Sunday, July 5, 2009

Celebratory beverage anyone?

As I go tonight to celebrate a friends recent engagement, I have a difficult time deciding what I want in my glass when I toast their future life together. I have never liked champagne all that much and will now refuse to pay the grossly bloated prices french makers get for their famous sparkling white. A great alternative to champagne is Prosecco, an italian variety produced mainly in the Veneto region just north of Treviso. The main difference between Prosecco and champagne is that Prosecco's second fermentation process is done in stainless steel as opposed to wood, making it much less expensive to produce. Prosecco comes in varying degrees of sweetness beginning with the least sweet Brut, then extra dry, and finally the sweet dry variety.

When enjoying Prosecco, treat it just like champagne; serve it chilled as an aperitif or mix it's sweeter varieties with orange juice for delicious mimosas. Be wary of one thing however. Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle like champagne does. This means that the younger the wine, the better it will taste. Without in-bottle fermentation, sparkling wines will spoil and taste horrible. If possible, try to consume your Prosecco within two years.

Sparkling whites are not my usual swill, so I have not tried a ton of varieties, but what I have tried I have liked. Here are a few label shots of my favorites. If you are a repeat reader of this blog, you will find that I, and I am sure many others, have a horrid time attempting to remember names of European wines if they aren't really impressive bottles, or good reds. (I have spent a good amount of time tasting and researching Spanish and Rhone reds, so be prepared for a steady diet of those fabulous regions.) So, I find it helpful to see the label on the bottle when I try to find it in a store. Don't worry, you will be getting plenty of bottles from me that you will remember the names of for YEARS!!!




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