Greetings fellow wine drinkers,

For me, the winter holidays in SWF always signify the start of hopefully cooler weather (I’m ready, how about you?) I am always trying to find new ways to toast the celebration of holiday gathering with friends & family, office parties, and quiet nights at home with our loved ones. And hopefully you’ll find one of those ways to celebrate with a little holiday cheer!

There is a magical wine that always lifts my spirits when I get a little overwhelmed during the holidays and I get overwhelmed easily (let’s keep that to ourselves.) Of course I am speaking of Prosecco. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling white wine whose bubbly and fruity flavor takes me away to a celebration or a quiet peaceful place, it’s just that good.

Prosecco wine is produced in a very specific region in Italy, predominantly in the Trieste and Treviso regions of Italy, areas which border as far north as the foot of the Alps. Once again geography plays a major role in wine making capabilities. Made primarily from only one type of grape, the Glera grape dates back as far as Roman times and has been the predominate grape grown in North East Italy. The yellow, golden white grape is exceptionally sweet and has an appealing apple sweetness and fruity taste.

The magic of Prosecco comes in its fermentation process. The Glera grapes are harvested in early September, picked at their peak of sweetness, derived primarily from the change of season which produces weeks of warm days and cool nights. As with any white wine, the grapes are pressed and the skins are separated from the juice. Once separated, the juice gets introduced to yeast which starts the fermentation process. After an average of 15 days of fermentation, the wine is filtered and separated into the first press which becomes Prosecco Tranquillo, and then a secondary fermentation takes place for about 30 more days. The final product is cooled to stop fermentation when the balance is correct.

Although Prosecco has been around since Roman times, it wasn’t truly considered to be regulated or given DOC status in Italy till 2009. This makes it the youngest of the DOC wines in Italy, but given those regulations, produces a more controlled and sustained product. The main derivatives of Prosecco are Prosecco Frizzante, Spumanti and Tranquillo. The final product is allowed only 15% grapes other than Glera.

I enjoy drinking Prosecco on its own, however it can also be enjoyed with light desserts like Panettone, sponge cakes and light cheeses. I bet that Prosecco would go great with Angel food cake, as well. Sounds like a dessert is in my future!

Until next Month, as always remember that old friends, like old wine, always improve with age. Ciao!

Chris Bacus, co-owner Ciao