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19 January 2006

Bubble Jones? Go Prosecco.

Bubbly_1You're jonesing for something bubbly, but don't have the coin for Champagne.  What to do?  You've got options: A) drink a soda/pop, B) make one of those 6th grade science experiment-volcanoes with vinegar and baking soda (you watch the bubbles in lieu of drinking them), C) take your bad self to the wine shop and ask for bubbles.  Chances are you'll be presented with one or more of the following sparkling supplements: Sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco.

Making your best scientific-looking face, you decide on Prosecco - because it sounds cool.  But what is Prosecco?  It's Italian sparkling wine.  Yeah, yeah; but what is Prosecco...really?

Prosecco, literally, is the name of a late ripening grape thought to have originated in northeastern Italy around a town called Prosecco - near Trieste.  Prosecco, generally, also refers to a style of bubbly made in Italy's Veneto.  Traditionally, Prosecco was lightly sparkling, slightly sweet and uncomplicated.  Like other European sparkling wine, Prosecco's creation was a bit of an accident.  Back in the day, Prosecco grapes were harvested late in the fall.  As the juice fermented, winter arrived an put the kabosh on fermentation - but not before the sugar eating yeasts had belched out a number of carbon dioxide bubbles.  Then as the wine cellar gradually warmed with the arrival of spring, fermentation started up once again, but without temperature control, this process went along in lurches and lunges (Think: the first time you tried to drive a car with manual transmission).  The end result was a rustic wine, with spritz , subtle scents of fruit & flowers and a little sweetness to go along with the Prosecco grape's characteristic high acidity.  It was simple sparkly stuff.

Then, in the late 1800's, along came the ominously-named 'tank method' for producing a whole helluva a lot of Prosecco at once.  Indeed, Prosecco-based bubbly became less variable, more predictably sparkly, and often, quite dry.  Nowadays, if you grab a bottle of Prosecco off the shelf, it could be really dry, sort of dry or slightly sweet.  Of course there are also Prosecco producers who attempt to Maserati-ify this wine and sell it for luxe prices.  I don't suppose there is anything wrong with that.  However, for me, Prosecco will always be the bubbly I break out on a Friday night, on a picnic, or to sip après lawn mowing.

I dig Maggie's Prosecco philosophy: "With Proseccos, you never know if they’ll be bone or off dry until you try. But the beauty is, if you don’t hit it off, you just add something else until you do.."  She indicates you can add all variety of juice, mixers and sugared cubes.  Great idea.  And even though it's mid-January, there aint nothing stopping you from throwing a little Prosecco mixing party tomorrow night.

Some Prosecco suggestions:

Finally, the question becomes, What do you add to your Prosecco?  Drop some mix-in suggestions for those of us fixin' to experiment with the Pro-Sek-O.

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I went to a restaurant that had a selection of house-made fruit syrups available for mixing. Delightful. It wouldn't be hard to do at home. If you've got a set of those vodka test-tubey shot glasses that you nestle in ice, that'd be a classy presentation.


I've always been partial to the way curaçao bleu looks in sparkling wine.

It tastes darn good, too.


Great party idea, Seth. I'm going to try some blood orange, mango-Pom, and fresh raspberries tonight. Just to see if I like any Prosecco mix-ins

Ali - Yup Curaço is the queen/king of visually stimulating liquer. Just wish I was actually on the Island sampling it..


I have so been doing the pauper Prosecco thing for the last 15 years. Unlike Cava, I rarely get an undrinkable one, plus sometimes they have really cute bottles where the cork is tied on with string!


Sam, we had a no-strings (although, I too dig the stringed ones) Prosecco mix-in sampling last night. And the winner was...

a squirt of blood orange. yummee.


Try a prosecco called Sergio and mix it with campari and triple sec on the rocks. Awesome aperitif!


that cocktail suggestion was a real winner, tried it last night, great suggestion. had it with a bottle "with string"...called Colli Trevigiani, not bad by any means.

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I went to a restaurant that had a selection of house-made fruit syrups available for mixing. Delightful. It wouldn't be hard to do at home. If you've got a set of those vodka test-tubey shot glasses that you nestle in ice, that'd be a classy presentation.

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