Bellini
Made with Prosecco


Show up with a bottle of Prosecco at a party or order it in a restaurant, and chances are, your companions might ask "What's that?" But if you've ever heard of a Bellini, then Prosecco should be familiar -- it is the Italian sparkling wine originally used for this classic cocktail, said to hail from Harry's Bar in Venice. Easy to drink and well-priced, Prosecco deserves a place of recognition on your table.

Even though you may not be familiar with it, Prosecco has been enjoyed as far back as ancient Roman times. It was quite popular in Italy in the 1980s before finally making the leap into the mainstream U.S. market in the early 2000s. Mionetto , the largest importer of Prosecco in the States, first brought the wine here in 1998 and has since witnessed an incredible growth trend.

Mark Tucker, marketing manager for Mionetto, said that the company, especially in the last three years, has seen an exponential rise in domestic demand for Prosecco. The increased awareness has been due not only to expansive media coverage, but also the subtle shift in consumers' perception of sparkling wines.

"When Americans see bubbles in wine, they think special occasion," Tucker explained. Mionetto is trying to alter that, by highlighting Prosecco's unique flavor and modest price. With its crisp taste and essences of apple, pear and peach, the wine is very palatable to American tastes and easy to drink, even for the novice oenophile. And with a reasonable price range, it's possible to enjoy every day -- and even to explore the wide selection of offerings to find your favorite.

Prosecco is also an excellent choice for more than celebrations, though, as it pairs extremely well with food. Its pale golden hue looks stunning on the table, and its smooth, crisp flavor profile enables a myriad of pleasurable matches -- traditionally with appetizers, fish or other relatively light foods.

However, the wine's versatility opens the way for more modern pairings with cheese (try it as an accompaniment to a cheese tasting, as an unexpected palate refresher), spicy main courses (especially with Indian or Chinese cuisine), and a wide range of desserts (anything from fresh berries and cream to a dark chocolate torte).

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