By Rick Riozza

Everyone in hot haven here is up for the most refreshing quaffs in town. We’ve covered some tasty vino white wonders lately, so why not keep things going!

And just in time and just what the ardent doctor ordered: The thirst-quenching, fun & festive Italian Prosecco sparkling wine.

Fresh and very light on the alcohol, Prosecco is a cheery wine that keeps everyone happy and sane during the simmering season. It’s a bubbly that is not sugary sweet but has some light fruit sweetness—barely, and carrying slight flavors of almonds and its tag-along touch of bitter tastes, keeping things interesting as we lunch and munch throughout the day.

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 year! But there’s just that je ne c’est quoi, or—shall we say in Italian—Non so di cosa si tratta, about that ever-popular Italian Prosecco.


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. The headline in a popular beverage journal states: “As Prosecco Pushes Past 4-Million-Case Mark, Marketers Aim For Trade-Up”.

The article continues: “While sparkling wine is showing impressive growth across the board, Prosecco is the category’s star, having posted an expansion that’s been nothing short of phenomenal in recent years. In 2015, Prosecco reached new heights, surpassing the 4-million-case threshold on 22.6% growth, according to Impact Databank. In the past two years, Prosecco has advanced by nearly 1.5 million cases—meaning that its incremental gain has nearly matched overall Champagne volume in the U.S.”

As is regularly the case when demand for a product grows, so does supply and choice. Often touted as an inexpensive, easy-drinking alternative to Champagne. With many Proseccos on the market, deciphering quality can be a challenge.

Interestingly, inexpensive Prosecco quite often trumps the inexpensive Champagne or sparkling wine on the market—so if you’re down to a few shekels and don’t wish to risk a headache, run with the Prosecco.

Fortunate for those who have a reasonable budget of around 15 bucks a bottle or so for a party play of Prosecco, I’ve got a trio of recommendations to keep the day’s joy and celebrations going:

Recently one of the most successful, family-owned winemaking companies in Italy, Zonin, “Vintners since 1821”, has come out with a line of Prosecco with the American palate in mind—the Dress Code Collection. Everything is still Italian—vineyards, grapes, winery, production, but the inventive winemakers are blending a bit more variance to the usual use of the “prosecco grape” otherwise also known as the “Glera” grape. Check out the fast video on www.

The “Dress Code Collection” strays away from what the family’s seven generations of winemakers have been producing since 1821 – Prosecco made from 100% Glera grapes.

Inspired to create a new concept of Prosecco, Zonin 1821’sDress Code’ blends the Glera grape with a maximum of 15% of other varieties, since the Italian DOC regulations allow for that. Each edition of the ‘Dress Code’ – the Grey, the White and the Black – is blended with a different grape varietal, creating a unique tasting profile and style for each.

ZONIN PROSECCO WHITE EDITION: 91% Glera & 9% Pinot Bianco cuvée. A sparkling wine of great freshness and versatility, where the strong aromatic notes of Glera perfectly mingle with the floral and fresh notes of Pinot Bianco.

This is the perfect summer quaff that is light, crisp, and thirst-quenching. Clean notes of delicate spring flowers and hints of tropical fruit show in the aroma and palate. Great pairing with spicy entrées, light dishes, or shellfish.

ZONIN PROSECCO GREY EDITION: 87% Glera & 13% Pinot Grigio cuvée. A sparkling wine with an unmistakable personality, where the intense aromatic notes of Glera perfectly marry with the fruity notes of Pinot Grigio.

This is a fun blend of your favorite “pinot grige” to the mix. Soft and also delicate with hints of apples and a light ginger finish. It’s the ideal “apero” at parties and pairs excellently with charcuterie and cheese boards, along with light seafood dishes. The key description here is smooth!

ZONIN PROSECCO BLACK EDITION: 90% Glera & 10% Pinot Noir cuvée. The powerful aromatic notes of Glera are accented by the finesse and the elegance of Pinot Noir.

I call this one, the “Black Tie” bottle since we’re running with a “dress code” selection. Just the bottle design alone reeks of Italian-chic, sleek & elegance. This is one of the more silky and creamy sparkling wines out in this reasonable price range. Very intriguing notes of apple, rose, and cardamom on the palate. It pairs wonderfully with seafood appetizers—especially crab cakes and salmon puffs, and sushi. Key words here would be charming, elegant, and seductive. This sparkling wine is a hit!

Actually all of the Dress Code Collection of Zonin Prosecco at around $15 are absolute hits for the summer season. And no doubt, when we move on to the holiday season, we’ll be looking forward to the morning prepping with Prosecco, as the bubbly keeps us happy and fueled during our kitchen projects.

Cheers to all! Saluti a tutti!

Rick is your somm-about-town conducting at wine events, tastings and restaurant venues. Contact