By Celia Strong
Every once in a while something just happens at the right time for the right reason. Our wine this week is exactly that: A Prosecco that’s perfect for celebrating love.
To start with, let’s review Prosecco. For the most part, this is a sparkling white wine that comes from northeastern Italy. For several years, these wines have been a great alternative to more expensive Champagnes. (Prosecco wines do not go through their second fermentation that produces their bubbles in their bottles. A good way to keep pricing lower.)
We’ve always called the grape variety for these wines Prosecco, too. Truth be known, Glera is the correct name of the grape and it has to make up at least 85% of the wine. (Other allowed varieties are Verdiso, Bianchetta, Trevigiana, Perera, Glera Lunga, and, in some cases, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero.) Decidedly, just saying Prosecco is much easier. Glera is now recognized as the official name for this variety, though.
The first known mention of Prosecco was in 1593. Englishman Fynes Moryson, while visiting northern Italy, wrote: “Here growes the wine Pucinum, now called Prosecho, much celebrated by Pliny.” Apparently, Pliny was a big fan of Prosecco wine and rated it among the very best made in Italy. The name Prosecco first appeared in 1754.
Prosecco, or new name Glera, is a highly productive grape that ripens later in its growing season and has a high acidity level — a good thing for sparkling wines. Its aromas include white peaches, with some floral perfume notes. Usually these wines are medium-light to lighter bodied. Currently, about 150 millions bottles are made each year. Most of these wines are meant to be consumed about three to four years after they are made. Also, most Prosecco wines are extra dry, and are always served chilled.
Our wine this week is Cavicchioli Prosecco. For many years now, we’ve enjoyed Cavicchioli 1928 Prosecco. We all recognize it by its flowered bottle. 1928 was the year Umberto Cavicchioli first bottled wine with his family name on the bottle. Today, two of his grandsons are still part of the business. This wine is made from 100% Glera grapes, from the province of Treviso. The grapes are all hand-picked. Some of them under-ripe to be sure the wines have enough crispness and freshness from a bit of extra acidity. Vinification is done with the skins, over twelve hours. The first fermentation is done at chilled temperatures. And, the second fermentation is done with the Charmat method (This means in a sealed tank, in bulk, and then the sparkling wine is bottled under pressure to preserve the bubbles.) The wine has a creamy white foam when poured and a pale straw yellow color. It has aromas of peaches, almonds, flowers, and candied fruit, like lemon zest. Its bubbles are persistent and lively.
As an aperitif is the usual way most of us use this Prosecco. As well as for many cocktails, like bellinis. Cavicchioli offers us this seasonal specialty. Mix six ounces 1928 Prosecco, one ounce orange liqueur and one ounce cranberry juice. A poinsetta!
But, what’s so timely about this Prosecco right now? It’s a Valentine’s Day special bottle that is perfect for February 14! Plus, it’s perfect for any Valentine’s Ball events. Perfect timing. This limited edition bottle is available for a perfect $10.99.
Celia Strong works at Bill’s Liquor & Fine Wines on Lady’s Island.