Raise a glass of prosecco, on August 13
August 13 is designated as the day that we celebrate with that ever-popular Italian bubbly known as prosecco, which takes its name from a village in north-eastern Italy.
Although the law allows for a non-sparkling one I have yet to see any and, although the grapes used must be at least 85 per cent glera, it is becoming more and more popular to just call this particular type of fruit prosecco.
About 500 years ago the method of trapping gas produced by fermentation, created our first sparkling wine. It probably happened accidentally, but of course it has been perfected in the Champagne area where each bottle of wine is individually fermented. As this is so labour-intensive, an Italian named Federico Martinotti patented a bulk method in 1895, and here the wine was fermented in large tanks under pressure and each bottle was filled from this bulk container.
In 1907 a Frenchman named Eugene Charmat made a few improvements, and he gets all the glory, as today this process is known as the Charmat Method. All prosecco is made by employing this technique, as are much of the world’s bubblies. They are not aged like champagne method wines and so suit aromatic grape varieties such as glera, moscato and riesling – champagne uses pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay.
In 2020 prosecco produced 500 million bottles, a ten-fold increase in ten years, and it is now the most asked for wine from Italy.
The Canella winery was founded in 1947 after Second World War by Luciano Canella. Luciano Canella’s parents owned a small, family-style restaurant in San Donà di Piave. When his father died, Luciano and his sisters had to learn fast to help their mother with the restaurant, thriving despite the difficulties of wartime. He began to search the surrounding areas for the best wines to match his mother’s cuisine and he thought about creating his own wine. He put this idea into action and set up a state-of-the-art winery specialising in prosecco. Since then, the Canellas have become prosecco pioneers and we offer you their 2020 Canella Millesimato Prosecco Superiore di Conegliano that is 100 per cent glera and, quite rarely for this style of wine, it has a vintage date. Straw yellow with lively perlage, the bouquet is fresh, fruity and aromatic. On the palate, it characteristically combines softness and freshness thanks to perfectly balanced acidity and sugar. $24.75 (Stock #9028).
La Marca Prosecco really hit the world stage running and certainly has established itself as one of the most asked for wines in the category. It has a pale, golden straw colour and sparkles with lively effervescence. Opening with aromas of fresh-picked citrus and honeysuckle blossoms, the crisp, clean palate brings fruity flavours of green apple, juicy peach and ripe lemon, framed by hints of minerality. The finish is light and refreshing with a tantalising hint of sweetness. Canadian critic Natalie MacLean rates it 89/100 and writes: “A crisp, dry Italian sparkling wine with notes of lemon zest and lime. What an amazing bubbly for the price. Ideal for celebrations and gifts. Perfect as a chilled aperitif or companion to seafood.” $26.75 (Stock #6708).
An old expression comes to mind when I write about Freixenet Prosecco, and it is “if you can’t beat them join them”. The Spanish firm of Freixenet is renowned for the wonderful sparkling cava that they produce and recently they have expanded into Italy. Their prosecco is golden straw with lively effervescence and fresh aromas of citrus, apples and flowers. Clean and fresh on the palate with tones of ripe lemon, green apple and grapefruit. The finish is light and fresh that goes well with an aperitif or a hearty meal. Freixenet extends its expertise and globally renowned name to prosecco, blending superior quality with stunning beauty. Made from the finest glera grapes in Italy’s prosecco region of Veneto, Freixenet Prosecco is as distinctive as it is delicious. The bottle design is quite stunning! $25.60 (Stock #9111).
Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene hails from the highest and most distinctive classification possible in the region. They established pinot grigio and were among the first to work with the glera grape. White peach, Bartlett pear, golden apple, pink grapefruit, lemon zest – how can you refuse. $24.15 (Stock #8895).
And now that we have gotten this far, I am about to let you down. I really want to share a lovely wine with you, but I really should not. I want you to know about Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé as it has such elegant perfumes of strawberries and citrus that lead to an attractive palate with mixed berry fruits that linger on the finish. This wine is wonderful on its own, and pairs well with savoury appetisers, complex seafood dishes and anything spicy. The elegant mousse will refresh your palate for the next bite and contrasting the bubbles with something soft or creamy can elevate your next meal. Open a bottle along with goat cheese souffle, scallops with roasted garlic and pesto, or a slow-cooked, spicy, red chicken curry.
So much to enjoy here, but I cannot tell you that it is prosecco. As I mentioned at the start of this article, to carry such a classification on the label the wine must consist of at least 85 per cent glera grapes. This delicious rosé is a blend of 55 per cent chardonnay, 40 per cent glera and 5 per cent malbec. It is not prosecco! $23.70 (Stock #8887).
And by the way, Santa Margherita loves the bees: they avoid cutting the grass between the rows of vines while the grapes are growing to protect the work of bees and other pollinating insects. They are vegan-friendly and have eliminated the use of all animal by-products during filtration and they recycle grape skins, which further reduces waste.
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at email@example.com. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm