Vino: Zardetto Prosecco

[We were surprised to see that Eric Asimov's column in yesterday's NY Times (A Sip, a Smile, a Cheery Fizz, June 21, 2006) was about Prosecco, since we'd already received Jenny's post about the same wine. If imitation is flattery, then thank you, Eric, for flattering us so!]

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Name: Zardetto Prosecco Grape: Prosecco Region:Veneto, Italy Price: $8.99 to $13.99

Prosecco is a perfect, laid back, inexpensive refresher on a hot summer's day. This uncomplicated wine is ideal as an aperitif or as the wine pairing to a lighter meal, such as a garden vegetable salad or light seafood dish.

We are able to enjoy Prosecco for a mere fraction of the cost of Champagne due to the varying winemaking styles and the quality/reputation of the contrasting regions and grapes. While Champagne is the bi-product of a time consuming and difficult winemaking technique that involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle, Prosecco undergoes the secondary fermentation in a large tank. Both of these methods create sparkling or frizzy wines, with the Champagne bubbles being more refined and elegant and the Prosecco bubbles being a bit more straightforward. Often, Prosecco will have a little residual sugar, which is why the wine almost always tastes so good.

Champagne also has a long history of making wines that will age for many years. In the world of wine, ageability is the ultimate litmus test of a wine's quality. This is another reason why Prosecco is so much less expensive than Champagne, it generally does not age well. The crisp, light flavors of Prosecco will fade after a few short years.

So splurge on Champagne for special occasions but drink Prosecco tonight. The Zardetto Prosecco is a fresh, aromatic example of Prosecco. With a nice white foam and crisp apple flavors that will take the edge of the summer's heat, plus at these prices you can afford it!

Stores: PJ Wine, $10.99 (4898 Broadway between 204th & 205th Streets), Sherry-Lehmann, $10.99 (679 Madison between 61st & 62nd Streets), Appellation Wines & Spirits, $10.99 (156 10th Avenue between 19th & 20th Streets), Tribeca Wine Merchants, $11.99 (40 Hudson Street between Duane & Reade), Union Square Wines & Spirits, $12.99 (140 Fourth Avenue at 13th Street).

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