Upscale Prosecco: Perfect for Valentine’s Day
Many of the best Prosecco sparklers are now approaching the complexity and interest of Champagne. Of course, this is not an easy task, but there are vintners out there who relentlessly step up to the challenge.
It seems that the main focus for many brands is to create a Prosecco that is really dry. So dry in fact that an initial taste feels like it is zapping all the moisture right out of your mouth. But after a few seconds, there is a burst of flavor that is wonderfully complex.
One of these that does the “zap”, but with a softly refined twist, is Bisol’s “Cartizze”; a slightly off-dry Prosecco that is a family effort of many years in the making. This sparkler develops in the mouth first with soft dryness having a distant background of sweet. A sensation that is then accented with a vanilla quality, followed by oranges with a trace of pear. The “non-tacky” rich finish that follows is marvelous.
Notably, this Cartizze is a very well-done bubbly pair with light cheeses and crackers. Trader Joe’s Parmesan Crisps, topped with a bite of sharp cheddar cheese, work especially well. But this wine is a little too light for heavier appetizers like anchovies.
Because Proseccos are usually best when served really cold, the floral bouquet may be appreciated more by taking a sniff immediately after pouring, right before the fizz dies down. If possible, it would be advisable to serve this sparkler chilled to about 50 degrees to bring the bouquet forward perfectly.
If you have trouble finding their Cartizze, Total Wine has Bisol’s “Jeio” on sale for around $17. Jeio also has the really dry character, just minus the pronounced floral character. Proseccos from the Italy’s Cartizze region can be found at online sources for about $30-$40. For your Valentine, they’re worth it.
Note that all pricing levels of Italian Prosecco compare favorably with Champagnes costing almost twice as much. Plus, they usually do better than Champagne in the dry “fizz zap” department.
If you’ve got a long appetizer course in mind, Proseccos are ideal and will provide classy support for other wines paired with heartier things to follow. Of course, you can always hold one or more over for Valentine toasts at any time during the meal!