If there’s an official wine of today’s fabulous 21-something generation, it’s the Italian bubbly called prosecco. It’s as “amazing,” as that group would say, as texting or Twitter, while regular champagne and sparkling wine are as 20th century as email, even Facebook.
U.S. sippers buy a million cases a year, up 35 percent since 2011, according to the wine website shankennewsdaily.com, put out by Wine Spectator magazine’s publisher Marvin Shanken.
Why? It’s trendy, in a group that’s very sensitive to peer values. It’s cheap – one-third the price of big-label champagnes. It’s pleasant. Often lightly sweet, it avoids the tartness and austerity of more expensive sparkling wines. It’s lower in alcohol at 10 percent or 11 percent, as opposed to 12 percent or more for other bubblies
Prosecco is made in two styles, called “frizzante” for the lightly sparkling ones and “spumante” for those with sturdier bubbles. In either case, its bubbles are softer, almost creamy, because they’re under lower pressure than the bubbles in other sparkling wines.
Many hosts serve it at around 40 degrees, a bit cooler than traditional sparkling wines, to avoid overt frothiness.
Prosecco doesn’t put on airs. At around $20 a bottle, it’s fair game for mixers, from strawberries to pomegranate to aromatic bitters or even Limoncello. The famous Harry’s Bar in Venice, Fla., adds peach puree to make its signature Bellini.
Prosecco is made mostly of the ancient, mild white northern Italian grape sometimes called Glera, other times called Prosecco after a nearby village in Veneto, the area around Venice.
It gets its bubbles via the Charmat method — a secondary fermentation in giant stainless steel tanks – unlike upmarket champagnes and sparkling wines, which get them by secondary fermentation inside the bottle. The method is said to produce a bubbly that’s less complex and yeasty, but fruitier.
Prosecco’s trendiest use is as an aperitif, poured in a tall flute so the drinker can watch its bubbles rise, handed to guests as they enter the room, irrespective of what will be poured with dinner.
Some, of course, drink it through the meal, with light fare such as raw oysters, shellfish, sushi, tuna tartare, simply prepared fish dishes such as the Shrimp Scampi of Venice.
So, parents, if your progeny graduate from college and move back into their old bedrooms in your home, you now know how to stock the fridge.
• Nonvintage “OGIO” Prosecco DOC: light yellow hue, aromas and flavors of ripe peaches, quite dry, tart finish; $17.
• Nonvintage “Bosco di Gica” Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG: golden hue, delicate mousse, very crisp, golden apple aromas and flavors; $18.
• 2012 La Tordera Prosecco Alne’ Millesimato DOC Valdobbiadene: very dry, lightly bubbly, with floral aromas and flavors of lemons and limes; $12.
• 2011 “Col Credas” Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Farra di Soligo DOCG: light yellow, floral aromas, flavors of ripe pears, very dry, crisp; $22.
• Nonvintage Cantina Colli del Soligo Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry, DOCG: light, bubbly and off-dry, with floral aromas and green pear flavors; $16.
• Nonvintage La Marca Prosecco, DOC: soft bubbles, creamy, hint of toast, lightly sweet, aromas and flavors of white grapefruit and minerals, $17.
• Nonvintage “IL” Prosecco, by Mionetto, DOC: golden color, quite dry, floral aromas, flavors of pink grapefruit and minerals; $14.
• Nonvintage Casa Vinicola Zonin Prosecco Spumante Brut, DOC, Veneto, Italy: lively mousse, light bodied, floral aromas, flavors of golden apples, very dry; $15.
• Nonvintage Adami “Garbel” Prosecco, VSAQ Colli del’ Alta Marca Trevigiana: light yellow hue, active mousse, quite dry, aromas and flavors of ripe apples; $15.
• 2011”Vigneto Giardino” Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Colbertaldo, DOCG: light yellow, ripe peach aromas and flavors; $22.
Fred Tasker has retired from the Miami Herald but is still writing about wine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.