By William Oberheiser
Just in time for New Year’s Eve, here’s a quick guide to Prosecco — short history, how to get the best, how long it keeps, and more.
Prosecco has a long history dating to Pliney who mentioned it in his “Historia Naturalis” during the Roman era. The secondary fermentation process making Prosecco into a sparkling wine evolved late in the nineteenth century. In July of 2009 the official designation for Prosecco D.O.C with guidelines were finalized, making it the newest old wine that we can enjoy and be assured of consistent high quality! Since 2012 production has doubled driven in part by the popularity of spritzers such as the colorful Aperol and Vermouth spritzers that grace cafe tabletops across Italy.
At a recent tasting sponsored by the Prosecco DOC Consortium at one of our favorite Coral Gables locations, Cibo Wine Bar, we made our way though a number of enchanting pours and an informative guide to this popular sparkling wine.
Stand outs included the following vineyards, Cantina Le Monde, Masottina, Zonin, Bacio Della Luna, Tosti and Piera Martellozzo. The pairings included, sautéed tuna, mushrooms, risotto, bruschetta, polenta and various cheeses.
What defines the Prosecco DOC designation?
Since 2009 this designation limits the production of authentic Prosecco to the northeastern Italian regions of Veneto-Fruili and Venezia Giulia between the Julian Alps or Dolomites and the Adriatic with a minimum 85% Glera as the predominant grape.
What are we to expect from a Prosecco DOC?
What we look for in a Prosecco D.O.C. is a freshness, simplicity and a light elegant balance. The color should be a brilliant straw yellow, fine persistent bubbles and the aromas of white flowers, apple and pear.
How long does a Prosecco “keep”?
It should be enjoyed within 12 months of bottling to ensure all the nuance of flavors are intact.
How do you identify a Prosecco DOC?
Look for the State mark label that guarantees that the Prosecco DOC is real. Also take a close look at the rear label for the bottling date. It’s not always present, although in the future, this detail is to be added to the blue D.O.C. label.If the date is not present, your best bet is to procure a bottle from an establishment with high turnover.
What’s the alcohol content?
It has a moderate alcohol content of 11%, less than a Cava or Champagne. This makes Prosecco D.O.C. a versatile wine for aperitifs, toasts and a wide variety of culinary delights.