Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It was written by Arash Tafakor.
Simply put, Prosecco is an Italian White Sparkling wine. But many customers do not know exactly what Prosecco is other than it’s Italian, it has bubbles and they like it.
Prosecco sales have soared in the United States the past 10 years, and in 2013 worldwide sales of Prosecco topped Champagne sales for the first time ever. Prosecco’s light body, citrus flavor profile, off-dry nature and affordable prices make it a much more approachable every day sparkler than Champagne.
So what is Prosecco?
Prosecco is made in the Northeastern regions of Italy with a grape named Glera. Dating back thousands of years to the Ancient Romans, the Glera grape was widely used to make still white wine until the 20th century when secondary fermentation was discovered.
Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is made with a method of secondary fermentation (what creates the bubbles) called the Charmat method. Instead of the labor intensive and time consuming Champagne process of secondary fermentation occurring in the bottle, Prosecco undergoes secondary fermentation in large stainless steel tanks which greatly reduces costs. The end product is a vibrant, fruity, low in alcohol, affordable sparkling wine that is meant to be consumed young and fresh.
For around 10-15 dollars you can get a Prosecco that offers delicate fruit and enticing aromas. On the palate you can expect Prosecco to deliver ripe assorted apple, pear, citrus and often some nutty flavors. Since most Prosecco is on the drier side and inexpensive they are also perfect for mixing with orange juice, grapefruit juice and especially peach puree to make a famous Italian Bellini. Next time you are hosting a brunch and need a mixing sparkling wine for Mimosas, the smart choice is Prosecco.
You can also pair Prosecco with a variety of foods. Traditionally used as an aperitif or by itself, Prosecco pairs well with most cheeses and light charcuterie as well as seafood, Asian fare, Spicy food and creamy Italian sauces. Prosecco is a very forgiving food friendly sparkling wine option.