Wine Lover’s Gift Guide: 8 Bottles of Bubbles

 

Prosecco solstice sparkles

I’m dreaming of a wine Christmas! But so far, there hasn’t been a lot of bottles of actual WINE since the two festive bottles. Well my TRUE LOVE is about to change all that because… (drum roll please!)

…On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

Because My True Love Wants to Make My Solstice Sparkle, what bottles of bubbles did my true love send?

Will my true love choose sparkling wine from one of these 8 blog posts from the previous few months of 2020! (Yes, that’s definitely been a safer at home strategy around here — bring on the bubbles, and the more the merrier!)

  1. Champagne Bruno Paillard...
  2. Verovino’s sparkling wine from Italy…
  3. sparkling Rose from around the world...
  4. more sparkling Rose from around the world...
  5. Champagne from Champagne Day… 
  6. sparkling Cremant from Bordeaux…
  7. sparkling Cava, Prosecco, and Champagne… 
  8. biodynamic Champagne Leclerc Briant  

Or maybe these 8 Bottles of Prosecco DOC and/or DOCG!

  1. 2019 Le Vigne di Alice “Doro Nature” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
  2. 2016 Biancariva Rive di Collalto Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
  3. 2019 Canevel “Dry” Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartine D.O.C.G
  4. LaGioiosa “Et Amorosa” Prosecco DOC
  5. Val D’Oca Prosecco DOC
  6. 075 Carati  Prosecco DOC
  7. Villa Sandi “il Frejco” Prosecco DOC
  8. Zardetto “Brut” Prosecco DOC

Prosecco is a great choice for the holidays because it’s low in alcohol (typically around 11%), it’s food friendly, and it’s affordable with prices generally between $10-15 for DOC and $20-25 for DOCG.

For example, here’s how we paired these eight Prosecco:

3 Prosecco DOCG
Paired with Asian food including paper wrapped chicken, fried cream cheese wontons, Thai crab fried rice, egg rolls, sushi. Oh and a fresh fruit galette for dessert! This works great for a special date night — either for a Take Out Tuesday, an easy Friday, or for a special weekend where some is take out and you make the crab fried rice yourself– it’s surprisingly easy as long as you made the rice the night before! 

  • 2019 Le Vigne di Alice “Doro Nature” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
  • 2016 Biancariva Rive di Collalto Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
  • 2019 Canevel “Dry” Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartine D.O.C.G

3 Prosecco DOC 
Paired with appetizers including oysters, mini quiches, fried calamari, endive stuffed with crab, egg rollsTwo of these were then paired with mussels and clams with pasta. Again, super easy menu especially if you buy frozen already prepared calamari and egg rolls!

  • 075 Carati  Prosecco DOC
  • Villa Sandi “il Frejco” Prosecco DOC
  • Zardetto “Brut” Prosecco DOC

1 Prosecco DOC
Paired with an Italian inspired meal of fried calamari, risotto made with Prosecco topped with seared scallops, green salad. If you are like me and you burn rice and you don’t have the patience to stand and stir risotto it is NOT cheating to make it in an instant pot!  

  • Val D’Oca Prosecco DOC

1 Prosecco DOC
Paired with a dessert of cannoli with berries.

  • LaGioiosa “Et Amorosa” Prosecco DOC

Yep, that adds up to 8 bottles of bubbles, Prosecco to be exact.

So what is Prosecco anyway?

Last summer I broke my wrist so badly that I am still going to physical therapy. As my therapist enjoys wine and skiing, you can imagine we talk a lot about each. One day, she confided in me that while she loves wine, she just doesn’t understand why Prosecco was SO GOOD when she was in Italy. She bought it by the glass, and it’s just not the same here. “It wasn’t even very expensive!” she almost wailed.

First, I explained, most non-vintage Prosecco is really best when it’s young and fresh, which is what she was likely getting there (unlike Champagne which can be good for a few years after it’s disgorged and continually change which you can read about here). Second, wines in their country of origin are much less expensive meaning that a “cheap” Prosecco in Italy would be surprisingly expensive here. Third,  there’s a big difference in DOC Prosecco and DOCG Prosecco, and maybe what she had enjoyed so much was a vintage Prosecco DOCG. Of course then she wanted to know:

What’s the difference between DOC and DOCG Prosecco?

So next I told her that Prosecco is a region in Italy where they grow the white Glera grape and make wine from that Glera using the charmat method which makes bubbly more affordable than the very labor intensive traditional method  used in Champagne and other regions to make sparkling wine. Glera can be made into a sparkling wine elsewhere in Italy using any method but it won’t be Prosecco because it’s not from Prosecco, much like Champagne is only Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region in France.

Making wine from Glera in Prosecco is NOT easy, especially in the DOCG areas where they grow grapes on slopes up to 70% which is about 35 degrees! It’s hard to comprehend how steep that is–

  • if you are standing on a 50 degree slope, you can reach out straight from your body and touch it!
  • If you ski, this would be an expert or black diamond run; some of the most extreme ski slopes in the world are 85%-78%.
  • If you’re on a highway, a sign will warn you if there’s a 6% grade, and a 15 degree slope is a 25% grade.
  • 5 ft vertical rise for 100 ft. is a 5% grade making a 70 foot vertical rise in 100′ would be a 70% grade

These super steep hillsides mean that these vineyard require 800 hours of labor for every hectare of vineyards compared to 150 hours in the hilly DOC area. They say the people who work in the Rive di Valdobbiadene DOCG are Marvel Super Heroes! Having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, I can tell you that it’s exhausting to move up on that kind of a slope! (More fun to come down!)

2019 Le Vigne di Alice “Doro Nature” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
ABV 11.5%
SRP $25
sample for my review

Very low dosage with only 3 grams per liter.

Color: Foamy when poured with delicate bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass. Pale straw almost platinum

Nose: Fruity bubble gum, lemon, lime, clean minerals

Palate: Very clean and dry, minerals very present, lemon and lime, banana

Pairing: Great with the salty flavors of the Thai crab fried rice and the salty paper wrapped chicken, playing off the soy sauce and the ginger. The egg roll brings out the minerality of the wine. I liked this wine best with the fried won tons. This being the driest of all three wines made us yearn for oysters. Great wine for fried fish. Bring on the fish tacos.

2016 Biancariva Rive di Collalto Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

2016 Biancariva Rive di Collalto Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore  DOCG
ABV 11.5%
8 grams

The word “Rive” actually means steep so you can imagine how steep these vineyards are!

Color: Pale straw

Nose: Fresh fennel, fennel pollen, daisies, meadow flowers

Palate: Fennel, licorice, herbs, cool and refreshing on the palate.

Pairing: Another great match for our Asian dinner meal. Fantastic with the Thai crab fried rice. It was my favorite with the egg rolls, and the paper wrapped chicken. Loves aged salty cheeses such as manchego, parmesan, or pecorino.

2019 Canevel “Dry” Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartine DOCG
ABV 11%
23g

Color: Very pale yellow, almost platinum, very delicate bubbles

Nose: Green apple, pear, sea grass

Palate: Very tart and acidic, lemon lime, apricots, peaches,

Pairing: This wine was a perfect match for our Asian dinner. It was so nice with the cream cheese won tons. It loves the fried egg rolls, and I liked this wine best with the Thai crab fried rice. So very fantastic with the plum tart. The plums were tart with a bit of sweetness that goes together perfectly with the wine. This pairing was one of our WOW moments for us. The tartness of the dessert takes the sweetness of the wine, while the acidity matched perfectly with the tart acidity of the  fruit tart.

Next 5 Prosecco DOC 
paired with appetizers including 

  • oysters,
  • mini quiches,
  • fried calamari,
  • eggrolls,
  • endive stuffed with crab,
  • cannoli with berries

075 Carati  Prosecco DOC
ABV 11% 

  • Color: Light very pale – delicate bubbles
  • Nose: Soft  citrus florals and fruit, white peach or nectarine,
  • Palate: Light in body, delicate, tart, nice acidity, slate or stone, great minerality, clean and refreshing,  white nectarine with a lovely lemon finish,
  • Pairing: With the Kumamoto oysters there is a lovely melon flavor brought out in the oyster and fruit in the wine. With the pacific oysters there is asweetness in the wine, and the ocean brininess. Very good with our crab stuffed endive. Great with the calamari, as well as our mild chicken Italian sausage.

The wine really responds to the herbs in the food.

Myr loved this wine with our mini quiche which is such an easy appetizer to prepare. I loved it so much with the salami. Sweet and salty such a perfect pairing. Sweet and salty.

Villa Sandi “il Frejco” Prosecco DOC

  • Color: Soft foamy bubbles, pale platinum,
  • Nose: Florals and white stone fruit, fennel
  • Palate: Nice complexity, foamy palate, dry and crisp, clean lemon finish, light and clean, nectarine
  • Pairing: The fennel in the chicken sausage is really evident when paired with the wine. So great together. The sweetness of the crab and the crunch of the endive is so nicely complimented when followed by the wine. not only if flavor, but also in texture on the palate. The kumumoto oyster was so beautiful with the wine. fresh and creamy, with nice sweet seawater notes. I also enjoyed it with the clams and ham, but while festive, the bow tie pasta was not the best choice.
NV Zardetto Brut Prosecco DOC
SRP $15  
Made with organic grapes in a blend of 85% Glera (required by the DOC rules), 15% Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay. 12 g/l dosage so it has a dash of sweetness but plenty of acidity.
  • Color: Medium bubbles in the glass
  • Nose: Sweet white flower, tuberose, gardenia
  • Palate: Elderflower, not sweet, but the essence of the flower. Nicely foamy across the palate, yellow peach
  • Pairing: As with the other wines, this one is equally wonderful with our appetizer finger foods. Great with the oysters, the crab endive and the calamari, as well as the chicken Italian sausage, and capraese bites bringing out beautiful fennel notes in both the wine and the food. Even nice with the cheddar cheese bites with cabernet jam (which was not meant to pair with this wine event, but as you know we often do two or more posts in one evening, giving us the opportunity to try more with each wine then is on the menu). Wine pacific oyster then wine did not do much for the oyster, but it was fantastic with the wine. The wine paired very well with the salty ham and clam pasta dish the following evening..

La Gioiosa pairs well with cannoli

LaGioiosa “Et Amorosa” Prosecco DOC
ABV 11%
  • Color: Very pale medium bubbles soft foam
  • Nose: Dull nose, light melon,
  • Palate: Tart lemon, lemon curd, lemon lime, there is light sweetness to the wine. With the richness of the food. It is less sweet, than with out food.
  • Pairing: Good greeter wine, but even better with lightly sweetened deserts. The lemon canolli with blackberries was a perfect match. When first tasting the wine we felt it was a bit on the sweet side, but after tasting the wine with the dessert, it did not seem sweet at all.

Val D’Oca Prosecco paired with scallop risotto

Val D’Oca

On Friday, I was on a ZOOM where I learned more about Val D’Oca which we last wrote about here.

Gregorian chants: elevator music for Prosecco.

Val D’Oca is a coop founded in 1952 with 129 members; today there’s over 600 members. In 2018, they established their new winery which has solar panels and where Gregorian chants serenade the bottles to help calm the wine as it waits.

During the ZOOM, Sylvia made risotto, Amy (author of The Prosecco made Me Do it) made cocktails, and some of us sipped Prosecco!

  • Color: Pale lemon
  • Nose: Jack fruit, white florals
  • Palate: Lightly sweet, jack fruit, lemon lime,
  • Pairing: Store-bought frozen then baked fried calamari was a winner, but the risotto with seared scallops was surprisingly stunning. I enjoyed the risotto SO MUCH more with this Prosecco! Impressive. Lifted, brightened and refreshed the flavors making the risotto and the Prosecco that much better.
  • Cocktail: Cocktails don’t have to be overly complicated. A splash of st Germain on ice with a float of Prosecco. Perfection.

Should you ever have any leftover Prosecco, cook with it the next day!
Watch for their sparkling rose made from 85% glera and 15% Pinot Noir!

Happy Sparkling Solstice!

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