WINE OF THE WEEK: VILLA SANDI VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO SUPERIOR DOCG ($18)
by Dwight Casimere
VENICE, ITALY--The Veneto region in northeastern Italy, near this ancient city, is home to one of the great, newly-discovered treasures of the wine consuming community; Prosecco. Once considered the lowly stepchild of champagne, Prosecco now has come into its own as the beverage of choice for those seeking a light, fresh-tasting sparkling wine that is low in alcohol, long on taste and light on price. While not possessing anywhere near the finesse of fine champagne, Italy's Prosecco takes another route that seems to be clicking with younger, hip wine afficionados and gaining the grudging respect of more staid, curmudgeony wine coveters (present company included!). One of the best examples of Prosecco is Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior DOCG ($18), although it can be had online for as low as $12 a bottle, particularly with a case purchase.
The underground cellars at Villa Sandi
This beautiful, light-straw colored blond is a perfectly delightful way to celebrate the end of summer in grand style.
Have an end-of-season feast by splurging on steamed live lobster with my favorite adprnment, classic Bernaise sauce and a side of fresh, garden asparagus. Fresh New England-style lobsters from Nova Sotia are readily available right now, and can be had for bargain prices. Try your local supermarket, such as Best Yet in New York or Hmart Asian Market in Englewood or Cherry Hill, New Jersey, or any of their locations nationwide (check Hmart.com for a store near you.) The bernaise can be a little tricky, but, given the right company, an extra bottle of Villa Sandi Prosecco to be had as an apperitif with antipasti during the preparation of the meal on bright Indian summer day, and you have the recipe for enchantment.
Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior is delightful and refreshing. It has the taste of succulent ripe, white peaches, Golden Delicious apples and a hint of honeycomb with the aroma of dew-dropped covered white accacia flower petals and notes of wistful chamomile. There's a lingering, pleasantly sweet flavor on the tongue that sings like a hummingbird on a lazy, hot afternoon. Why not celebrate these last simmering days of summer with a special meal of lobster, luxurious Bernaise, fresh, young asparagus and a bottle (or two) of Villa Sandi Prosecco.
The recipes for Classic Bernaise and Steamed Lobster follow:
Steamed fresh, live Nova Scotia or Maine Lobsters
2- 2lb fresh, live lobsters
1 very large steampot filled with 1/2" purified water add
2 Tbs Mediterranean Sea Salt
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
Bring water to a boil and add fresh, live lobsters by gently lowering them into the bottom of the pan while they are still alive and kicking. Cover and let steam for 12 minutes, then turn off the flame and let them sit for a few more minutes until they turn crimson red.
Remove cooked lobsters and set them to drain in the sink. When they have cooled, place them with the underbelly up on a cutting board. With a large. ultra-sharp chef's knife or Chinese-style cleaver, split the lobsters lengthwise, right down the middle. Arrange on a large platter with lemon slices and additional sprigs of tarragon or parsley.
Classic Bernaise Sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1.25 dl (1/2 cup) white wine or white wine-vinegar
- 1.25 dl (1/2 cup) boiling water
- 2.5 dl (1 cup) clarified butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 5 minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons minced tarragon (fresh)
- Make a reduction from wine/vinegar, shallots, 1 tablespoon tarragon and pepper by boiling all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir constantly until liquid is reduced.
- Remove saucepan and let the reduction cool down.
- Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to reduction while whisking.
- Add the boiling water and stir until smooth.
- Place saucepan over low heat. Bring slowly to a boil while whisking the sauce until its creamy.
- Remove the sauce to a shallow bowl and let it chill down to the same temperature as the butter. Add butter in small gobs while whisking it gently into the sauce. Sauce should be slightly thickend and silky in texture, with a consistency that will allow it to just cling to the back of a large spoon. Add salt and more tarragon to taste.
Steam fresh asparagus in a large steamer or in the microwave for 1 minute in a shallow microve dish with 1/4 inch of water and covered with a paper towel. Asparagus should still be firm when cooked.
Smother lobster in Classic Bernaise sauce and, on a seperate small plate, place the asparagus stalks and drizzle on the remaining Bernaise. Serve with Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior and enjoy! Buon Appetito!