Prosecco: The Italian Sparkling Wine


There is no better way to celebrate a special event than with a glass of sparkling wine. All across the world people turn to sparkling wine in moments of great celebration, be it holidays, birthdays, or any momentous occasion. The French have Champagne, which is named after the region in which it is made. The Spanish have cava, which is named after the natural caves in which the wine ferments. Anywhere else we call wine that bubbles sparkling wine. Italy's version is Prosecco or what I like to call the wine of sheer joy.

Prosecco is a white wine made from grapes of the same name. It is one of the most armoatic wines that you will ever try. And its taste and finish are crisp, clean, and refreshing. This year I'm drinking Prosecco for New Year's Eve and I have many reasons why. It is affordable, extremely flavorful, very elegant, and it's easily a crowd-pleasing drink. Prosecco is a wine that not everyone is familiar with, but it is a wine that is easy to adore.

Prosecco is produced in the Veneto region of Italy, of which Venice is the capital. It originally was produced as a still wine, but somewhere along the way fermentation was introduced into the process, and a sparkling wine was created. Today we would not recognize the original Prosecco as a sparkling wine, because the bubbles were very soft and delicate. Many Prosecco wines produced today have vigorous bubbles. The lightly sparkling version is called frizzante and the fully sparkling version is called spumante. Either is very nice. It's personal preference that dictates which you choose.

To achieve the bubbles in Prosecco, the wine is fermented in stainless-steel vats. This method, called Charmat, is very different from how French Champagne is produced, which is fermented in the bottle. Many sub-par sparkling wines are fermented in vats, but none has the unique qualities of Prosecco. The finished product is straw-colored with tiny bubbles and an aroma of citrus, peach, and melon. The flavor is crisp and clean and it's the type of wine that goes with pretty much every type of food. Enjoy it as an aperitif or pair it with a host of appetizers at your New Year's Eve party.

This year I picked up a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco, which is made in Treviso in the Veneto region. It is designated a D.O.C. wine, which means the wine's origin and name are officially protected. This designation is more commonly used today than previously before. This brut Prosecco is on the dry side of the sparkling wine spectrum, but the characteristic sweetness of the grapes is still discernible. The aroma is that of golden apple, pear, and white peach. The flavor is nutty and lemony. It makes for a great aperitif or appetizer to mild cheeses and prosciutto. This sparkling wine is truly an Italian favorite.