A lot of people associate sparkling wine with celebrations like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and New Year’s Eve, but I say enjoy sparklers anytime and make any day a special occasion. Beside Champagne, there are many delicious sparkling wines produced all over the world and enjoyed by the locals as a wine that pairs with many appetizers and light starters. For example: the Italian sparkling Prosecco is made from 100% Glera grapes and some of the very best examples come from the region of the Valdobbbiadene and Conegliano in Veneto. With its soft and zesty flavors of peaches and crisp acidity, Prosecco is a wonderful wine to be paired with cheese platters or salads. Another of the very best examples of sparkling wine that will not empty your pocket is the Spanish Cava. The Catalan word cava means “cave” or “cellar” where the wines would age for a period of time. Made traditionally from the indigenous grapes of Macabeu, Parellada and Xarello, the Spanish Cava is made in the champenoise traditional method, but unlike the French champagne you can find a really good quality cava between $15 and $25. If you happen to be walking in the streets of Milan or Bologna, you may find that the locals are enjoying a glass of deep purple wine with their appetizers. This lightly bubbly (frizzante) red wine made from Bonarda grapes has become quite popular in the local cafes and restaurants in northern Italy. It is a dry, tangy and slightly tannic sparkling red with flavors of violet and jammy fruits. This wine is a great match for pasta in meat-based sauces, risotto with mushrooms, pork and game meals. Another sparkling with deep raspberry color wine – Lambrusco is famous around the world, and comes in styles from bone-dry to lively and sweet (dolce). A classic combination is Lambrusco Reggiano Secco (dry) paired with a slice of Hot Soppressata Pizza.
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