I know you like wine with bubbles. No matter what it is called. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Sparkling Wine, just put some in a glass and smiles break out all over the room. While we all may not agree on many things, but we all agree that bubbles are special.
Not only do bubbles add a flair to wine, they keep things interesting and versatile. Whenever the challenge of what wines pair with what foods, bubbles are almost always the right answer, or at least an answer. Beginning of the evening? Bubbles. End of the evening? Bubbles. Special occasions? Bubbles. Down in the dumps? Bubbles.
See how easy wine appreciation can be? It’s not complicated, snooty, nor hard. Pop open a bottle of bubbles and let the mood take you wherever you want to go.
Over the past couple of years, while the real deal – Champagne – has been rising in cost, the bubble machine from Italy has been cranking it up. Excellent quality, fine values, and not at all expensive. I don’t think anyone saw this coming, certainly not the makers of Prosecco.
For many years, the winemakers of Prosecco – located between the northern Italian towns of Verona and Venice in the northeast area of Italy – have labored to achieve consumer acceptance for their wines. But, alas, the general public found the wines lacking in character, too sweet, not well-made and not fun. Pricing was cheap and so was the perception of the product.
But these were Italians with heritage and pride, rthey figured they could do the work so why not? Now we have many Proseccos on the market that rival the lesser value Champagnes, and are priced to compete with sparkling wines from America and Cavas from Spain. As an aside, I think what is being accomplished in Prosecco will be emulated by Spain. The Cavas have ceased to be the price-value bargains they were in the early part of this century. The Spanish have a little work to do to catch up with the Italians.
Anyway, what you have done is last year purchased 307 million bottles of Prosecco, while you purchased 304 million bottles of Champagne. Whoa! Look who is in first place!
Americans, 18 million of us, now drink bubbles at least once a week. And signs of abatement are nowhere to be found. This consumer’s trend is on a steep slope up.
To be clear, while many wine lovers still have a thought that Prosecco is sweet, many of these wines are not. And many of these wines are made in the same process as Champagne, methode traditionelle, which means the second fermentation, the one that creates the bubbles, takes place within the bottle you buy. Still the vast majority of Proseccos are made in the Charmat Method, which means the second fermentation takes place in large sealed tanks.
Also, stick with the Brut designation, noted on the label, for Prosecco to avoid the too-sweet aromas and flavors that may have turned you off in the past. Anything else is likely to be too sweet, unless your palate likes more sugar.
With St. Joseph Day right on us, seems like a good time to suggest Prosecco and Prosecco cocktails. Then again, the fresh, delightfully clean taste of Prosecco is pleasant all on its own at any time. Here are some intriguing directions for involving Prosecco in your celebrations.
25ml Opihr spiced gin
25ml Passion fruit syrup
Add the gin and passion fruit syrup to a glass and top up with Prosecco. Garnish with half a passion fruit.
Rhubarb and Orange Bellini
200g new rhubarb – choose the thinner pink stalks – cut into 2cm chunks
Zest of half an orange
One segment of star anise – optional
1. Place all the ingredients (except the Prosecco) into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the rhubarb is soft.
2. Strain through a fine sieve, return to the pan and simmer until reduced to a thin syrup.
3. Pour a tablespoon of the syrup into each glass and top up with Prosecco.
The Chase Elderflower Fizz
Chase elderflower liqueur
Brut Prosecco 120 ml
Summer berries or garnish.
Pour the Prosecco into a champagne flute or wine glass until full and add a dash of elderflower liqueur to taste.
25ml Bloom premium London dry gin
10ml peach juice,such as Funkin Puree White Peach Cocktail Mixer
Shake together the gin and peach juice with ice in cocktail shaker, pour into open glasses.
Top up with Prosecco and serve
(Note: when making a Bellini, always use a quality white peach mix, never peach schnapps)
Pink Grapefruit and Ginger Bucks Fizz
One pink grapefruit
15g fresh fruit ginger, thinly sliced
250g caster sugar
Chilled Brut Prosecco
1. Peel the grapefruit using a vegetable peeler and set aside the grapefruit. Slice the peel into 0.5cm strips and put in a pan with the ginger.
2. Add 200g sugar and 300ml cold water and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 15 mins, then strain over a jug to collect the syrup; cool, cover and chill.
3. Arrange the warm candied strips of grapefruit and ginger in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and set aside to dry overnight.
4. To make the cocktails, squeeze 100ml juice from the reserved grapefruit into a jug and mix with three tbsp of the syrup. Divide between two flutes, topping each up with Prosecco. Garnish with the crystallised grapefruit peel and ginger.
Passion Fruit Bellini
1 Passion fruit
250ml chilled Prosecco
Two tbsp orange liqueur e.g Cointreau
1. Halve the passion fruit and scoop the flesh and seeds into a small sieve or tea strainer. Press with the back of a spoon to extract the juice then place in the fridge along with two Prosecco saucers or flutes, and leave to chill.
2. Pour the Prosecco into the glasses then add the liqueur and 1 tsp of the passion fruit juice into each glass – the wine will foam rapidly as the passion fruit is added.
Cranberry Mint Spritzer
Fresh mint leaves
1. Dip the rim of the glass in syrup, then twist the rim of the glass in red edible glitter, place ice cubes in the glass.
2. Mix one part vodka, two parts cranberry juice and three parts Prosecco, add mint leaves to garnish stir and enjoy.
Recipe from milkbubbletea.blogspot.co.uk
All uncredited recipes are courtesy of the DrinksBusiness.