Valentine’s Day and bubbly wines always go hand in hand. Yet, I must admit I enjoy sparkling wines all year around and agree with what Coco Chanel used to say: “I drink Champagne on two occasions when I’m in love and when I’m not”. So, whether you are lucky enough to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your soulmate or with your friends, there’s no time like the present to open a bottle of elegant Prosecco Rosé.
Officially approved as such, only about two years ago, Prosecco Rosé offers the deliciousness of a crafted sparkling wine at a very affordable price. It is made mostly from Italian native Glera grapes with up to 15% Pinot Noir, which provides its beautiful pinkish color.
Stylistically, Prosecco Rosé is made dry, either Brut Nature or Extra Dry. It features a medium body with balanced alcohol (11% is the minimum by law, but most samples will be around 12.5%), showcasing juicy peach, golden apple and pear notes with red fruits such as raspberry, wild strawberry and cherry; all of that framed by a refreshing, crispy finish. In general and compared to other sparkling wines, Proseccos both white and rosé are fruitier than say Cava, Crémant or Champagne.
The Prosecco area of production is located to the north east of Italy, west and east of the city of Venice, covering nine different provinces (Belluno, Gorizia, Padua, Pordenone, Treviso, Trieste, Udine, Venice and Vicenza), which are spread in two very well known wine regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Veneto. See map below, courtesy of the Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco.
Most vineyards are planted on flat valleys but there are plenty of hill sites in the DOCGs, where the best Glera is grown. The soils are mostly alluvial, rich in clay, silt and minerals. The climate is tempered by the Alps located to the north that act as a barrier but also influenced by the Adriatic sea and the Sirocco winds. Hilly vineyards benefit from altitude too. Most Prosecco Rosé available in the US market, falls under the generic Prosecco DOC category. Yet, the best Prosecco wines come from the DOCGs within Treviso: Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive and Asolo Prosecco Superiore. (You will see these appellations, more often on Prosecco white bottles).
Like with every sparkling wine, vinification plays a huge role here, specifically the method used to produce the bubbles that we enjoy so much. In the case of Prosecco Rosé, the second fermentation happens using the Charmat or Martinotti method, i.e inside a pressurized tank for a minimum by law of 60 days, but winemakers can keep them for longer. Like other sparklers, Prosecco Rosé will start its life as a still wine, to which more yeast and sugar are added to create the bubbles, once the second fermentation is over and the yeasts consumed all the sugar and died, the wines are briefly aged on their lees to add complexity, filtered and fined before being bottled.
According to Prosecco regulations, Prosecco Rosé is mostly a vintage wines (Millesimato in Italian) with 85% of the blend sourced from grapes harvested during the year indicated on the label. The leftover 15 % allows producers to include wines from other vintages too, emulating the practice of non-vintage Champagne.
A whooping 500 million bottles of Prosecco was produced in 2020 alone (this number includes also Prosecco white), of these close to 17 million were bottles of Prosecco Rosé. That number was expected to reach up to 50 million in 2021. 78.5% of the total Prosecco production is exported, and the US is after Europe, their second most important market, a popularity that is expected to keep growing in the coming years.
Enjoy your Prosecco Rosé when young, within a year from the vintage, when its fruitiness is still intact. Most Prosecco Rosé is in the market sooner than other sparkling wines (Cava or Champagne, that are usually aged for longer). In the case of Prosecco Rosé, they can be released for consumption after January 1st of the year following the harvest.
My recommendations, that I hope you will enjoy soon are:
* Val D'Oca Prosecco Rosé NV, $14.99
* La Rughe Prosecco Rosé 2020, $13.99
* La Marca Prosecco Rosé NV, $15.99 (widely available in the US)
* Perlino Prosecco Rosé 2020, $14.99
* Zardetto Prosecco Rosé 2020, $14.99 (widely available in the US)
* Beato Bartolomeo de Braganze Prosecco Rosé 2020, $13.99
Salute and Happy Valentine's Day! Silvina
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