This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Apr. 11, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080411.php.
Pink sparkler for spring
I think we're in the clear now, though, with green buds and flowers all around, and just enough rain to keep those vernal blossoms popping.
Let's celebrate with a glass of dry, crisp pink bubbly!
As discussed last autumn in "Serious pink bubbly" (Sept. 24, 2007), the Raboso grape of Northeastern Italy's Veneto region isn't all that highly regarded in still red wines, making a tipple so tangy and tart that it's hard for wine makers to keep the fruit and acid in balance.
But, just as in Champagne where producers turned a cool climate's underripe and sour Chardonnay grapes in to a sparkling classic, Italy's Veneto is discovering the virtues of high-acid grapes to bring structure to the region's hot-selling bubbly, Prosecco.
Under the rules of the Prosecco DOC (Italy's designated wine regions), the top Prosecco bottlings from Conegliano and Valdobbiadene must be white, made from at least 85 percent Prosecco grapes, with the balance filled out from a short list of other local or international white varieties.
But there's an awful lot of non-DOC Prosecco about, and the most appealing pink versions are usually built with Raboso. Today's tasting, Cantine Riondo "Pink" Prosecco Raboso, is one of the few I've seen that prints both Raboso and Prosecco on the label. The cork is tied down with string in the old-fashioned way, imparting a distinctly artisanal look. But don't be fooled: The fat cork still needs a corkscrew to pry it out, with a gentle, not explosive, pop.
Cantine Riondo "Pink" Prosecco Raboso ($11)
Transparent and very pretty pale rosy pink, frizzante but not fully sparkling; frothy bubbles quickly fall back in the glass. Delicate red berries and fresh herbs on the nose; crisp, prickly and fresh on the palate, subtle fruit shaped by good acidity. There may be a distant hint of fresh-fruit sweetness, but with the tart acidity and a pleasant, very slight bitter note in the finish, it comes across as dry. Lightweight 10.5% alcohol invites quaffing. U.S. importer: Grapes Solutions Inc., Dover, Del. (March 10, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: Spring's on the way, and this one will be a real treat for alfresco sipping or pairing with dinner salads and veggie dishes. It was very good with a simple meatless pasta dish,
VALUE: You won't find a much better bubbly bargain in the $10 range.
WHEN TO DRINK: Fresh and crisp, this is no candidate for cellaring. Buy it, drink it, enjoy it.
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