Maschio Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry 2015
Some time ago sparkling wines appeared on my table extremely rarely. It could be just once a year on a New Year’s Eve when it is traditional to crack open a bottle of champagne. There were two main reasons for that: firstly, I normally drink wine with food and one glass is all I need for a dinner. This doesn’t work with sparklings; once opened, the bottle has to be consumed in one sitting and it’s just too much. I played with champagne savers, but they don’t work over the long term. They would seal the bottle, but due to reduced internal pressure the wine would eventually go flat. So choosing between too much wine and flat wine I opted for no wine at all.
Another reason was the taste. Even if I commit to drinking a whole bottle, most of it has to be consumed when the food is finished. This brings a challenge — the wine has to be good both with food and on its own. In my experience, that was usually a quality of pretty expensive wines. And in general, I found the taste of sparkling wines either too sweet, or too sour.
I guess, the sourness of the wine will not eventually be seen by me as a disadvantage, but that takes regular practice. There were two observations that made me think so. One was indirect, made during Dan Murphy’s Champagne and Sparkling Showcase where I had an opportunity to taste about 30 different bubblies. What I noticed was that almost all high-end Champagnes were too sour to my taste. At the same time, the price tag implied that it was a good wine. From that I made a conclusion that sourness was not the defining attribute in the assessment of quality of sparkling wine.
Another observation was made by a director of one of the big Russian sparkling wine producers. There was an interview that went like this:
Journalist: “Which type of sparkling wine is preferred by your customers?”
Director: “It depends on how often they drink it. Those who drink it once a year prefer sweet. People who drink it once a month would go for semi-dry or semi-sweet. The lovers of sparkling who open a bottle each week prefer dry wine. And real aficionados who can’t live a day without a glass of champagne usually drink brut.”
Journalist: “And what is your preferred style?”
Director: “Oh, I drink only brut.”
Your mileage may vary, but for me that observation was spot on — having a bottle of sparkling every weekend I prefer it dry. Now, how did it happen that I moved from a bottle a year to a bottle a week? Again, there were several reasons. Firstly, I found a sparkling wine which completely agreed with my taste, had a reasonable price and could be bought at Dan Murphy’s in piccolo bottles — that’s just 200 ml! I bought one to make some cocktail which required champagne, but was delighted to find that it could be enjoyed on its own — it was Brown Brothers Prosecco. It is very easy drinking and, apparently, extremely popular. For example, when I tried to buy a bottle of it at Hornsby Westfield right after New Year Eve celebration, I found that Dan Murphy’s and Liquorland had only one bottle remaining between them.
This discovery, in turn, led to exploration of Prosecco wines and a realisation that both Olga and I liked pretty much all of them. We tried Italian and Australian Proseccos and invariably found that they were very drinkable with food and without.
|Name:||Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
Millesimato Extra Dry
|Date of purchase:||28/01/2017|
|Date of tasting:||04/02/2017|
Finally, some time ago we developed a tradition of buying a family box of sushi on weekends and were delighted to find that Prosecco made a perfect wine match for it; and this applies to every brand of Prosecco we tasted. Nevertheless, there are always favourites and in this post I am going to present one brand that had so good cost-to-value ratio that I bought a box of it — 2015 Maschio Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry.
The full name is quite a mouthful, but the important thing to note here is Millesimato, or vintage. There is a non-vintage variety of this Prosecco which is cheaper but not as flavoursome as the vintage one. The difference is subtle but after tasting both I knew which one I was going to choose. Talking about flavours, 2015 Maschio Prosecco is light and fruity, with fresh tones of apple and pear, and a hint of bitterness that is found in very ripe dark red apple skin.
The sushi that we usually have with Maschio Prosecco are uramaki with different fillings such as California, cooked tuna, raw salmon and avocado. The ones with California filling are also topped with avocado, raw or grilled salmon, and raw tuna. Mostly, it’s not the raw ingredients but California filling that resonates with Prosecco. However, if you add to the mix all the common condiments which are used to jazz up sushi — soy sauce, ginger and wasabi — you will take your tasting experience to the next level. That’s when sushi and Prosecco pairing delivers an outstanding gustatory sensation which makes us look forward to every weekend.
Although we mostly drink Prosecco with sushi, it has been successfully paired with other dishes, for example, fruits. Even though Maschio Prosecco is an easy drinking wine and goes well on its own, after a glass or two I feel like having a nibble. When the main dish is gone one naturally starts thinking about a dessert, and a fruit plate is a perfect accompaniment to Prosecco. But not any fruit. To find out which ones are a good match, we went to Sydney Markets and took full advantage of autumn cornucopia of fruits. Here is my guide to matching fruit and Maschio Prosecco:
|Josephine Pear||👍👍||Tastes like cider|
|White grapes||👍👍||Grapes act as a natural sweetener which does not modify the taste of Prosecco. So if extra dry feels too sour to you, just crush a grape in your mouth before sipping the wine.|
|Fuji||👎||A conflict of tastes.|
|Galaxy Gala Apple||👍||Nice contrast between fresh sourness of Prosecco and sweetness of the apple.|
|Feijoa||👎||The sour skin does not match the wine.|
|Persimmon||👎||Similar to Fuji, it doesn’t go well with Prosecco.|
|Red plum||👍||Surprisingly good, despite the sour skin.|
|Raspberry||👍||Very nice with small sips; gets interesting when you add fresh mint.|
|Pommelo||👍||Harmonises with wine taste and increases its fizziness.|
|Orange||👍👍||Like a cocktail!|
|Imperial Mandarin||👎||The fruit was unripe and didn’t match wine.|
|Papaya||👍👍||My favourite pairing.|
Finally, we tried Maschio Prosecco with marinara stir-fry made with chilli and soy sauces. The result was pretty much the same as with sushi — the basic dish was a good match, but adding some zesty ingredients such as fresh lime and Spanish onion made it great.