Thursday, May 16, 2019

Naked Vine Double Barrel: A Pair of Prosecco

Not long ago, I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with my Wizardly brother-from-another-mother and his lovely wife, the Breaker of Chains. They'd been in the market for some new furniture -- and when it arrived, I popped by their place to help them do a little interior redecorating.

Since it was mid-afternoon and any sort of design work goes better with alcohol, I brought along a couple of bottles of Prosecco to sample side-by-side. After all, a new comfy sofa is a perfect excuse to crack some bubbly, no?

Prosecco, and sparkling wine in general, has been on a bit of a domestic tear over the last several years. Once largely a celebratory bottle, sparkling wine's showing up as an "ordinary day" beverage more often, driven in a great part by Millennials embracing bubbly. (Since sparkling wine goes wonderfully with anything fatty, avocado toast is a great Prosecco pairing.)

Prosecco has led the way in driving this sales increase, eating into the market share of both Cava from Spain and many domestic sparklers. Sales of the stuff were up almost 25% in 2018, and that trend seems to be holding.

What is Prosecco? To nod at the last couple of columns here, Prosecco is an Italian wine region not far from Venice. For many years, however, the grape from which the wine is made was also referred to, somewhat incorrectly, as Prosecco. The proper varietal name, Glera, is now the primary referent.

Like most sparkling wines, Prosecco can be produced in any number of styles -- from dry to sweet -- based on the amount of residual sugar left after fermentation. There's no need to guess about the level of sweetness. You'll see one of these terms, from driest to sweetest, on the label:

Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Demi-Sec.
Yes, you're reading that correctly -- Extra Dry is slightly sweeter than Brut.

Extra Dry and Brut are the most common styles, and those were the bottles that I brought over for our little design session. We had these to sample:

Tenuta Sant'Anna Prosecco DOC Extra Dry
Bacio Della Luna Prosecco DOC Brut

We tried them side-by-side, first on their own and then as the backbone of mimosas.

The Tenuta was a very easy-drinking bubbly, full of peaches and pears. The Bacio leaned more in a apple and peach direction. On their own, we all preferred the Bacio for its crispness and its more pronounced flavors. "The sparkle makes the flavor really pop," noted the BoC.

As for making mimosas, and I find this to be true with almost all sparkling wine, the extra dry version tends to make for a better balanced cocktail. That little bit of residual sweetness allows the various flavors in a cocktail a little more of a platform to strut their stuff. I thought the Tenuta also would have been a particularly strong choice if you're a summertime chugger of Aperol Spritzes.

You should be able to find either of these wines for just north of $15. Either of them should take care of your bubbly needs nicely.

1 comment:

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