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Wine column: Hooray! It's 'Drink Prosecco Day'

Lucky you!

There are two wine holidays this week, so you'll need to drink up to keep up.

Tomorrow is National Prosecco Day, a celebration of all things Italian-style bubbly.

And, Thursday is National Pinot Noir Day, the perfect time to sip the light red.

National Prosecco Day

Of course, most people drink Prosecco for its cool, fresh and uncomplicated bubbly deliciousness and because it makes them feel joyous.

Therefore, no further thought is required.

But, if you do want to know what makes Prosecco the most popular sparkling wine in the world, here goes.

Prosecco is Italian through and through, more specifically originating from the northeast of Italy around the village of Prosecco.

However, the Prosecco-method of making sparkling wines is used all over the world, including the Okanagan.

</who>Four sparkling wines prime for drinking today on National Prosecco Day -- Bottega DOC (Italy, $17), Bottega Gold (Italy, $33), Hester Creek 2021 Ti Amo (Oliver, $22) and Mission Hill Exhilaration Brut Rose (West Kelowna, $40).

For Prosecco, the bubbles in the wine are created in a large stainless-steel tank when still wine undergoes a second fermentation by adding yeast and sugar.

The yeast gobbles up the sugar, producing the byproduct carbon dioxide, which gives the wine its sparkle.

Champagne-method sparkling by comparison has secondary fermentation right in the bottle and the resulting wine spends more time on the dead yeast cells (lees).

Of course, all those dead yeast cells are cleared out before you ever drink a Prosecco or Champagne.

However, because Prosecco spends less time with the yeast, the resulting sparkling wine is young and fresh with fun bubbles and aromas and flavours of apple, peach and lemon.

Champagne is more complex and textured with fine, long-lasting bubbles and a fresh-baked croissant aroma and flavour (from the additional yeast contact) to go along with apple-and-citrus notes.

Thus, Prosecco is more approachable (read: generally more crowd-pleasing) and affordable.

Bottega in Italy exports more Prosecco than any other producer, so its sparkling wines are widely available at government and private liquor stores in BC.

The flagship is the Bottega Prosecco DOC, which is on sale at government stores right now for $17 ($3 off), no doubt to mark National Prosecco Day.

Bottega Gold is a higher-tier Prosecco and comes in a bougie shiny gold bottle for $33.

If you want to drink Prosecco-style sparkling from the Okanagan, the 2021 Ti Amo ($22) from Hester Creek Winery in Oliver is an excellent choice for its pear-and-candied-orange profile.

Or, try the fashionable Exhilaration Brut Rose from Mission Hill Family Estate in West Kelowna, which comes in a curvy, clear bottle and boosts a pink burst of raspberry and pink grapefruit aromas and flavours.

</who>Thursday is National Pinot Noir Day, the perfect time to open one of these beauties from Stag's Hollow Winery in Okanagan Falls -- 2020 Simply Noir ($23), 2020 Stag's Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir ($30) and 2020 Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir ($30).

National Pinot Noir Day

Pinot Noir may have originated in France's Burgundy region, but the Okanagan has adopted it with aplomb.

So, for National Pinot Noir Day on Thursday, or any day, for that matter, open a bottle from the Valley to enjoy the light red wine, unique for its delicate, distinct and delicious profile of cherry, vanilla and fresh earth.

Stag's Hollow Winery in Okanagan Falls loves Pinot and winemaker Keira LeFranc crafts three versions.

The 2020 Stag's Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir ($30) is made with grapes from 27-year-old vines, thus a darker and more mature Pinot.

The 2020 Shuttleworth Creek Pinot Noir ($30) is made with grapes from 10-year-old vines, so a more youthful expression.

And the 2020 Simply Noir ($23) is a blend of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gamay Noir and Dolcetto that's easy-going and easy-drinking -- so quaff it on a Tuesday night with pizza.

</who>Winemaker Keira LeFranc, pictured here with a glass of Pinot and her dog Cooper, crafted the three Stag's Hollow Pinots.

Seven Deadly Sins

Next Saturday, Aug. 20, Blasted Church Vineyards in Okanagan Falls is throwing a big, 20th birthday party with a 'Seven Deadly Sins' theme.

As such, there will be seven stations set up poolside with award-winning wine and food from winery chef John Burke, Shucked Oyster Co. and Purdy's Chocolate.

There will also be live music by Jon Bos, DJ Lady of the Mist spinning tunes and entertainment by Cosmic-Co-Motion.

Tickets are $150 at BlastedChurch.com.

Steve MacNaull is a NowMedia Group reporter, Okanagan wine lover and Canadian Wine Scholar. Reach him at [email protected].

The column will appear weekly in this space.



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