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Prosecco, Italy

Where:  Prosecco is made in a few different areas of northeastern Italy, but most of the wine comes from a region northeast of Venice between the towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano.  Here, between the Dolomite Mountains and Adriatic Sea, with the vineyards mostly situated on hillsides, the weather stays fairly cool and mild.  

Grapes:  Most Prosecco is entirely made from the indigenous grape Glera, which, confusingly enough, is usually called “Prosecco.”  Small amounts of other grapes such as Pinot Grigio may be used as well.

Taste:  A typical Prosecco tastes off-dry, simple, crisp and flavorful.  You will often encounter flavors such as peach, pear, and apple.  Given the common abundance of fruit aromas, the wine may seem less dry though than Champagne or Cava.  While most of the wines are fully sparkling (Spumante) semi-sparkling versions (Frizzante) also exist.

Food Pairing:  Like other sparkling wines, Prosecco is fairly flexible when pairing with food.  It shines particularly well though with slightly salty appetizers such as fried calamari, prosciutto di Parma, and hard cheeses.

Ageability:  Prosecco is almost always meant for immediate consumption.  Very few of the wines will drink well 3 years after they’re made available for sale.

Method of Production:  Charmat Method.  This method involves making an acidic base wine from immature grapes and then moving it to sealed stainless steel tanks.  There the winery adds yeast and sugar to make the wine ferment again (trapping carbon dioxide in the wine).  Finally the wine is bottled under pressure directly from the tank.  Wines made in this method tend have fresh fruit flavors and are meant to be consumed young.
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