If you recall, last Wednesday we launched my December series "a bit on bubbly" and talked about Growers Champagne. I didn't go much into the production process - or the flavors, for that matter - spending more time talking about the technicalities (and economics) of what makes Growers Champagne special and distinct from the bigger houses' offerings. I promise to circle back to these lovely wines before we ring in the New Year - because I definitely was inspired by many of the wines I was privileged to taste last week, and you really only get the "excuse" to buy expensive bubbly once in a while! But in the meantime, I think its important we move on to a different sparkling wine: Prosecco. Prosecco is Italian for bubbly. Well, nearly... Asti is the better known of the two predominant sparkling wines the Italians produce; but increasingly Americans have figured out Prosecco equates quality bubbly from Italy, at an affordable price. Venetians, for their part, turn to it daily; lucky devils!

This wine is named for the largest proportion of grapes used to produce it (with small amounts of Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio permitted for blending, if the winemaker chooses) and hails from the northeast Veneto region. It is widely considered more fruit forward than traditional Champagne, allowing those who sip it to revel in its dominant, crisp, apple flavors. It is also made in a slightly different way, using the Charmant method. Unlike the Champagne method, secondary fermentation (necessary to "trap" the CO2 and create those lovely, flavor-filled bubbles) occurs in large, pressurized tanks rather than in the bottle. This keeps the wine fresher (best drunk within 6 months to a year of purchase) and affordable. Yippee!

There are two Prosecco's I am quite enamored with at the moment: Santome Prosecco Extra Dry NV (~$13); and the higher-end, Adami Giardino Prosecco (~$19). The Santome is a steal. There are no two ways about it. I am happy to have it on its own, lapping up every pearl of ripe apple goodness, but have no qualms making a good mimosa with it either given its affordable price. It is "Extra Dry", which traditionally means slightly sweet (or off-dry); I find it errs on the drier side, therefore making it even more versatile and food-friendly.

As for the Adami, well, now we're cooking with gas! Adami has been making Prosecco for nearly a century and is considered one of the country's top producers - with good reason! The Giardino is straw-gold in color, which almost deceives its incredibly rich, almost a-typical, velvety mouthfeel. Flavors of apples and peaches remain refreshingly crisp though, with a touch of minerality coming through particularly well on the finish. It's hard to complain when something so lush is on offer! Last time I had it, I paired it with sushi. Cheers to that match!

These two favorites aside, there are many worthy Prosecco's on the market that easily transport you to Venice.  So, tell us, which is your passport Prosecco?