Tag Archives: Prosecco

Bubbling over the holidays

“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.” 


Fascinating facts about bubbles add to the allure of the pop. Did you know that to label a bottle as Champagne, the grapes must grow in the Champagne region of France? This, according to its Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) regulation, is non-negotiable… well, unless you’ve been grandfathered in before the AOC occurred on June 29, 1936.

If you’ve ever seen bottles of bubbly labeled California Champagne, such as Korbel, what you’ve seen is perfectly legal because Korbel was established in 1882, before the 1936 regulation. There’s always a loophole. Korbel, like, Champagne, is made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise (secondary fermentation in bottle), and it is perfectly elegant in taste and presentation. A bottle of Korbel is a great option at an affordable price – under $20 a bottle – an economical choice for large group celebrations.

A California sparkling wine can rival any Champagne, and if you prefer a sparkling California wine with a bit of pink, try a bottle of Windsor Vineyards Brut Rosé Sparkling ($32) – and order online for your next gift to offer a holiday party host – and create a custom label. This non-vintage Brut Rosé Sparkling is made in Méthode Champenoise with grapes grown on the North Coast. Aromas of honeysuckle and pear lead to a palate of crisp watermelon and a finish of grapefruit. Refreshing and ready for you to grab your favorite brie cheese and bake it with fruit.

If you’re searching for authentic Champagne, France is where it all begins in the soil composition: chalk, oyster shells, and limestone. These elements attribute to a grape structure that produces the best sparkling wine in France, if not the world. Three grapes are utilized in Champagne: Chardonnay for its elegance; Meunier for its offer of roundness on the palate; and Pinot Noir for its strength. More factors include the weather, cultural practices, and time-honored experience.

The newest Korbel bottle on the shelves isn’t Champagne, though. Korbel Prosecco is a sparkling wine made with glera grapes of the Veneto region. Like Champagne, the Veneto region has regulations of its own. Korbel didn’t make the loophole for this one, though. As of 2009, strict regulations were in place in that the glera grapes must be grown in Prosecco to be called Prosecco. And Prosecco is a place about an hour from Venice; it’s no longer the name of a grape.

The glera grape is a white varietal which is said, but not confirmed, to hail from Slovenian in its origins. One sip of this sparkling and I was transported back to my one and only stop in Prosecco, Italy, where our tour group stopped to pick a few leftover green-skinned glera grapes from the recent harvest. From my first sip, the slight aromas of honeysuckle, lemon, pear, and peach led to a palate of the same, with a crisp acidity.

Another Prosecco worthy of a mention is a bottle of Guinigi Prosecco Rosé ($17), produced in Treviso and Fruili Venezia Guilia, Italy. This wine is a blend of Prosecco (glera grape) and Pinot Noir, the latter grape to produce the pink color. This is considered a Spumante Brut and it pairs perfectly with a creamy vegetable risotto – or platter of sushi. It’s also a great palate cleanser due to its robust acidity.

La Gioiosa Prosecco is floral forward with fruits on the palate that suggest a ripened apple. It’s considered “off-dry,” meaning a bit sweeter than most dry sparkling wines. This is a great sparkling to serve with shellfish.

Another “sort of” sparkling something is a fun Lambrusco, which hails from one of the best places in the world to get cheese… Reggio Emilia. American negociant Cameron Hughes has introduced Lot 841, which is more of a frizzante, meaning semi-sparkling. Most Americans recall the one brand, Reunite, available in a jug, and it tasted like Welch’s grape juice. This Lambrusco is delicious with any red-sauce dish or pizza and is a fun conversation wine priced around $15 a bottle.

The best Prosecco to pair with brunch

Autumn mornings in Sonoma, California are when the air feels crisp and cool before the afternoon sun warms temperatures up to near 90 degrees. A recent birthday brunch with a few favorite ladies could not have happened on a more perfect day.

We met at the River Vine Café in Santa Rosa, part of the Vintner’s Inn. The café closes at 1:30pm and serves breakfast/brunch items with indoor/outdoor seating. The inside was nearly empty on this Saturday morning, mainly because the outdoor seating was full. The view of the gardens captivated our attention, especially when we noticed white folding chairs were being set up for a wedding. It was a perfect day for a wedding, but I was happy with celebrating my friend’s birthday during this marvelous brunch.

The bottle of bubbles I brought to toast my friend’s birthday was much like the air that morning – before temperatures soared into the 80s. This luxury collection Mionetto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG was as crisp as the first bite of an apple – extra dry, and it was as clear as water with bubbles bigger than bottle-fermented sparkling wines. Prosecco is a sparkling wine made from the Glera grape that grows in the northeast of Italy. The sparkling version is typically made using the tank method, and this bottle was no exception. It was lovely, dry, and fitting for fall with its apple notes. I enjoyed the pairing of this Prosecco with my order of Rancho Huevos.

We finished the bottle with ease, laughed and enjoyed the setting and each other’s company, and departed to continue our Saturday, but with a renewed vigor and stride in our step that could only be formed by bonding with your girlfriends during Saturday brunch.

This isn’t the first Mionetto Prosecco I’ve enjoyed. I shared a cocktail recipe previously, of which I’ll share again for those hosting their own brunch sometime soon. I recommend you pour this cocktail in a martini glass.

Italian Honey Suckle (courtesy of Mionetto Master Mixologist, Justin Noel)


– 1 jalapeño slice

– .5 oz fresh lime juice

– .5 oz honey syrup

– 1 oz blanco tequila

– 1 oz Mionetto Prestige Organic Prosecco DOC Extra Dry

– jalapeño slice for Garnish


  1. In a mixing glass, add jalapeño slice and lime juice.
  2. Muddle lightly.
  3. Add honey syrup and tequila and shake.
  4. Strain into a martini glass.
  5. Top with Mionetto Prosecco.
  6. Garnish with jalapeño slice.


Sparkling from Italy to Argentina

As you prepare to ring in the New Year, you can begin in style and within reasonable cost with two sparkling wines worthy of the lead.

#1 – Vino dei Fratelli Vintage Prosecco 2016 ($17.99 or less)

They say ancient Romans drank Prosecco to preserve youth and to lengthen their lifespan. The empire lasted quite a while, so there may be something to Prosecco more than the high value, low-cost factor.

Prosecco is made with 100% glera grapes from Veneto, Italy. I opened my first bottle of Vino dei Fratelli upon the arrival of some friends who wanted to toast to the holiday season before we headed out for the evening.

Their first sips were voiced to this Prosecco’s success. They loved the dryness and ease of drink-ability. We agreed this was considerably an easy-to-drink bubbly on its own, but we enjoyed it even more with French triple-cream cheese spread on quinoa cakes. This is a drink-it-now sparkling, so that’s exactly how we treated the bottle.

#2 – Bianchi Brut Sparkling (no vintage) made by Bodega Valentin Bianchi, South America – ($21.99)

Predominantly made with chardonnay, followed by a third of pinot noir and a touch of viognier, this brut sparkling is sure to seduce your palate with delicate bubbles emitting notes of white peach and toasted nuts that lead to a fruit-forward, dry bubbly.

The grapes are grown in San Rafael in Mendoza, Argentina and the taste is better than many Champagnes I’ve tasted, especially when you factor in that you can drink this alone. But again, bubbles are best with cheese, so I succumbed.

This sparkling is made in the traditional French Champenoise method in that its secondary fermentation occurs in-bottle, which equals small bubbles and no headache for those who indulge.


Raise your glass to usher in 2019 and look back to the past with warm memories. May this year bring new happiness, new goals, new achievements and new inspiration to your life. All the best wishes to a year brimming in happiness.