Make a Prosecco Cocktail to Celebrate National Prosecco Week

Hurray!  It is National Prosecco Week – a perfect reason to run to the store and buy a bottle or more of Prosecco. As you probably know, true Prosecco is only made in Northern Italy from the Glera grape. It is light, fruity and bubbly – a perfect drink before dinner, or many other occasions. When you shop for Prosecco make sure to look for the Prosecco DOC symbol to insure you are buying a true Prosecco approved by the Consorzio di Tutela – the Italian organization that monitors production.

So Many Prosecco Cocktail Recipes

The other great thing about Prosecco is it is perfect to use to make delicious and beautiful cocktails. The Consorzio di Tutela provides some excellent Prosecco Cocktail recipes on their website at this link. Following are a few that are very fun to try.

Rossini – A Prosecco Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

½ cup (10 CL) PROSECCO DOC

1 cup (5 CL) FRESH STRAWBERRIES

1 cup ICE

Directions: Pour the Prosecco Doc and fresh strawberries into a blender with ice. Puree, and then pour into a glass flute. Garnish with a strawberry.

James Bond Prosecco Vesper

Ingredients:

¼ cup (5 CL) PROSECCO DOC BRUT

1 1/2 tablespoons (2,5 CL) VODKA

1 tablespoon (1,5 CL) CRÈME DE POIRE WILLIAM

1 tablespoon (1,5 CL) LEMON JUICE

1 DASH OF ANGOSTURA BITTERS

DRIED PEAR SLICE

ICE CUBES

Directions: Serve in large Prosecco glasses. This cocktail is built directly in the glasses. Fill the glass with ice cubes and place the dried pear garnish inside. Pour the Vodka, Crème de Poire, lemon juice and Angostura bitters and mix with a stirrer. Finish by topping off with Prosecco DOC and stir gently to avoid losing all the lovely bubbles.

Hugo – Prosecco with Elderberry and Mint

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (6 CL) PROSECCO DOC

1 1/2 tablespoons (2 CL) ELDERBERRY SYRUP

1/4 cup (6 CL) SODA

MINT LEAVES

Directions: Pour the Prosecco DOC, elderberry syrup and soda straight into a flared white wine glass with plenty of ice. Top with the mint leaves and stir gently with a bar spoon. Serve with a slice of lime.

Prosecco Fruit Bowl

Ingredients:

1 glass (5 ounces) PROSECCO DOC

Mixed fruit cut into bite-size pieces (strawberries, cantaloupe, melon, peaches, etc.)

Directions: This recipe is courtesy of Brooke Sabel, a Master Teacher for Prosecco. Brook describes one of her favorite Prosecco recipes for brunch or dessert. Simply cut up some of your favorite types of fruit into bite size pieces.  Toss in a bowl with a glass of Prosecco.  Yum!

Have You Ever Heard of an Italian Wine Grape Called Colombana?

Considered to be a very ancient grape, Colombana Bianca is a white grape from Tuscany, also known by the names “Colombana Peccioli and Verdea.”  Legend states it was brought to Italy by an Irish missionary called St. Columban. He travelled throughout Europe, and gathered many followers who brought vine cuttings to northern Italy. They planted the vine and began to make wine near the towns of Pisa and Milan, but over the centuries the Colombana vines were replaced by other varieties, so it became very rare and was thought to have nearly disappeared.

Slopes of Fattoria Fibbiano. Credit: Fattoria Fibbiano.

Rediscovery of Lost Colombana Vines in Vineyard

Recently the Cantoni family, who own Fattoria Fibbiano Winery south of Pisa, Italy, rediscovered some lost Colombana grape vines growing in their vineyard. Upon analysis, they realized they were identical to those cultivated in Lombardy, Italy, under the name of the Verdea grape. They were excited by this discovery, because in the past, wine made from the Colombana grape in that region was known for its therapeutic properties.

The vines among Fattoria Fibbiano. Credit: Fattoria Fibbiano.

What Does Colombana Taste Like?

Because the grape is so rare, Fattoria Fibbiano decided to craft a new wine made with 100% Colombana grapes. The wine has a brilliant straw yellow color, with rich notes of exotic fruits, such as banana, pineapple, and papaya, with a nose of pressed flowers. It has a notable tanginess from marine soils, with rich acidity that makes it refreshing and deliciously easy to drink.

Colombana wine by Fattoria Fibbiano.

Crafting Colombana Wine

This 100% Colombana wine is produced with cold maceration on the skins at 50 degrees Fahrenheit in stainless steel tanks for 5 days, after which skins are pressed and the must obtained is fermented at a controlled temperature of 54F without using selected yeasts, bringing greater character to preserve authentic qualities of this variety of noble origins. After fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred into concrete tanks, where it rests for 4 months before bottling.

Where to Purchase Fattoria Fibbiano Colombana

Due to the rarity of the Colombana grape, Fattoria Fibbiano winery, was only able to produce only 3,000 bottles of wine. It was released in June 2020, and will be available in select wine shops in the US in the near future.

Hey, I Want to Taste the Moscato in the Blue Can!

Just in time for summer, New Jersey-based Royal Wine Corp. is releasing one of America’s most popular Italian-imported Moscatos, Bartenura, in a new format of 8.5 ounce cans – about 1.7 glasses per can – in packs of 4. Bartenura was one of the first premium Moscatos in the U.S, with continuing growth every year since it was introduced in 1980s.

Credit: Bartenura

Refreshing Summer Drink

With a refreshing with a hint of sweetness, slightly effervescent and relatively lower alcohol content of 5% ACV, Bartenura is a perfect summer drink. Royal Corp has been trying to find alternative packaging formats for Bartenura while ensuring the signature aroma, quality, flavour and bubble is maintained. Consumers can now bring Bartenura cans to the pool, picnics, barbecues! Bartenura cans will be rolling out nationwide, and consumers can expect to see them in stores with a standard retail price of $15/4pack.

A can of Bartenura Moscato.

About Royal Wine

The history of Royal Wine Corp. began in the early 19th century in the town of Vrbové in Slovakia. There, the Herzog family crafted wines of royal acclaim for over 150 years, with each of six generations passing their legacy down to the next.  In 1948, Eugene Herzog, the head of the Herzog family at the time, moved his family and settled on New York City, and in 1958, after working his way up the company purchased with his four sons Royal Wine Corp.

Today, Royal Wine’s portfolio of domestic and international wines range from traditional wine producing regions of France, Italy, and Spain, as well as Israel, New Zealand, and Argentina.  Additionally, Royal Wine Corp.’s spirit and liqueur portfolio offer some of the most sought-after scotches, bourbons, tequilas and vodkas as well as hard to find specialty items such as flavored brandies and liqueurs.  The company owns and operates the Kedem Winery in upstate New York, as well as Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, California, a state-of-the-art-facility that also features the award-winning restaurant Tierra Sur, serving the finest, Mediterranean-inspired, contemporary Californian Cuisine. @RoyalWineCorp; royalwine.com.

Pink Prosecco is Coming in 2021!

Great news!  If you enjoy Prosecco, a new “pink version” called Prosecco DOC Rosé will make a sparkling debut in 2021. This past week the Prosecco DOC’s trade Consortium announced the hallmark decision by the Italian National Wine Committee to finally approve introduction of Prosecco DOC Rosé after years of discussion.

A Glass of Sparkling Pink Prosecco

Rules for Producing Prosecco DOC Rosé

While sparkling rosé wines are nothing new, Prosecco DOC wines, like Champagne, is a protected designation in which wines must follow strict regulations (such as percentage of grape varieties used and fermentation methods) to be labelled as such. The process of recognizing Prosecco DOC Rosé requires a decree which is now waiting to be published in the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic. 

Production Requirements

Producers must follow rules to legally label their wine “Prosecco DOC Rosé”. Like Prosecco DOC, the primary grape used is Glera, with 10-15% Pinot Nero to achieve the color, which must be “pink, more or less intense, shining, and with a persistent foam”. Following the Martinotti / Charmant method, second fermentation must have a minimum of 60 days. Residual sugar levels are very low, from driest level “Brut Nature” (0-3 g/L) to second driest “Extra Dry” (0-6 g/L). Labels must state “Millesimato”, meaning “vintage”, using at least 85% grapes from that year. Finally, sales are allowed from the 1st of January after the harvest.

The Consortium estimates about 30 million bottles of Prosecco DOC Rosé will be produced annually. Therefore, you have something to look forward to purchasing in your favorite grocery store or wine shop early next year.

Great For Sharing on a Hot Summer Day

Famous Tuscan Winery Releases New Vintage with Focus on Sustainability

In April, world-renowned Ornellaia Winery in Tuscany, Italy, released its Grand Vin, Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Superiore 2017. The name “Solare”, “radiant” in English, was chosen to define this vintage – unusual frost, heat and drought extremes, which nonetheless resulted in an elegant wine of bold personality.

Ornellaia (@Ornellaia) | Twitter
Ornellaia Solare 2017. Credit: Ornellaia

How Does Ornellaia Solare Taste?

Estate Director Axel Heinz remarked about the surprisingly harmonious wine crafted by winemakers’ gentle handling of slightly younger grapes. Solare has characteristic notes of liquorice and blackberries with velvety tannins, yet rich acidity and roundness with “Mediterranean sumptuousness”.

From an Unpredictable, Extreme Climate

A stark contrast to outstanding vintages of 2015 and 2016, 2017 was a record unpredictable season showing climate change effects, which Ornellaia is proactively responding to for years. A mild winter, above-average temperature fluctuations with little rain during critical vine development stages forced buds to break earlier, and an earlier harvest.

Use of Sustainable Practices

Despite needing to adapt and forgoing traditional methods, Ornellaia achieved excellence  with sustainable practices, such as precision viticulture and terrain preservation. In addition, they use low-impact defences to maintain a self-regulated ecosystem that ultimately creates uniquely distinctive wines.

Sustainability as 2017’s Vendemmia d’Artista Theme

Artist Tomás Saraceno. Credits: Studio Tomás Saraceno 2019

Every year, Ornellaia invites celebrated artists to design limited edition labels through its Vendemmia d’Artista project. Choosing Sustainability as the annual theme for 2017 Solare, Artist Tomás Saraceno designed unique thermochromic heat-sensitive labels, a reflection of humanity’s impact on its environment. The ten Imperial and the lone Salmanazar will be auctioned on Sotheby’s in September. Profits from the event will be donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” program.

About Ornellaia –http://www.ornellaia.com

The name Ornellaia is synonymous of fine winemaking and an authentic expression of the beauty of Tuscany. The estate is situated along the Tuscan coastline, a short distance from the medieval town of Bolgheri and the iconic cypress-lined approach. Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Superiore and Ornellaia Bianco are the estate’s top wines, ensued by the second vin Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia and the white Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. In little over thirty years (the first vintage of Ornellaia was in 1985), the team’s dedication accompanied by optimal soil and microclimate have resulted in critical acclaim and public success within Italy and internationally. 

About Vendemmia d’Artista

Vendemmia d’Artista celebrates the exclusive character of each vintage of Ornellaia. Since the initial release of Ornellaia 2006, Ornellaia has commissioned an internationally-famous contemporary artist to create a work of art for the estate and a series of limited-edition labels, inspired by the character identified by the Winemaker and Estate Director, Axel Heinz, to describe the particular characteristics of the new vintage. 111 large formats, of which 100 3-liter Double Magnums, 10 six-liter Imperials and a nine-liter Salmanazar, are sold or auctioned off by Sotheby’s Wine for charity.

Prosecco Production Keeps Up With Growth Projections Amid Covid-19 Concerns

According to the Prosecco DOC Consortium, data from end of March showed that Prosecco DOC production quantities continue to meet expected demand to meet growth projections at least until the next harvest, despite current supply chain impacts of Covid-19. Available quantities ending April 1 amounted to at least 2,217,000 hectoliters, with an extra 550,000 hl in reserves from the 2019 vintage if demand increases.

Vineyard in Prosecco Region

Ongoing Challenges

However, multiple challenges remain which the Consortium is closely monitoring. According to Stefano Zanette, President of Prosecco DOC Consortium, the 2020 harvest is expected to have lower than average fertility. Additionally, producers with a short supply chain and those who do not operate with mass retailers are said to need greater financial and operational support. Overall wine consumption may decline as a direct result of Covid-19.

Supportive Measures

The Consortium Prosecco DOC emphasized their priority in maintaining market stability and preventing speculative actions, help producers increase liquidity for investment, and focus on producing higher value wines on a regional basis. The Consortium is prepared to implement legal and financial measures to support if the need arises.

About The Prosecco DOC Consortium

Prosecco

Prosecco was granted the Controlled Designation of Origin status on July 17th, 2009, and the Prosecco DOC Consortium (Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco) was created on November 19th of the same year to coordinate and manage the Prosecco DOC. The organization unites the different groups of manufacturers—wineries, individual and associated vine-growers, still wine and sparkling wine producers—to ensure the designation continues to grow and that the production regulations are complied with.

About Prosecco DOC

Prosecco DOC wines come in Spumante (sparkling), Frizzante (semi-sparkling) and Tranquillo (still) varieties. The wines are made from mainly the Glera grape, native to North East Italy for thousands of years, and can be combined with a maximum of 15% of the following grapes: Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Nero. Prosecco Frizzante and Spumante varieties get their famous bubbles using the Secondary Fermentation production method, bottled under high pressure after fermentation in bulk tanks called autoclaves, as opposed to the traditional method, which bypasses the autoclaves and is used for other sparkling wine varieties. The end result is a brilliant straw yellow wine with fine, persistent perlage and aromas of white flowers, apple and pear. It is fresh and elegant on the palate with moderate alcoholic strength. For more information regarding Prosecco DOC, visit www.casaprosecco.com.–

Best Wine Tasting Experience at Serego Alighieri Winery in Italy

(Contributed by Gabriele Brusamarello) – My best tasting room experience was at the Serego Alighieri Estate, in the heart of the Valpolicella wine region in Italy. Located just a few miles away from the historic and magical city of Verona and beautiful Lake Garda, the winery estate was establish in 1353. It was a sunny and warm day in spring 2012, and I went to visit the winery with some basketball teammates since we were playing for the Verona basketball team. When we first arrived, we were surrounded by nature, astonished by the historic beauty and uniqueness of the location, and our friend Massimilla (daughter of the owners of the winery) warmly welcomed us and gave us a great tour of the whole Serego Alighieri estate and vineyards.

Estate

Serego Alighieri Estate in Italy

When we first arrived, we were astonished by the historic beauty and uniqueness of the location, surrounded by nature. Our friend Massimilla (daughter of the owners of the winery) warmly welcomed us and gave us a great tour of the whole estate and vineyards.

Tasting the Amarone Wine

After the tour, Massimilla escorted us to the cellar, where grapes used to make Amarone were left to rest during the winter months for hundreds of years. We were welcomed by Massimilla’s family inside the cellar who made us feel like family the moment we walked in. A place with centuries of history immediately became an extremely friendly environment, which made the whole experience even more pleasant and memorable.

Inside the cellar we were offered many red wines that Serego Alighieri produced, including Valpolicella Classico Superiore, the Recioto Della Valpolicella, and delicious Amarone Della Valpolicella of different years. They were complemented by a variety of salame, prosciutto crudo, and porchetta, as well as different cheeses. Pairing wine and food helped wine to release its best flavors and aromas –it was absolutely perfect.

History and Family Linked to Dante

What made this so special is the history and family. In fact, Massimilla’s father told us that the estate was bought in 1353 by the son of the Supreme Poet Dante Alighieri. The fact that we were able to walk around made the whole experience surreal, magical, and breathtaking. I will always remember that special day and to be the experience that made me love wine even more than before.

Why Italians Link Wine to Food — and Recipe for Florentine Beefsteak

The_Taste_of_Tuscany_Guided_Wine_Tasting_Dinner_with_Tuscany_Superior_White_Wines_Chianti_Classico_and_D.O.P._Typical_ProductsThis January we are taking 26 Wine MBA and Wine Bachelors candidates to Tuscany for 2 weeks as part of a Winter Intersession class on global wine business.  Most participants currently work in the California wine industry, and are excited to learn more about the Italian wine scene.  We will be visiting wineries in Chianti Classico, Montalcino, Montepulciano and Bolgheri, and staying in both Florence and Siena.  For more information on the tour schedule, see: http://tuscanwinemusings.wordpress.com/

One of the interesting facts about Italian wine is its linkage to food. In fact, in Italy, the experience of drinking wine is not complete without food that is produced in the same region as the wine.  The Italians even have a phrase for this concept.  It is “L’Ambiente Del Vino,” which means the culture or habitat of wine.  In Italy, wine does not stand alone; it is part of the soil, the people who create it, the food, and the very culture of the place.

Speciality Foods of Tuscany

In Tuscany, there are many different grape varietals, but the top three are sangiovese, trebbiano, and vernaccia.  Some of the specialty foods produced in Tuscany and designed to go with wines made from these grapes include:  bistecca alla fiorentina, fagioli (white beans), pecorino toscano (cheese made from sheep’s milk), and a variety of game meats, including duck, rabbit, wild boar, and partridge.

Recipe for Bistecca alla Fiorentina

bistecca_alla_fiorentina_ristorante_la_maremma_firenze_thumb1_big (1)A few years ago a wine professor from Tuscany gave me the following recipe for Bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Grilled Steak Florentine Style.  When he first described it to me, I couldn’t believe how simple it sounded, and was skeptical about how it would turn out.  In fact, when I told my husband – the grill master – about the recipe, he said it would never work because it didn’t require any type of rub for the meat.  However, when we tried it, we were amazed at how magnificent this steak can be.

Ingredients

  • High quality T-bone or Porterhouse steaks (at least 1 inch thick)*
  • Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt

Instructions

Rinse steak in water and let sit on counter a while so that it reaches room temperature (at least 30 minutes).  Heat up BBQ grill to around 400.  Place steaks on grill (do not add any rubs, marinade, etc.).  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side.  While steak is cooking, pour generous amount of olive oil on a plate and grind sea salt on top of oil.  When steak is done, immediately transfer to plate and let it sit in oil/salt mixture for about 10 seconds before flipping to other side and letting it sit for another 10 seconds, then serve on clean plate.  Eat immediately and enjoy with large glass of sangiovese from Tuscany.

*It should be mentioned that in Tuscany, they have a special breed of white cows called Chianina beef.  This special type of beef provides the flavor and tenderness that make this recipe more successful.