03 August, 2015

#Bubblesandbikes Prosecco in my glass this summer

#BubblesandBikes was the hashtag @wineharlots and I used, when we were lucky enough to be guests of the Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC at the World Superbike Races at Mazda Speedway in Laguna Seca, near Monterey, CA.

Laguna Seca races are events that are generally half hiking and half roasting if you, like me, want to see the lightning fast, thunder loud motorcycles racing.  However, for this event, we were VIP and got to enjoy the races in  a cozy, sparkler-splashed aerie, where we could enjoy delicious Valdo Prosecco along side hot and cold running snacks.

We also got to visit, thanks to our hostess Claire Hennessy of Colangelo Partners, backstage where we got to meet Miss Prosecco and take a Pit Walk. When you see the race bikes up close, they look like steel skeletons.  Those highly modified bikes give new meaning to the phrase "Zoom Zoom" as they clock in at speeds upwards of 152 mph.  With nothing between themselves and the asphalt but some brightly colored leathers and some serious derring do, racers roar around the track.  It's hard to imagine all the things that have to go right just to survive, let alone win.  So, no wonder when all the heats are over, the winners celebrate with Prosecco.

As refreshing as a Prosecco shower might be, I still think it is best in a glass.

Prosecco is a sparkling wine made from a grape called Glera.  It is made using  a method called "Charmat" (named for its inventor, Eugene Charmat) where still wine, in this case from Glera grapes, undergoes its second fermentation in a large pressurized tank.  This is different from méthode champenoise in which this process occurs in the bottle as is done in Champagne.  Charmat  is a quicker and more economical way to get this delicious and festive wine to the market.

Proseccos come from the north of Italy; think, the cuff of the boot.  There are both DOC and DOCG areas, as pictured on the adjacent map.  Many delicious examples come from both regions. 

While we gobbled up breakfast, lunch and snacks--all that excitement gives you an appetite--we drank copious amounts of straw bright, refreshing Valdo Prosecco DOC Brut.  The wine had small, tight bubbles.  With aromas of apples and white peaches and a nice acidity, it was a great pair for all the snacks.  We toasted the winners as they zipped past us.  

The evening before, we had enjoyed a delicious bottle of 
Zonin Prosecco DOC Brut, which is one of the most popular brands of Prosecco.  We found it very tasty.  So tasty in fact, that it was gone before our starters arrived.  To make the wine, Zonin gently presses 100% Glera grapes to obtain must.  Half the must undergoes an initial fermentation at a controlled temperature of 64°F while the remaining unfermented must is stored at 32°F.  Then, they combine the two and transfer it into pressurized stainless steel tank, where the Charmat method is employed  to finish the wine.

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All that Prosecco reminded me of my visit to the Friuli region.  A highlight of the trip, was dinner with an amazing producer, San Simone. Not only were Anna Brisotto and her husband two of the most glamourous people I have ever seen up close, but Anna's passion for the wines and her family's commitment to excellence in wine making was fascinating. Had I the foresight to set my camera to sports action mode, I would have captured better snaps.  Their wines were all delicious, but my favorite was the  Perlae Naonis San Simone Prosecco DOC Brut.  A long name for a lovely wine they nicknamed " Si".  Lovely pale yellow with tiny bubbles and a bright and delicious taste, it was paired with a starter of Sformato, or cheese mousse, that started off our dinner with a bang.  After several days of serious snacking and sipping, this wine's sparkling personality shone through and was memorable.  A great story like that of  Anna's family, which has nearly a hundred years of wine making helps.  Their commitment to sustainability was impressive.  As well, the stylish bottle with the tactile shape and the embossed "Si", made you want to say yes.  If you find yourself at the Ritz Carlton in Miami, order up and you will be delighted.
Delicious Prosecco? Si!

Make time this summer for this affordable and festive wine.  Prosecco pairs with many foods. It is known for fruity aromas and an easy lightness.   The classic Bellini is Prosecco with white peach puree and goes great with brunch.  A lively sparkle will pair well with summer salads.  And for dinner, what could be more versatile than a sparkling wine that pairs well with courses from shrimp to dessert?

Many thanks to Colangelo Partners who hosted me for the races! And special thanks to Claire Hennessy who made the trip so fun!