Sparkling Spring

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Take your cues from Mother Nature and lighten up this spring. With a little help from local beverage experts, you can have your wine glass bubbling over with effervescent pours to accompany the warmer weather. A handful of wine importing pros offer up their current bubbly crushes to get you beyond the basics. Take note of their recommendations – and food pairings – to feel the fizz all season long.

E. Jackson Jarmon of Mise importing company subverts sparkling expectations with his suggestion of the dark-hued Casa Belfi Raboso Colfondo. The Raboso grapes come from northern Italy (the Veneto region, specifically) and make a dry, red wine that’s both savory and fruity. “Essentially, this is red Prosecco,” says Jarmon, “with carbonic maceration, fermentation in bottle, unfiltered with wild yeast fermentation.” The free-spirited final product has “the structure and grip of red wine” with all the bright refreshment of a sparkling. Having it with food? Jarmon leans toward cured meats, strong cheeses, steak and even pizza.

Fen Katz of Vineyard Road goes a little lighter in color with the Pere Mata Cava Cupada Rosé. Perfect on its own as an aperitif or with spring ingredients (think: pea greens, rhubarb and the gang), the Spanish bubbly’s “terroir-driven minerality, autolytic (or enzymatic) richness and fresh charm” make it a crowd-pleaser. For fancier occasions, Katz turns to Cedric Bouchard for Champagne, citing the young grower’s “weep worthy” single vintage, single vineyard, single varietal wines. Bouchard uses indigenous yeasts and shies away from the addition of sugar for crisp pours that speak to the terroir. Says Katz, “The bubbles present in his wines are extremely fine, and the Champagne’s beautiful vinous quality allows what’s underneath the bubble to speak for itself. Truly brilliant stuff.”

Mucci Imports’ James Mucci tends “to lean towards bubbles that are Charmat Method, sparkling wines that are intended to be enjoyed young and fresh.” (Otherwise known as the Tank Method, the Charmat style differs from traditional sparkling how-to with fermentation in a tank (rather than the bottle) and then bottled without aging.) Mucci highlights husband and wife Fabio Bottonelli and Donatelli Agostina of Manaresi winery in Bologna, Italy—they use the Pignoletto grape for a lightly fizzy wine with flavors of white flowers and pear. The pours have “more of a round mouth feel than most frizzante wines with pleasant nuttiness on the finish,” a good match for antipasto plates (prosciutto, coppa, etc.), pastas and meats.

Armed with the above effervescent advice, set aside the Prosecco, pick up the wine flute and put a little bounce in your seasonal sips.

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