Italian wines have a high-profile, and a ready market here in America, justifiably so. Their wines are so varied and so good, that somewhere, someone, makes a wine that is just right for the meal you have in mind.
Yet the wine called Prosecco might have drawn blank stares just fifteen years ago. Now, it’s an aperitivo in every Italian restaurant, a brunch favorite, and even a cocktail component. And this is no passing fad.
Why? Because on a hot day, a cold glass of fizzy Prosecco is pure refreshment, and as a bonus, is pleasantly affordable.
Prosecco is both the name of the grape and of the wine, which is made dry, either Spumante or Frizzante style, meaning more or less bubbles.
Where is it from? Northeast Italy, and nowhere else. Go north from Venice, to Treviso, past the valley of the Piave river, and into the foothills of the Dolomiti.
This hilly area called Conegliano-Valdobbiadene produces the most elegantly defined example of this grape. This is Prosecco Superiore DOCG territory. The local Consorzio has their own stylish website, prosecco.it, proudly listing their member-producers, and their festivals.
A fizzy pale golden color in the glass, it is delicate, crisp, and tart on the palate. Every sip is a moment of alertness, of exhilaration.
According to the venerable wine-writer Hugh Johnson, this is the fizz of Venice, where they prefer their wines sharp-etched. And now in summer, it’s my go-to refresher here in Pasadena too.
Pair with cold summer salads, such as crab and asparagus dressed lightly with lemon juice and olive oil, or for supper, with seafood risotto, Venezia style.