- 2020 Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Rosé ($9.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)
Prosecco is a deliciously dry sparkling wine with crisp acidity, low sugar and plenty of fruit character – all at a fraction of the cost of traditional Champagne. Traditionally produced in Veneto in North Eastern Italy, it is fermented almost exclusively from the Glera grape. It is best drunk young, and you can’t get a bottle much newer and fresher than this one…
The first thing that caught my eye on closer inspection of this DOC Prossecco at Trader Joe’s was the phrase “Millesimato 2020”. (Use that to impress your friends.) You see, it is rare to find vintages declared on inexpensive bottles of this sparkling wine. I suspected this was a sign of quality, and sure enough, it was. There were none of the off flavors that often plague Prosseco priced under $10. Even if you are going to blend it to make an Aperol spritz (recipe to follow), you’ll be well served to start with “good juice” as you might find yourself sipping it straight up.
Pours a lovely light copper color and the nose presents hints of cotton candy, despite this wine being extra dry as opposed to sweet. It also has yeasty notes that we like so much in other, more expensive, sparkling wines such as Champagne. It has flavors of tart cherry, raspberry and citrus. Some pleasant notes of peach on the finish. Would make a nice companion to a charcuterie tray, shellfish and most vegetarian dishes.
If you’re a fan of the gin-based Italian cocktail Negroni (as I am) you are almost certain to like an Aperol spritz. Their flavors are remarkably similar. Lower in alcohol and less syrupy, I like to think of the Negroni as a winter beverage and an Aperol Spritz as the epitome of summer.
Soon, we will all be back travelling, and making up for lost time in Italy. Walk through an Italian town during the late-afternoon—particularly in Northern cities like Milan and Venice—and you’ll find groups of people enjoying Aperol Spritzes. The after-work spritz is a long-established Italian tradition, and fortunately, it’s one that’s easily replicated.
Aperol traces its roots back to Padua, Italy. The aperitivo, an appetite-whetting beverage designed to be consumed before dinner, was created in 1919. Its bittersweet flavor, aromatic botanicals and easygoing alcohol content (like our featured Prosecco, it’s only 11% ABV) made it the perfect choice for pre-dinner sipping. Pair Aperol with bubbly wine and sparkling water, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more refreshing and thirst-quenching cocktail. And because it’s low in alcohol, you can start drinking early and still make it to dinner. Among the canon of Italian spirits, Aperol and the Aperol Spritz cocktail are classics. The gentle sweet-bitter profile goes down easy—especially when lightened with bubbles.
In my version, I add frozen tangerine slices as a garnish. Not only do these elevate the “fun” factor, they keep the beverage colder longer. And once their work is done and they are re-thawed, they are a delicious compliment to the bitter and citrus flavors in the Prosecco and Aperol. The latter is widely available now in the US and will cost you $20-$25.
Aperol Spritz or, summer in a glass!
The promised recipe for an Aperol Spritz:
- 3 parts Prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 part club soda
- Tangerine slices for garnish, frozen if possible
I like to serve my Aperol Spritz in a Champagne flute (as shown above) but a wine glass would work just as well. If your Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell wine, or isn’t stocking this particular Prosecco, you can find this good option at Costco.
If your local Trader Joe’s carries this bottling, give it a try and let us know what you think by dropping a note here in the comments section or on our Facebook or Instagram posts.
And if your weekend does find you shopping at your local TJ’s, also keep an eye out for our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine. It’s a shopping list comprised of our most recent reviews.
Or if you’re headed to Costco, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list of Costco wine finds.