By BRUCE DENNILL
Champagne – or sparking wine, or whatever derivative you’re used to – can be a polarising product, what with marketing from every side trying to convince you that their version of either traditional bubbly or a regional equivalent is better, or that brut or sweet or rosé is the preferred varietal or taste to consume.
It’s a wearisome process, trying to keep everyone onside when catering for the sort of event at which champagne might fill a traditional niche – birthdays, Christmas, or whatever celebrations might require a touch more sophistication than is possible to impart with a favourite wine, beer or cider.
So it’s great to have something a little outside of the clichés, whether those be the supermarket specials or the premiere brands with the poetic French names you casually maim as you try to sound knowledgeable.
Prosecco is hardly an unknown quantity, having already proved so popular in recent times that there was a worldwide shortage of the drink in 2016. But it’s still in the process of wading through perception-based speed-bumps, as was the case with South African sparkling wines early on, when the simple fact of their not being champagne was enough to see them derided at best and ignored at worst
Thing is, unless you’re a snob who’s willing to ignore quality on account of a lack of familiarity with a new (to you) tradition, prosecco is lovely stuff. Da Luca is a Sicilian prosecco made from Glera grapes grown in Treviso, north of Venice in Italy, and it’s simply easy and enjoyable to drink. It is neither so dry that only a desire to avoid seeming unrefined prevents you from complaining about the taste – often the case when a bottle is so expensive that not agreeing with the official tasting notes seems socially unacceptable. Nor is it so sweet that you might as well have had grape juice. And at around R120 a bottle, it’s affordable enough to enjoy at most anniversaries and at an occasional, more casual festivity – like a sunset, or a Friday evening, or a chat with a friend.