Wine 10: Prosecco

Wow, the past couple weeks have been busy, and included a trip to Las Vegas for a work conference. I flew out for the conference on a Monday morning, and got to start my [busy] work week off with this stellar view:

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Doesn’t it look so peaceful from 40,000 feet?

Once I arrived, I knew I was going to have to figure out how I’d get in a tasting while out of town. It posed a slight challenge, only because I knew I wasn’t going to a) have a corkscrew, b) finish a bottle of wine in my room, and c) not have a wine shop with a large variety at my disposal. Lo and behold, McCarran International Airport does in fact have a wine and liquor shop, so I was in luck! I made a bee-line to the ‘tiny’ bottles, and remembered I hadn’t yet featured a sparkling wine on the blog yet, which was perfect! I selected a mini La Marca Prosecco from Italy.

Let’s talk a bit about prosecco and effervescent beverages!

I think by now it’s common knowledge that any bubbly wine produced outside of the Champagne region in France cannot be called Champagne. Cava (Spain), prosecco (Italy), crémant (France), lambrusco (Italy) – these are all other types of sparkling wines, each with its own flavor profile and production method, as we find with any type of wine produced in different areas. Prosecco – made from the glera grape which mostly hails from Veneto, Italy – has a similar flavor profile to cava, as both tend to be a bit fuller on the fruit with higher acidity, but on the lower end of the body and sweetness spectrum (my kind of white wines!).

One of the wonderful things I like about bubbles – you’ll struggle to find a food pairing that won’t work with them. Because of their fizz, sparkling wines even pair well with fatty and rich foods as they help cleanse your palate. Prosecco, specifically, pairs well with Asian dishes and fruity dishes due to its balancing nature, and even works with more interesting vegetables – think asparagus, artichokes, etc. – that are tough to pair a wine with. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong by choosing a sparkling wine! I also learned that prosecco is the original sparkling wine used to make the Bellini cocktail, and I’m sure it tastes other-worldly when you drink it in Italy versus here in the US.

Generally, prosecco boasts dominant flavors of green apple, honeysuckle, pear, and even cream. It can also carry some citrusy aromas and flavors.

Prosecco is made using the tank, or charmant, method. This particular method yields medium-sized bubbles, and has a lower pressure than what we’d find from Champagne. This method uses large tanks as the setting for the second fermentation, where the bubbles occur, rather than in the bottle. The awesome thing is that there aren’t just two ways to create sparkling wines – there are several, and you can see somewhat side-by-side comparisons of the processes on Wine Folly’s site.

Anyway, onto the tasting, which was a bit more rushed than I normally allow (and also, I had a limited amount of prosecco to pour myself for the tasting…sparkling goes down so easily!).

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Comparison of size, glass, and pool at the Venetian hotel! Forgive the bad lighting.

In this cute little bottle, I had my itsy-bitsy La Marca Prosecco split (yes, they call it ‘itsy-bitsy’ on their website!), perfect for a Tuesday evening, as they suggest. I know I sort of covered in a previous post what this means, but this prosecco is DOC. The distinction ensures some consistency regarding percentage of grapes used in order to be called a certain type of wine, and also can indicate which methods and sourcing are used. The sticker indicating as much also ensures that nothing else was done to the wine after bottled.

You can see I had limited glassware to use (so glad I at least had a wine glass to pour into!), but prosecco is recommended to be drunk from a tulip-shaped glass, which will help the aromas open up while retaining the bubbles.

Once I cracked it open – no fun cork to pop with the itsy-bitsy bottle! – I poured into the glass. Here we go:

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As compared to the white lampshade.

Appearance: The wine was a light straw color, with hints of gold flecks but overall, delicately colored. You can see the bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass.

Nose: Though slightly salinic smelling at first, this wine was light and airy. I picked up on some light citrus and grass notes that dispersed around the glass.

Taste: As expected, the prosecco was so refreshing, perhaps accentuated by my staring out at a pool! Ah, to be pool-side and sipping this would be lovely!! The dominant flavor I got was apples, followed by light pineapple and a bit of hay. The bubbles were fuzzy – not too abrasive, but persistent. I didn’t pair this with anything except a call to my mom about our upcoming Napa trip, so can’t really comment on its ability to be magical with a variety of foods (but I’ve had it before, and would definitely recommend this!).

Overall: Just what the doctor ordered for a busy week. It was light and delicate, perfect to pair with some R&R, as the bubbles sort of helped erase any stresses of the day. I know La Marca is one of those readily available proseccos on the market, and I would say I now know why – it’s a good standard. I’d be interested to compare this to other, lesser known options, but it’s great to have a staple to turn to.

Another post will be coming shortly, but until then, hope you enjoyed the lighter side of wines! If you have any other sparkling recommendations (varietal or specific vineyard/winemaker), comment on the post so I get ideas for the next one to feature!

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