The New Year is Upon us! While everyone else is making their “resolutions” to eat healthy and quit spending so much money on booze and stuff, I’d like to suggest you take a different approach and look at 2018 as a time to try new wine. Like, a new wine every week. Keep our “varietal calendar” handy and mark off everything as you try it. There are more wines out there than you can ever consume in one lifetime. But, my brethren: You can try.
Week One: Glera
This is the grape that goes into the tasty fizzy elixir you know as prosecco. A New Year’s Day sparkling wine cocktail is always in style, and prosecco is great as a mixer for Mimosas, Bellinis, Kir Royale riffs…. Or straight. Prosecco runs the gamut from Il Plonko Cheapo to quite fancy pants, but Glera commonly yields bubbly wines that are straw colored, youthful, citrusy, appley or occasionally but less often peachy. Many of the finest proseccos have the classification “Valdobbiadene.” This refers to their location of origin and you’ll usually see the word “Superiore” on the labels of bubblies from this beautiful spot. They generally come in dry, drier and driest (Brut). They’re great on their own, and they also make lovely cocktails.
Seven Bottles to Try
Cartizze Le Colture: This is a riper expression of prosecco than many; the grapes are picked on the late end and thus have a certain intensity not always associated with light-bodied, easygoing Prosecco. The pale hay color is typical of the grape, the perlage is thin and reedy, and the aromatics are quite intense. Still Prosecco and still a fresh-faced type of wine, this bottle will exhibit some slightly unusual notes, particularly an intense combination of ripe apricots and roses. It is slightly sweet and makes a very nice after-dinner sip.
Ca’ Di Rajo Prosecco Superiore Millessimato Extra Dry ($15): This is a prosecco you might consider keeping the OJ away from. “Refined” isn’t a given with prosecco, which can run the gamut from brash and rustic to wines like this one, whose thin, persistent streams of bubbles are particularly elegant. I’d also call it unusually creamy in texture. It’s aged quite a bit longer than is required, so it has had time to develop some gravitas, and exhibits a very lovely array of bakery notes as well as a profusion of stone fruit notes, especially white nectarines. It has a long, voluptuous finish. I’d be very psyched to get this one as a gift.
Canah ($20): This prosecco is a party animal. Dry, yet also has a sort of candied quality, with a lot of apple and apricot tones but also an intriguing hint of melon, which I find a bit unusual in a prosecco. The bubbles are exuberant and a little feisty. A great aperitif.
Ca’ Vittoria ($20): This small estate puts bigtime meticulous care into their vines and production. The wine has lots of lively bubbles, a creamy finish, strong minerality. Highly tasty, with notes of citrus and tart apples over a subtle, chalky minerality.
Drusian ($15): Happily the reigning by-the-glass option at my local pizza place; those guys have some taste! Very dry and a consummate food wine. Persistent bubbles, relatively restrained. Fresh aromatics leaning toward apples but also a pronounced fresh-bread note. Vegetal and citrus notes on the palate.
Nino Franco Rustico ($16): Considered one of the great buys in the region. This wine has elegant perlage and a crisp, slightly tart character with fine minerality. Notes of white peach, plum, fresh pastry. Smooth citrusy finish.
Rebuli ($25): This one has some heft and a little residual sugar but it comes across as dry. Palate is slightly more tropical than most of these proseccos, with an atypical hint of pineapple on the palate. Sweet orange and peach also present.
Happy New Year!