Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bubbles and all its glory

As the New Year has come, the proper way to celebrate the moment between one year and the next is to break open the bubbly.

And so this year I found myself with a bottle of Prosecco. Prosecco is an Italian wine – generally a dry sparkling wine – made from a variety of white grape of the same name. The grape is grown mainly in the Veneto region of Italy, traditionally in an area near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso.

Champagne is the traditional sparkle of choice to bring in the new year, or get rid of the lingering memory of the old year. Champagne however has become extremely expensive, and more party hosts have chosen more alternatives such as Cava from Spain, Sekt from Germany, sparkling wine from California or Prosecco from Italy. Many examples of each of these bubblies are very tasty and perfectly good substitutes for any New Year’s Eve party.

Prosecco is made sparkling by the Charmat method, where the second fermentation (the one in which the bubbles are created in the wine) occurs in steel tanks as opposed to the Champagne or traditional method of having the second fermentation occur in the same bottle in which it will be pouring into your glass.

The Prosecco I tasted was from Cinzano. The grapes were from the Colline trevigiane region in the Veneto appellation of Italy. The Cinzano company started in 1757 with two brothers, Giovanni Giacomo and Carolo Stegano Cinzano. They started their business in Turin, creating vermouth. According to their current importer (Palm Bay International), the Savoy monarchs requested of the Cinzano’s that they create a sparkling wine to emulate French Champagne in the early 19th Century. That resulted in the creation of Cinzano Sparkling wines in 1850. Gruppo Campari currently owns Cincano, having purchased the company in 1999.

I opened the bottle on New Year’s Eve with Julie and Leah and it was a beautiful wine! We opened the bottled at 5 minutes to midnight so that we could toast at the appropriate second and I do not think we could have brought in the new year with a better beverage. It had very pleasing small to medium size bubbles and the nose was a tantalizing pear and yellow apple. The taste was light and crisp in the mouth, just begging for another taste and another and another.

Full disclosure, I received this wine as a sample.


jason said...

I am in that most party host category searching for cheaper alternatives. Couple that with being a fan of Trader Joe's and I found some offerings for less than $6 that were well positioned to help us ring in the new year and even better so to help us navigate the times ahead. To stay on the theme of this post the Zonin Prosecco ($6) shows floral and citrus on a dry bubbly backbone. Another worthy of note is the Schloss Biebrich Sekt ($5) from Germany which is a bit ligether but loaded with crisp, white fruit notes. Not sure if you want to brave the TJ's wine line in NYC but would be interested to hear your thoughts in comparison to the Prosecco here. What is the retail on that one?

Rob Bralow said...

Yeah, Trader Joes has some great stuff but the crowd is a killer. I actually haven't been able to find the Cinzano Prosecco, I think it might be new to the market. I received the wine as a holiday gift.

helen said...

Just an FYI for your readers - BevMo currently has this on-sale at their 5 cent wine sale.|0

Rob Bralow said...

Thanks for the heads up Helen. I let my friends on twitter know.

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