So it’s finally upon us. There is no more escape. The lights are up. Christmas is nigh. And I have to confess to feeling a faint shiver of excitement when I walk down the Ramblas raining soft, flashes of blue light down the plane trees, like snow but warmer. Most of all, I feel it when I get invited to tastings of something festive and fizzy.
For once though, I am not talking about cava—of which, no doubt, I shall consume a lot—but of something a bit different to serve not as an aperitif or with dessert, but with a hunk of juicy roast fish, a platter of simply grilled seafood, or a pile of rice. I’m talking about Prosecco, Italy’s contribution to the dolce vita. Specifically I’m talking about a winery in Treviso, an area directly north of Venice and home to the Bortolomiol winery, which dates back to 1760 and is now run by the founder’s four daughters: Maria Elena, Elvira, Luisa and Giuliana. I like to think it’s their feminine touch that brings such elegance to the wine, a lightness to the bubbles, and a gentle sweetness that balances the acidity.
The tasting was of a Superiore di Cartizze 2007 (€18.50), which was balanced and less sweet than I expected, fresh with a fine bubble, elegant with a pleasing bitter almond finish. All characteristics typical of Prosecco, which I feel make it a more rousing kind of drink.
My recommendation though, is specifically for Christmas Eve to serve with a platter of fresh fish and seafood. Bandarossa (€18)—so named, not because it is red, but because the founder Giuliano Bortolomiol would mark the bottles containing the best extra dry Prosecco of the year with a red tag—is a multi-award winner, showing ripe apples and pears on the nose, some elderflower and lemon leaf in the mouth and a fine, creamy textured fizz that is just right for celebrating.
It is available from the Enoteca d'Italia (C/ Santa Magdalena 17, Gràcia, 933 68 28 49, www.enotecaditalia.org).