Are you a Prosecco fan? Most of us are, I suspect; after all, who turns down a nice glass of bubbly, especially if it’s delicious and affordably priced?
Nino Franco Rustico fills that bill perfectly. Selling for $19 retail, it’s a sparkling wine for everyday celebrations; the crisp, clean style calls to mind wines two- to three-times its modest price. Whether you’re toasting a newly married couple or just the fact that it’s Tuesday, Rustico is always a great choice.
Note: I received the Rustico and the cake as media samples. Words are all mine!
About Nino Franco
This family-owned estate is celebrating its 100th birthday this month. Antonio Franco founded the winery (then called Cantine Franco) in the hill town of Valdobbiadene, Italy, in 1919. In 1982, his grandson, Primo, took the reins, investing in everything from improved vineyard practices to more efficient wine production. Considered a driver of the Prosecco revolution around the world, Primo remains committed to marketing Prosecco as a high-quality sparkling wine. While his daughter Silvia now runs the operation, Primo is still active in building relationships with wine lovers around the world, traveling far and wide to share his wines, his family’s history, and the ongoing evolution of Prosecco.
Prosecco – It’s More than a Single Wine
Did you know that there are several different quality levels of Prosecco? The wines labeled Prosecco DOC come from grapes grown on the flatter lands within the denomination, which spreads from Trieste to Vicenzo, as shown on the map above. When most people think of Prosecco, these are the wines they’re imagining: simple, refreshing, and fun, if not necessarily worthy of contemplation. However, anyone looking for a budget-friendly sparkling wine that is easily available could do much worse than a bottle of Prosecco DOC.
But we can step it up a notch: that’s where the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG designation comes in. Grapes grown on the slopes outside the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene bask in the long hours of sunlight each day, thanks to the slightly higher elevation. That allows them to ripen slowly and completely, resulting in wines that exhibit more complex flavors and aromas. Similar wines are made across the river, in the Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG.
As you can see from the Wine Folly diagram, there are two other levels of Prosecco beyond this: Rive, which denotes one of 43 slopes in the DOCG area that have been identified as great places to grow Glera, the workhorse grape of Prosecco. Wines made from these grapes are labeled with the name Rive and the particular slope where the grapes were grown.
At the very top of the Prosecco quality pyramid is Superiore di Cartizze, considered the “grand cru” of the Rives. It is a single plot of just 108 hectares, meaning quantities are small and quality is usually very high. Prices reflect the small quantities available, but they represent quite high QPR especially when compared to top-quality sparkling wines from other regions.
For me, that slice in the middle of the pyramid – the regular Prosecco DOCG tier – is the sweet spot. For less than $20, you can buy a very good sparkling wine that’s a significant step up from the basic Prosecco DOC, yet a real bargain compared to non-vintage Champagne and other bubbly bottles. And, if you’re looking for a low-alcohol option, the Rustico weighs in at just 11% abv. Perfect for a weeknight.
Celebrating Nino Franco’s 100th Birthday – and Dinner with My Husband
Sometimes life is hectic: everyone is operating on a different schedule and finding time to have a meal together can be a challenge. My husband travels almost every week for work. Right now I’m slogging through the last couple of classes in the WSET Diploma program, which I have to travel to New York City to do. That means that we haven’t seen each other much over the past couple of months.
In fact, we finally crossed paths again last week, just after I received a bottle of Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco DOCG accompanied by a lovely birthday cake from We Take the Cake. I decided to make a festive occasion of our reunion and the Nino Franco celebration: a special dinner and dessert, complete with birthday candles, I might add!
I grilled an assortment of seafood kebabs (shrimp, lobster, and scallop; swordfish, bell peppers, and mushroom) and tossed a fresh arugula salad with lemon juice and olive oil. Only thing left was to pop open the Rustico, pour us each a glass, and enjoy.