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English: Prosecco di conegliano spumante extra...

Prosecco is a dry or extra dry sparkling white wine produced in Italy. This is made from Glera grapes which are commonly grown in Northern Italy. In recent years this white wine has become a popular substitute for Champagne as it is easier on the budget and has a slightly different flavor which appeals to many. This wine was introduced to the common U.S market in 2000 and demand for it has grown since.

Prosecco has its second fermentation in stainless steel tanks which makes it less expensive than it largest competitor, Champagne which has second fermentation within the bottle. This sparkling white wine is mainly produced as fully sparkling, also known as spumante, or lightly sparkling, frequently called frizzante or gentile. The more expensive variant is the Prosecco spumante. A still wine is also made  from the Glera grapes, but this is not commonly exported.

To increase the sweetness of the wine some Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio may be added to it. It is available in “Brut”, “Extra Dry”, and “Dry” flavors.

Like other sparkling wines, Prosecco is best when served chilled. Prosecco can grow stale inside the bottle because the second fermentation takes place outside of the bottle, and it should be consumed while young, preferably within three years of its vintage. A few of the higher end bottles can be kept for up to seven years.

Prosecco is lower in alcohol than most sparkling wines, containing just 11 to 12% alcohol by volume. Prosecco is a light fruity flavor with an intense aroma. It has a fresh crisp flavor that lays pleasantly on the palate. This beverage is usually served unmixed, but does appear in several mixed drink recipes including the Bellini and Spritz cocktails. It is also commonly used as a less expensive replacement for Champagne in other cocktails such as the Mimosa.

Next time you have a celebration instead of doing the usual and buying Champagne, why not try something new and pick up a few bottles of Prosecco? Raise your glass with an Italian sparkling wine and start a new tradition.

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