Most of us only drink Champagne once a year but every so often I like to break out a bottle of bubbly just for the heck of it. Why only have it once a year? I say every day is a celebration! A couple years back while in Italy, I discovered Prosecco. It’s not as bubbly as Champagne and has a bit of a milder, sweeter taste to it. Champagne, as many people probably know, only comes from the southern region of France, in the town named, obviously, Champagne. Anything else is sparkling wine. Prosecco is, what I like to think of as the Italian version of the bubbly and comes from the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area of Italy (north of Venice).
Prosecco is actually the type of grape, harvested late in the fall, which is used and grown in the Veneto region of Italy. The name Prosecco is now protected under European Union laws. Anything not made by the Prosecco grape in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region cannot be called Prosecco. And they’re pretty serious about it. They’ve got rules and everything.
Now, up until a few years ago, it was hard to come by a bottle of Prosecco at the liquor store. But nowadays you have your pick of a few different varieties, all within a pretty decent price range. Here are a few Prosecco suggestions you can pick up at your local LCBO (prices are approximate and might vary from store to store).
Astoria Prosecco La Robinia ($11.10)
Bottega Vino dei Poeti ($13.10)
Cantina Sociale Valdobbiadene ($13.65)
Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene ($15.95)
One of the more famous drinks that includes this Italian bubbly is the Bellini, a cocktail made famous by Harry’s Bar in Venice, one of Hemingway’s haunts (where didn’t this guy hang out and drink??). Anyway, in 1948 Giuseppi Cipriani, a bartender at the bar, was so inspired by the colours used by Giovanni Bellini (a real important art guy in 15th century Venice) that he created a drink in homage to them. Mixing fresh white peach puree and Prosecco, a cocktail sensation was born. A tip to making this refreshing mix is pouring the peach puree into the tall fluted glass first then adding the Prosecco.
Once in while I mix it up a bit by adding other pureed fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or even all three. During the summer months, when I’m at the local market, I’ll pick up whatever’s in season. After pureeing the fruit, I divide it into Ziploc bags and throw them in the freezer, so the next time I have a Bellini craving I’m set!
One part peach puree
Three parts chilled Prosecco
Peel ripe peaches (usually white peaches), throw them into a blender and blend until smooth. Make sure to pour the peach puree into the glass first before adding the chilled Prosecco.
But whether you’re drinking Champagne, Prosecco or sparking wine it’s all good. It shouldn’t be set aside for a far off special day, but rather enjoyed in the moment or on a whim!