Apple and pomegranate juice with prosecco
In this period we are all starting to get ready for the festivities and any excuse is good to have friends over and enjoy some good time together. One of the Venetians drinks that has become extremely popular internationally is undoubtedly prosecco.
But not all proseccos are born equal! Only the original vineyards can be considered sustainable; unfortunately most of the mass produced sparkling drink comes from new vines located in plain territories and imply the use of strong chemicals that are polluting the air and the soil. For this reason I believe it is important to make conscious choices and support the businesses that are attentive to the environment and worry about future generations.
Let's start with a little bit of history: in the Veneto and in most of Northern Italy, the wine culture is characterized by the use of different grapes (differently from France, where the wine culture is characterized by varietal wines and blends). The choice to grow different grapes is to minimize risks of possible cultivation losses, in short, a way to reduce monetary risks.
The name prosecco derives from a city close to Trieste and it is always made with a grape called Glera, and other other grapes such as Bianchetta, Verdiso, Pereira and Boschera. The older vines are planted in higher and steeper hills that cannot be reached by a tractor, whereas most new vineyards, occupy the lower plain areas where the ground is quite humid and causes water stagnation, thus... grapes that aren't that good. In fact, in most new vineyards the trees are changed every twenty years, while in the original vineyards the plants are much older.
To make the wine sparkling there are three methods:
1) champenoise, reserved for higher quality and more expensive wines
2) re-fermentation inside the bottle, more natural. It produces a wine that is a living substance.
3) charmat (re-fermentation in pressure tank), the more common. It requires the wine to be filtered, which means that the wine yeasts are removed and, in order to create that fizziness, extra sulphites are added (and these are what cause headaches and stomaches).
The prosecco I want to tell you about today is called Scacco and is produced by Lisa (one of the founders of the plastic-free bulk shop Rimani) and Federico outside Treviso, where they have their farm Loggia degli Avi. It is their first wine and it is cultivated in an ancient vine from the 1960s, which they recuperated and work respecting the surrounding environment, preserving biodiversity and without the use of any chemical. The wine is a synergy among territory, tradition and ongoing research.
The word scacco in Italian means chess, they chose it because it represents a challenge, an idea, time and strong passion. It is made following the ancestral method, which means that the grape is fermented like in still wines until it reaches a certain level of sweetness, at which point the wine is bottled before all the sugar has been transformed into alcohol and so the remaining sugar are fermented by the yeasts in the bottle. Scacco undergoes a second re-fermentation of 12 months inside the bottle in order to reach a certain balance. It has what in Italian we call '"fondo", literally "bottom" because that's where the yeasts remain.
Scacco is a natural wine that through its taste tells about the changing seasons and the changes of the territory, a beautiful project I want to support! For now, you can find it in Venice at the plastic-free shop Rimani, with other products from their farm. The perfect gifts if you are traveling, and also the perfect addition to your meals when here in the lagoon!
Thinking about Christmas, I made a little aperitif with fresh apples and pomegranates and it tastes incredible! I called it Scacco Matto, which means checkmate, and in Italian is also the combination of the name of the wine and the word matto, literally crazy!
Find the recipe below and cheers!
APPLE, POMEGRANATE AND PROSECCO
1/3 fresh apple juice
1/3 freshly squeezed pomegranate juice
1/3 prosecco (leave bottle in the fridge)
ice cubes to garnish, choose among fennel leaves, sage or mint
Method: Prepare the fruit juices in advance and refrigerate. When your guests arrive, place 3 ice-cubes into each glass and pour the apple juice first, followed by the pomegranate juice and finally your prosecco.