Cheers to National Prosecco Day with Riondo and Nino Franco Rustico!

Happy National Prosecco Day! In case you didn’t know, Prosecco is a sparkling wine from northern Italy made mostly from the Glera grape.

And Prosecco is THE most popular sparkling wine in the US if not the world!

In fact, to recognize that Prosecco is the most sold sparkling wine in the US, Riondo Prosecco founded National Prosecco Day last year.

Why is Prosecco so popular?

  • Prosecco is lower in alcohol, calories, and price than Champagne
  • Prosecco is softer and creamier than Cava
  • Prosecco has a pleasant effervescence
  • Prosecco works great with cocktails

A few more Prosecco facts:

  • “True” Prosecco is only produced in northern Italy regions of Veneto and Fiuli
  • Prosecco is a protected designation
  • Prosecco consists of at least 85% Glera
  • Prosecco sold 5.3 million cases in the US in 2016

To help me celebrate Prosecco Day, Nino Franco Rustico surprised me with the arrival of two big boxes at my husband’s office where I have wine samples sent to guarantee an adult signature..

Me calling husband at work: Hey did I get any wine today?
Husband: You got two boxes.
Me: What’s the wine?
Husband: One box is full of some kind of wine glasses, and the other has two huge bottles of something.
Me: What???? Glasses?

Yes indeed — and not just a box of any wine glasses but 14 coupe glasses, the shape some say was designed to mimic the breast of Helen of Troy. Or depending on who you ask, Marie Antoinette. Or Madame de Pompadour. Regardless of whose breast it is said to be inspired by, the truth according to Wikipedia is the glass, which is indeed in the shape of a small breast, was designed in England in 1663 specifically for sparkling wine and champagne.

The shape grew in popularity and was the glass of choice doing the roaring 20s. Founded in 1919 by Antonio Franco in Valdobbiadene at the foot of the Prealps, Nino Franco incorporated the coupe into their logo because they believe the coupe to be the perfect celebratory glass to enjoy Prosecco. At almost 100 years old, Nino Franco is one of the oldest wineries in Valdobbiadene and famous for their Prosecco.

two teens on the roof of our van relaxing after surfing while Marshall grills lobster

So what was I to do but invite some friends and head to the beach with 14 coupe glasses, 4 Prosecco Riedel glasses, 2 magnums of Nino Franco Rustico plus two three packs of Riondo plus straws and ice bucket sent by Riondo?

Yes it is raining Prosecco around here for Prosecco Day!

To make your own Prosecco Tower, line up nine coupe glasses in three rows of three each. Then place four glasses on the nine so that the four are in the center and close together. Finally, place one glass on top and start filling that glass! (What you don’t have 14 coupe glasses laying around? I bet your grandma might! Or check the thrift stores!) At least that how we did it. If you have more glasses, you might try this:

It truly is impressive and a fun garden party trick! Do keep in mind that if your table isn’t flat, the glasses won’t fill evenly… and be aware there will likely be a mess.

Coupe glasses have fallen out of favor and been replaced first by tall stems and more recently by tulip shaped glasses or even white wine glasses. “Official” Prosecoo glasses are of a pronounced “tulip” shape.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am a bit obsessed with glasses. We often experiment with different glass shapes to see what they bring to the palate: the shape of the glass delivers different experiences and it can be quite radical. Some glasses make a wine taste terrible — but the same wine in a different glass can taste great.

With sparkling wine glasses, it can be all about the fizz factor. The complaint levied against the coupe is that the bubbles diminish. In a tall stem, you really see and experience the bubbles and they last longer but they do nothing for your experience of the flavors in the wine. That’s where a Prosecco or white wine glass comes in.

And I have to say that the coupe glasses did release the bubbles very quickly. However, as Nino Franco points out, “sacrificing a few bubbles is a small price to pay.” So drink up!

WINE

  • Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG 11% alcohol SRP $20 or $40 (magnum) 100% Glera
  • Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero NV 10.5% Alcohol SRP $15 100% Glera

MENU

Coppa Italian cured meat
Canadian Bacon
Ahi Tuna Poke
Grilled Lobster
Grilled Ribeye
Gorgonzola torte with cranberries an
Aged and smoked goudas
Cheddar cheese
Sautéed spinach
Pork loin

Surprisingly, the Nino Franco Rustico stood up to ALL the meats — even the ribeye steak! The Riondo was a bit sweet for that but went fine with other appetizers; it’s more of a cocktail party wine.

Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG 11% alcohol SRP $20 or $40 (magnum)
100% Glera 

The name “Rustico” refers “to the old local tradition of making wine using short second fermentation in the bottle and leaving the sediments in the wine. Although no longer the technique, the name has remained and is considered to be a brand name.”  The glera grapes were pressed, de-stemmed, cooled, and fermented in steel temperature controlled tanks with a second fermentation in “cuve close” then aged in the bottle. 4000 cases were produced.

COLOR: Straw-colored, bright; catches the sunlight beautifully!
AROMA: Pouring the tower, even considering we were at the beach with the salty waves crashing, we were very aware of a ready, yeasty, almond croissant aromas. The coupe presents the nose in gulps; in the Prosecco glass, I could find more fruit and floral notes.
TASTE: Creamy and balanced, this is not one of those overly sweet Proseccos making it a really terrific food wine.     Not dramatic, but pleasant with a nice finish. In the somewhat smaller coupe glass, the bubbles were persistent enough. Once the bubbles are gone, it is a bit bland — so drink up!

Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero NV SRP $15 

Also to help me celebrate National Prosecco Day, I received two three packs of these baby-bottles of bubbles which they call “Bambinos” along with a very handy ice bucket! With screw tops and only 187 ml, they are perfect for a party– with or without a straw! Well okay if you drink from the bottle it’s better with a straw. Just don’t use plastic one! Or use a glass– I went with a Prosecco glass but these bubbles could handle a coupe no problem.

COLOR: pale, straw yellow
AROMA:
BANANAS! Even at the beach with the salt air, the nose was bananas, bananas, and more bananas with maybe some other tropical fruits like guava.
TASTE:
Banana, tropical fruit, ripe pear. Vigorous bubbles but not quite to the soda pop level.
FUN FACTS: Riondo is named after the nearby mountain.

 

Cheers to Prosecco! And if you’re a fan, stay tuned for more Prosecco reviews — along with some cocktail recipes — in September.

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