By Rick Riozza
One of the great joys in the day’s Thanksgiving festivities is preparing for the afternoon or evening dinner where panoply of plates and platters array the holiday table. Everyone can envision that immediately. But that scene does not appear out of nowhere unless the entire thing was just delivered from a professional catering firm, or, in the case we’re portraying, it’s the result of a full morning or day of prepping—which, when family & friends, do-gooders and critics alike, are in the kitchen making a fun, maybe somewhat hectic, but a memorable celebration.
And there is no better “prepping wine” to keep that morning fueled-up than the Italian Prosecco sparkling wine. Fresh and very light on the alcohol, Prosecco is a festive wine that keeps everyone happy and enjoying their tasks. It’s a bubbly that is not sugary sweet but has some light fruit sweetness—barely, and carries flavors of almonds, and is just a touch bitter, which works really well as you’re munching through your projects.
Sparkling wines are so versatile; there is no question that we can all enjoy sparkling whites & rosés, Spanish Cavas, and French Champagnes throughout the entire banquet! But there’s just that je ne c’est quoi, or—shall we say in Italian—Non so di cosa si tratta, about holiday food prep and enjoying Italian Prosecco.
And , of course, remember the brut (non-sweet) sparklers are fresh-tasting, cleansing and work best to complement the hodgepodge of dishes on the table should you wish to continue with the bubbly for the meal—or indeed, the entire meal!
The recent boom in sales of Prosecco is a story that continues to generate great interest among both the trade and consumers in the US. As is often the case when demand for a product grows, so does supply and choice. With many Proseccos on the market, deciphering quality can be a challenge, and is often touted as an inexpensive, easy-drinking alternative to Champagne.
Now for this 2015 Thanksgiving, we’re going to treat ourselves. Usually, we recommend picking up around three or four bottles of an inexpensive or reasonably priced Prosecco—which can always be found at Trader’s Joe’s—for the kitchen prep. And that’s still a good idea to keep the pantry helper’s glasses filled. But now that we have an appreciation for the stuff, let’s indulge with a higher-end quaff.
There are producers in Italy’s Veneto region producing high-end Prosecco with many characteristics that distinguish it from other brands. Bisol (www.bisol.it) is one of the winemakers spearheading this constant pursuit of quality.
The Bisol family has been making Prosecco in Valdobbiadene for nearly 500 years, and they have spent that time perfecting their craft.
Two excellent wines I’m serving this season and heartily recommending is the youthful Jeio Prosecco DOC, around $17, and the single-vineyard Bisol “Crede” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior DOCG at $25. These wines can be found at Total Wine & More in Palm Desert.
No one is breaking the bank on these items and it’s the perfect time to enjoy a little end of the year “splurge”. Any true wine enthusiast will readily agree the price is worth both the experience, and, the delight of sharing some fun and thoughtful wines for the holidays.
Bisol’s varied product line includes Jeio Prosecco DOC , produced with grapes from the low-lying hills of the Veneto. This beautiful straw yellow Prosecco has a refined balance between acidity and minerality. The floral bouquet of apple, apricot and fresh meadow flowers complements the fruity flavors and dry finish. Jeio’s fresh, youthful character is a great start to the holiday meal.
If you were to compare the Jeio to the inexpensive Prosecco, it would be a wonderful lesson in wine appreciation. There’s an immediate realization that the slightly more expensive Prosecco is improved up on every level of acidity, minerality, fresh fruit nuances, and balance by the better producer. It’s like we learned the differences with excellent Champagne and the cheaper versions.
The single-vineyard Bisol ‘Crede’ Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is produced from the Glera grape varietal, together with touch of Pinot Bianco and Verdiso grapes grown on the steep south-facing hills of Bisol’s vineyards in Valdobbiadene. It is a brilliant yellow-green color wine with a fruity bouquet that is reflected in its flavor of green apples and pears with balanced acidity. And at only 11.5% alcohol, it’s the wine that fills the perfect day.
This Crede is the Prosecco to calmly sit with and enjoy. By itself or with holiday meals, this is the wine that makes one feel grateful: both humbly as we take in the experiences of the entire year with family and friends, and, as we have the opportunity to experience the finer things in life. A Champagne of this quality would cost in the neighborhood of over $70. This Bisol at $25 is such a fine-tuned and tasty Prosecco at a great value.
Bon Appétit and Cheers!
Rick is the valley’s “somm-about town” and continues to entertain and conduct at various wine events, tastings and restaurants. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org