Season’s Greetings to you all and I hope you had a lovely holiday filled with wonderful memories and plenty of delicious wine! As we begin to look forward to transitioning into a brand new year, it is time for me to find yet another opportunity to drink wine in its most exciting form: Sparkling. I believe in bubbles for any meal and any occasion (including no occasion at all), and I would like to shed some light on what I believe is an underappreciated style of sparkling wine; Prosecco, and more specifically, Prosecco Superiore.
Sparkling wine in any form must undergo a secondary fermentation in order to create those lively little bubbles that burst delicately at the top of your glass. The traditional method, or Methode Champenoise, was first developed, and is still employed, in the widely popular region of Champagne, France. This method is based on the idea of the second fermentation being done in the bottle, with much effort being put into ensuring each bottle is turned carefully throughout the fermentation and then disgorging the extra yeast from the bottle without losing the energetic new bubbles that have appeared within. This method creates the creamy, rich, taste and texture that is associated with the prestigious wines of Champagne.
Prosecco, in comparison, is made in what is called the Charmat, or Tank Method. This method employs the use of pressurized stainless steel tanks for the secondary fermentation and is much simpler for the winemaker to control temperature and ultimate filtering of the dead yeast from the final product. This process leaves Prosecco with a lighter, crisper finish and retains the tangy and fresh notes from the Glera grape that is found in all Prosecco.
The best rendering of Prosecco is found in the Prosecco Superiore zone which is located in the state of Veneto, just outside of Venice in the villages of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. While basic and inexpensive Prosecco is still delightful and easy to drink, Prosecco Superiore from these two villages offers more complexity, structure, and balance to the wine, which will leave you savoring each and every sip long after you have first tasted it.
It is also important to note that Prosecco Superiore is made in three different styles, all indicating how much residual sugar is left in the wine. From driest to sweetest, they are: Brut, Extra Dry, and Dry. This can be especially helpful when choosing Prosecco for a large group of people, each with their own expectations of how sweet they would like their New Year’s toast to be.
One of my favorite sipping Proseccos is Bisol’s Crede Prosecco di Valdobbiadene NV (New Vintage). Bisol is a respected and long-standing producer in the area and has many different designations of Prosecco to offer. I choose Crede when I want to get the most bubble for my buck, as it usually retails for around $20 and presents with beautiful aromas of apple, lemon, and ripe pear, with crisp minerality and delicate floral notes.
I hope you will find as much simple pleasure in a fluted glass of sparkling wine this coming new year as I often do…Cheers! *clinks glasses
Author// Esther Mullet is a Sommelier and dear friend living in Denver, Colorado. She previously worked as a Sommelier at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs and is currently employed at Barolo Grill in Denver.