New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and there’s nothing quite like popping open a bottle of Champagne while singing along to Auld Lang Syne.
Or is there? Maybe this is the year to try something new, like Italian sparkling wines from Trentodoc. Never heard of them? The name comes from a combination of the city of origin, Trento, with the suffix DOC, which stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, a labeling system used to classify Italian wines. These sparkling wines are made in a similar way to Champagne, produced using a secondary fermentation in the bottle, the “metodo classico.”. They come from the Trentino-Alto Adige region, high up in the spectacular Dolomite mountains, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Grapevines grown on steep slopes are stressed by low-nutrient soils and have long growing seasons due to the cool mountain air, producing wines with an intense, distinctive character and bright acidity. Made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier — the same grapes that are used in Champagne — as well as Pinot Blanc, these wines have an elegant softness and fruity, floral aromas. And, as an added bonus, they offer exceptional value with prices ranging from $18 to $60.
Trentodoc wines, like many other high-quality sparkling wines, pair well with a wide variety of food. In fact, I can’t think of any type of cuisine they wouldn’t go well with. I particularly like how they complement the tangy, citrusy flavors of the yuzu juice in this mushroom salad.
See The Wine Chef’s recommendations for Trentodoc sparkling wines following the recipe. Bon Appétit!
MUSHROOM SALAD WITH YUZU DRESSING
Adapted from a recipe on Epicurius.com. Serves 6 as an appetizer
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 & 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons yuzu juice (I ordered mine on Amazon or you can substitute 3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice and 1/2 tablespoon fresh orange juice.)
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s Yuzu hot sauce (optional, you may use 1 more tablespoon yuzu juice instead)
1 tablespoon mirin
1 large garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/8 cup Lillet Blanc (or sake)
1 5-ounce package baby greens, like baby arugula or baby kale
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1) Whisk grapeseed oil, soy sauce, yuzu juice, hot sauce, if using, mirin, and garlic in a medium bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
2) Heat olive oil in an extra-large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and scallions, season with salt, and sauté until wilted and any liquid has cooked off, about 7 to 10 minutes.
3) Add Lillet or sake; stir to coat, then transfer to a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt.
4) Divide greens amongst plates. Mound mushrooms atop center of greens. Drizzle remaining dressing over greens and mushrooms. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
FOUR TRENTODOC SPARKLING WINES TO LOOK FOR:
Moser 51,151 Brut ($18) - This 100% Chardonnay embodies the refined elegance and purity of the grape. A pretty straw-yellow color with a hint of green, it has aromas of apples and pears, along with a slight hint of brioche, that follows through on the palate. Dry, and savory, the persistent, tiny bubbles “sting” your tongue with their effervescence.
Altemasi Brut Millesimato ($19)- The wine has complex aromas of honey and nuts, and, on the palate, notes of fennel, apricot, peach, and apple. Its lively bubbles gives it a creamy mouthfeel and a full, elegant, and well-structured palate.
Madonna Delle Vittorie Brut Millesimato 2013 ($25) - Made from the winery’s best Chardonnay grapes, this sparkling wine matures for 36 months on its lees, developing complex aromas and flavors of vanilla, apricot and bread, along with tropical fruit and a hint of lime on the finish.
Ferrari NV Brut ($24) - Ferrari is the most well-known producer in Trentodoc. This refreshing wine, made of 100% Chardonnay, has a wonderful balance of fruit, apples and citrus, combined with the flavors of bread and almonds. There is a great liveliness to this creamy and elegant wine. Serve with an assortment of cheeses and other antipasti, pasta or fish dishes. Read more about Ferrari Sparkling Wines from a July 2016 Wine Chef article.