Friday, December 21, 2007

Prosecco for the holidays

Astound your friends and confound your enemies, as Mark Twain once said, by making Prosecco the centerpiece of your holiday celebrations, both for Christmas and New Year's. You can fare bella figura (make a good impression) with this Italian alternative to that other, Frenchy sparkling wine, which shall go unmentioned, and is also much more expensive and shall I say it- somewhat pretentious.

Your holiday Prosecco should definitely be a doc (denominazione di origine controllata) wine, that is, from the restricted area of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (in the province of Treviso, not far from Venice). And here you have an additional way to impress your friends: casually toss out the correct pronunciations of these. Conegliano (coh-neh-LLAN-oh) with the -ll as in "millions" and Valdobbiadene (val-doh-BYAHD-deh-neh).

The Eggplant defers to very few people in its knowledge of Italian food, but, alas, cannot pretend to be the expert on Italian wine. It will therefore pack you off to a fellow blogger who has done the footwork, or rather, the lipwork, to assess these people-pleasin' bubblies. I will put in two words of caution: although Prosecco is relatively inexpensive, don't go too low for the festivities (not under $15). And I would avoid Mionetto.

I had previously alerted you to the king of Prosecco, that is, Cartizze. If you can find this in time, you will establish your coolness and rout your enemies for all time. Think of what a good new year you'll have. This will not be easy to find, but that makes it even better.

Finally. Foods to go with this good 'un. It is an approximate rule of thumb that wines from a region go with the cuisine of a region. And the cuisine of Treviso is mighty fine. Fish and shellfish from nearby Venice, plentiful radicchio, risotti with vegetables or fish, tiramisu. Prosecco is not only easy to drink but easy to pair with. Suggestions: lobster risotto, radicchio risotto, a pate' of radicchio and pecans, scallops, shrimp. For a primer on radicchio from a Veneto/Californian who knows his stuff, see this site on radicchio.

Serve your Prosecco quite cold. Cin cin (cheen-Cheen)- cheers