Hot Topic: Think "Alternative Bubblies" to Add Some Sparkle to Your Valentine’s Day
By Bryan Robbins, Cool Springs Wines & Spirits
Published in VIP Franklin Magazine, February 2007
February. Winter isn't over and spring isn't here yet. Of course there is always Valentine's Day to brighten this otherwise drab month up a bit. Sharing this special day is always a good reason to celebrate with a special wine – something rich and indulgent – maybe something new to your palate.
Think sparkling, and open your senses to the possibilities of alternative bubblies. Tucked away with the champagnes in your local wine shop is a world of "other sparkling wines" with names like Prosecco, Spumante and Frizzante. And for an even more apropos Valentine's Day bubbly, check out the sparkling reds. These wines can be extremely versatile and offer something for almost every taste.
Prosecco and Spumante are often lumped together in people's minds but they are really quite different.
Spumante is Italian for sparkling or frothy. It is a fully sparkling wine made in the traditional "champagne method." Almost every region of Italy has its own version of Spumante, but the most famous of all is the sweet version made from the Muscat grapes in the Asti region just north of Venice.
Prosecco is a dry white grape grown in the Veneto region of Italy. Typically, its namesake sparkling wine is made from 100-percent Prosecco grapes. It is also used in dry sparkling and semi-sparkling wines. Prosecco is not made in the traditional Champagne method, as Prosecco is best enjoyed fresh and the aging process used in making Champagne would diminish the zest of Prosecco. Like many wines today in the United States, Prosecco is to be consumed within the first couple years after purchase. Col San Dago and Zardetto are just two of the fine Proseccos to be found on the shelves of your local retail wine shop.
Sweet or dry, red sparkling wines have become a tour de force in the market place in recent years. On the sweet side, Rosa di Rosa and Banfi's intensely rich Rosa Regale entice us with flavors of raspberries and hints of rose petals. These wines are romance in a glass. They pair well with chocolate and can be served as a dessert wine or as an aperitif.
For something drier, sparkling Shiraz from Australia is an exciting option. Made in the traditional Champagne method, sparkling Shiraz should be served slightly chilled. These wines capture aromas and flavors of black raspberries, blackberries and chocolate-covered cherries.
These alternative bubblies can be the perfect pairing to enjoy this month. Add some special sparkle to your Valentine's Day.
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