Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Bocelli Prosecco NV, Italy

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COST: $18-20

WHAT: For some people, Prosecco season is over, but for me it is just beginning.

Prosecco is a great summer sipper, perfect for sitting on the porch and drinking by itself. But it is also great with the Thanksgiving turkey, for Christmas dinner or New Year’s Eve. I drink it all year long.

Prosecco often is called the poor man’s Champagne because it has bubbles and is much less expensive than French Champagne. It can stand on its own without comparisons to Champagne because it has its own unique, pleasant taste.

The Bocelli Prosecco is spectacular – a beautiful pale yellow color with subtle flower and fruit aromas, and soft, sparkling flavors of peach and minerals. The tiny bubbles last throughout and present a nice, creamy fizz on the palate.

I loved the wine even before I knew it was produced by the family of famous tenor Andrea Bocelli.

The wine is made from the Prosecco grapes that are indigenous to the Veneto area around Venice, Italy. After maceration and fermentation it spends two months aging in the bottle.

I have long believed that we should drink more sparkling wine. Many people avoid it because they don’t know much about it and think it is for special occasions. But the Bocelli Prosecco is the perfect everyday sparkler. It is inexpensive, tastes great with all kinds of food and is low in alcohol (12 percent).

Serve it well-chilled. And with Columbus Day coming up, what better way to celebrate?

WINERY: The Bocelli family has been making classic Italian wines on their small estate in Tuscany since 1881. It is a family affair, with Mama Bocelli still working in the fields hand-tying vines. Andrea’s brother Alberto and his wife manage the property.

The family farm was settled in 1730 by Bartolomeo Bocelli. In the 1930s Alcide Bocelli became serious about expanding the small vineyards and modernizing the winemaking operation. His son Alessandro and Alessandro’s wife, Edi, continued the work, which is now carried on by Alberto and Andrea.

The main winery in the province of Pisa has old vines, some more than 70 years old. They grow classic Tuscan varietals such as Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia and Trebbiano and more recently Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2011, the family launched partnerships with other growers. This Prosecco and a luscious Sangiovese are the result. The Prosecco is made with the Trevisiol family, known as the first family of Prosecco. Their’s is the longest running, continuously operated family estate in Valdobbiadene, in the heart of the legendary Prosecco zone.

All Bocelli Family Wines are hand-harvested, without irrigation, and use no pesticides or chemical agents.

“When I return home after my long trips, the joy that I receive from the taste of wine from my land is hard to match,” said Andrea Bocelli. “It brings me back in time, to memories of my father, of him pouring the wine with a quasi-religious respect. I would give anything for him to see what has been accomplished in the past few years. I am sure he would be proud. … It is now my honor to be an ambassador for these wines; and to do so with the same zeal as my voice.”

GOES WITH: Sparkling wine is a great food wine because it goes with practically everything, from creamy sauces to spicy food. My wife, Teri, and I had it with a new creamy chicken soup I tried, called Velvet Chicken Soup. Besides chicken and cream it has carrots, celery, onions parsley, thyme, garlic and rice. It is a rich, hearty soup.

The sparkling acidity of the wine cut through the creaminess of the soup and made a perfect pairing.

The wine also would go well with shrimp cocktail, oysters, spicy noodles and most seafood. It also is great to sip by itself.

WINE EVENTS

THURSDAY, OCT. 10

Wine and tapas tasting, 5 p.m. until closing, La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St. Four wines and three tapas; $25; (706) 722-4805

FRIDAY, OCT. 11

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price dependent on flight selection; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., Evans Towne Market, 4460 Washington Road, Evans; wines, cheeses and live music; $5; (706) 303-8591

SATURDAY, OCT. 12

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price varies; (706) 922-9463

THURSDAY, OCT. 17

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, S.C.; three whites and three reds and cheeses; $5 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522

SATURDAY, OCT. 19

Columbia County Wine Festival, 1-4 p.m., Savannah Rapids Pavillion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road, Martinez; $35 in advance from The Vineyard Wine Market, Ninth Street Wine Market and Evans Towne Market, or $40 at the door; a wide assortment of foods, more than 200 wines, imported beers, live jazz, and door prizes.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 23

Wine tasting, 7 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; wines of J. Lohr, $25; reservations, (706) 922-9463

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