Fortunato Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG BRUT Extra Dry
Although not available in British Columbia just yet, this Fluid Imports Inc. bubbly was one of my favourites to try. An intense bouquet with nectarine, Gala apple, and pomelo notes, I was in heaven. The palate was quite floral with hints of stone fruits. An excellent aperitif.
My suggestion is to get out and purchase a bottle of Prosecco; give it a go. If you’re not one for “off dry” wines, ask the wine shop clerk for a dry version. If you enjoy Prosecco, leave a comment and share what you enjoy about it. I’d love to hear from you. Keep an eye out on my Twitter feed for photos of more bottles and tasting notes.
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