Characteristics & Pairings of Prosecco
Prosecco is all about youthful freshness and elegant simplicity. The emphasis is on primary aromas – forthright aromas of fruit and flowers, often apple and pear but also citrus, stone fruits, wisteria or roses. Because the wines are aged in large tanks with less pressure, Prosecco bubbles are delicately light, frothy and spritzy, with less persistence than other sparkling wines.
Flavours tend to be crisp and refreshing – green apples, tropical fruits and mineral touches, while the moderate level of alcohol gives the wine its lightness. Finer Prosecco wines often exhibit notes of banana cream, hazelnut, vanilla and honeycomb.
Local wines often marry happily with local cuisine, and this is true of Prosecco. Holding onto the age-old hunter-gatherer traditions of the area, the local cuisine includes (on a seasonal basis) wild mushrooms, chestnuts, asparagus and Treviso radicchio. Wild herbs and leaf vegetables are made into soups, stuffed pastas and risottos, and spit-roasted or stewed game is served with polenta.
Simple cooking methods bring out the essential natural flavours of these foods, and as a general rule, the lightness and delicacy of Prosecco wine is best matched by simply cooked, light and delicate cuisine.
Of course, Prosecco with its moderate alcohol level and touch of sweetness, is a versatile tipple. Often consumed on its own as an aperitif and for toasts, or as an ingredient in cocktails, it also works wonders with appetizers and light starters. The Italians themselves drink Prosecco throughout the whole meal, and who are we to argue! Part of the appeal of Prosecco is that it brings out the best in many cuisines from farther afield – fish dishes, cured meats, white meats, even Thai noodles.
Here are a few of the best pairings for the three types of Spumante Prosecco:
- Brut – fish or vegetable hors d’oevres, light seafood-based pasta and rice dishes, or baked fish.
- Extra Dry – pulse or seafood soups, creamy cheeses (but never mature or blue cheese!), delicate pastas and white meats.
- Dry – spicy foods or dry pastries. Dry Cartizze goes well with shortbread and fruit tarts.