Sips: For Super Bowl Sunday and beyond, bring out the Prosecco

At last week’s Vino 2011 trade event here in New York, during a review of Italian wine in this country, the subject of sparkling wine was put into blunt context by Leonardo LoCascio, president of Winebow, a leading importer. “I don’t think we have a sparkling wine story,” he declared at a press conference. “We have a Prosecco story.” He was referring, of course, to the highly popular sparkling wine from the Veneto region, which has enjoyed enviable and singular success among non-Champagne contenders for a major piece of the budget bubbly market in recent years. I, for one, intend to have a few bottles on hand as I watch the Super Bowl with friends on Sunday night.

But a typical bottle of Prosecco, unpretentious and affordable, doesn’t need an excuse to be opened, as I reminded myself the canela other night when I felt like something light and refreshing before dinner. So I pulled out a bottle of  Canella’s Prosecco Brut from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, where it was sitting among several other sparklers of various pedigrees. Very dry with fine bubbles, it had apple and muted herb and citrus notes and was all but effortless to drink, even more so given a price tag of $15 or so. And with half a bottle left that evening, it also held up just fine in the fridge with a miscellaneous cork stuck back in the bottle until the next night, when I brought it out for an encore. Think of Prosecco as a go-to sparkler for just about any occasion, including  Valentine’s Day.

There are, of course, many other Italian sparkling wines at various price points, including sparkling Gavi, Moscato d’Asti, sweet and dry red Lambruscos, the higher-end Franciacorta and others. Unfortunately, they are minor players in the American market. Leonardo LoCasio said that higher-priced bubbly doesn’t do very because “on a special occasion people want to go safe.” In other words, he said, they want Champagne. Fortunately, for most other occasions, there is Prosecco. Canella’s Prosecco Brut imported by Empson (U.S.A.), Alexandria, Virginia. Received as a press sample.

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