By Barbara Hay ~
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 worlds—a way to trade up by a few dollars for a better wine without springing for French Champagne. It’s 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 effervescence. 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.