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Summer Fizz - Prosecco, The Italian Bubbly
Copyright 2005 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed June 29, 2005. For more information go to

If ever there was a wine to counter the conventional wisdom, it must be Prosecco, the fun and fizzy Italian sparkling wine from the Veneto.

Throw out those notions that proper bubbly must be hand-made stuff, made from only the noblest of Chardonnay and Pinot grapes and fermented in the individual bottle. Prosecco comes from grapes you probably never heard of (Prosecco, mostly, and Verdiso, perhaps with splashes of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay); and it's produced in bulk, carbonated in large vats by the much-maligned "Charmat process" that's usually associated with plonkish industrial fizz.

But for some reason that I've never fully understood but am quite willing to enjoy, Prosecco consistently succeeds where so many of Champagne's imitators fail: It's crisp, dry, fresh and fizzy, a delicious wine for a summer aperitif or even at the dinner table.

You'll occasionally see still or lightly sparkling ("frizzante") Proseccos, but most of it comes fully carbonated under a Champagne-style cork that flies out with a similar pop.

Don't make the mistake of comparing Prosecco with Champagne - it's a different wine with a different personality at a decidedly different price. Look for Prosecco in the range from less than $10 to, at the outside, under $20. For style, quality and value, I would choose any random Prosecco in an instant over most Spanish cavas, American low-end sparkling wines or any other bubbly in this price range.


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