Cooking with Prosecco – Bottega Gold DOC with Basa
31st May 2022
Be it salt water or fresh water, fish is a popular option seen on many menus around the world and also a favourable dish in which to either cook with or enjoy with a glass of wine (usually white). I am sure many will agree with and have the knowledge of pairing red meat with red wine and white meat / fish with white wine which to be honest is a great starting point for understanding what goes with what and why. From this basic fact though we can stretch out to sparkling wines where again we are presented with white and to a lesser extent, red too. In amongst all of these wines is also rosé both still and sparkling which most certainly deserves to be an admirable option when it comes to food pairings.
Sparkling Wine and Food
It is more of a recent trend that sees restaurants across the globe selecting great sparkling wines of the world and pairing them with fine gastronomy delights from starters to dessert. There is something special when it comes to Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and more in how the bubbles help to increase the complexity of flavours and also its ability to cleanse the palate.
As a general rule, Champagne will pair better with greasier / fatty dishes, Cava with smoked salmon, Prosciutto or Serrano ham and Prosecco can run alongside lighter dishes such as fish, cheese, salads. There is though such a wide choice of wines made from different terroirs, grapes, sugar levels and more and each will have undoubtedly its perfect food pairing which is now not uncommon to either see such suggestions listed on the back label on the bottle or at least the website (sometimes it pays to read up on the recommendations as they come directly from the winemaker / their chosen chef or food expert).
As someone who has now enjoyed countless dishes with sparkling wines both from my own investigations to those set out by the winemakers themselves or top national and international chefs I feel I have some authority to advise based on my experiences. When people ask me what sparkling wine is best to go with such and such dish then I give out the following advice:
Traditional Method sparkling wines to include Champagne and Cava: Greasy dishes / fried dishes with higher levels of flavours, dry cheese, caviar / foie gras
Prosecco: Creamy cheese, pasta dishes, white fish
Rosé sparkling wines: Spicy dishes, meats cooked rare, creamy vegetarian pasta dishes, sushi.
Sweeter sparkling wines either traditional or tank method: Fresh fruit and pastry / cream desserts.
I would like to add though that even wines from the same region and being the same style ie colour, sugar content, can still be very apart in flavours so this subject of pairing sparkling wines with food is a detailed topic and we can go quite deep into things. I have my own book out on this subject with my co-author friend Stefania Ruffo entitled ‘The Finest Champagne & Sparkling Wines and their Recommended Food Pairings‘ which showcases a wide range of sparkling wines and foods (each recommended by the winery themselves). There are also many other such books and even whole menus put together by individual wineries such as Sandro Bottega’s book entitled ‘The 100 Prosecco Recipes‘.
Bottega Prosecco Gold Brut DOC – (Silver Medal Winner Light & Fruity in 2021) – Tasting notes: “Brilliant display of honeysuckle, yellow stone fruits, yellow floral, cream and more on the nose. Fruity and ever so young and refreshing. Yellow fruits, honeysuckle, yellow candy sweets in the palate.”
Basa fillets simmered in butter / Prosecco, homegrown herbs, cherry tomatoes – Tasting notes: “Light and silky textured dish. Pleasant savoury flavours with a welcomed additional of light herbal notes and sweeter zesty tomato. Added one fifth of the bottle of Prosecco to add flavour though to be honest this made very little expression on the final dish flavours so either more time to marinate or more Prosecco was needed and a longer simmer time required.”
Bottega Prosecco Gold Brut DOC paired with Basa fillets – Tasting notes: “I especially enjoy Prosecco alongside some light sauced white fish dishes. Here the exceptional quality of the Prosecco in question delivering an amazingly silky and almost creamy fruit / floral texture adds wonderfully well alongside the flavours from the dish. The Prosecco achieves a welcoming palate cleanse though leaving clean savoury flavours and a sprinkling of herbs with the sweeter zesty tomato favours neutralised.”
It really depends on the fish dish you are about to enjoy. What fish have you ordered and equally as important in my opinion is how it is being prepared and served to include accompanying foods. Fish is quite a varied sector of food with scientists estimating that the total number of fish species in the world is approximately 33,600. What we will generally see on a restaurant menu will of course only ever be a tiny proportion of popular fish such as cod, tuna, salmon, sardine, mussels, scallops and oysters. More specialised restaurants towards fish will obviously see a greater depth of choice in their menus and as we travel around the world and experience local cuisines then we will likely see many variations.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.