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It’s pink, first thought. It’s not a traditional rosé, the second. It bubbles the penultimate.
In 2010, the two top wine trends were a greater interest in rosé and Prosecco. Mercenarily, it seemed an organic resolution that someone would combine the two. It took ten years for the Prosecco Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) to approve the launch of Prosecco Rosé and, rest assured, this strict and severe body would not green-stamp any foray outside of the norm without it being good, or worthy. It took several years of development and consultation, led by the formidable Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC, for approval to be attained. Finally, the 347 sparkling wine houses were given the green light by their strict bureaucratic body for the development and production of Prosecco Rosé.
Firstly, these delectable, infectious, pink bubbles had to pass the DOC’s hardline tests, and the result is a refreshing, sparkling drink that delights. At first, I was nervous. Drinking any alcoholic beverage the colour of candy provokes nerves. The first thought: too sweet? There’s a lot of mediocre Prosecco on the market, what if this latest iteration is simply that, but dressed up in a pink suit? Fortunately, I was mistaken. It’s not as cuttingly acidic as Prosecco and retains beautiful floral and fruity notes on the nose. I admit, I was persuaded by the soft pink hue, which promises a refreshing summer drink, especially when drunk on a warm mid-summer evening under a pregnant Veneto moon.
Prosecco Rosé is a blend of native Glera grape with 10 to 15 per cent Pinot Noir, the only red wine permitted with Prosecco, fermented without its skin to make it white. The time required to vinify Prosecco Rosé in a vat is marked at 60 days – double that of Prosecco, and offers a fruitier, I would argue, fresher, flavour. Rest assured, the colour is not that of cotton-candy, or a hideous saccharine watermelon hue, the mark of a cheap, French rosé. The Prosecco Rosé is pale and lighter than most Italian pinks, and it is either extremely dry or slightly sweet. Her best consort? Pizza, thin-based. The yeast and bubbles mix heavenly together, a perfect and ideal aperitif pairing. The balance of sweetness and acidity make it wonderfully fresh and clean, a fabulous drink to serve as an aperitif, and it also holds up on its own. Although, I would pair it with something salty to balance out the sweetness – cheese, and cured meats work well.
The distinct difference between Prosecco and her pink cousin is that the latter has stronger notes of floral and fruit, spurred on by the inclusion of Pinot Noir, which in itself is defined by its strawberry flavour and tannins. Cast your eyes to Veneto and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, which straddles the border with Austria and Slovenia and is renowned for its sharp- peaked Dolomite mountains and luscious green vineyards. This is the home of Prosecco (its namesake, a village, lies near the city of Trieste) and now the new home and birthplace of Prosecco Rosé. She fares well on those high, mountainous peaks, clean-blue vistas and endless warm sunshine.
Like any new modern development in an old, established institution, Prosecco Rosé has been widely criticised. A ‘mere marketing tool’ was the rumour, and there was (some would argue, rightfully) criticism for the use of an international grape, like Pinot Noir. Yet, the rumours and judgements do not diminish its popularity, only inflame. Prosecco Rosé has already been celebrated as a popular summer drink. Scepticism and nostalgia aside, the drink is pink, the bubbles are crisp, and the floral and fruity notes remarkable. This is a new foray for Prosecco DOC. and one that you can’t help but fall for. Like most gastronomic exports from Italy, we are assured of its quality and taste, and Prosecco Rosé does not, I am happy to say, disappoint.
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