This week's wine, an Italian sparkler we've nicknamed the Lemon Drop Kid, is a definite contender for toasting your darling on Valentine's Day. Santa Margherita Brut Prosecco will run you about $20 the bottle at big-box stores.
First, the bubbles: In this pale straw-colored wine they are lavish, exuberant and persistent, delighting the eye when held aloft and tickling the nose and palate. This is critical in a festive sparkling wine. Second, this wine, made from 100 percent prosecco grapes grown in the Valdobbiadene region, lives up to its brut label, both starting and finishing dry, crisp and fresh. In the middle is a lot of luscious lemon, debuting as nearly astringent fruit and morphing into something closer to a tart lemon drop candy. The combination makes for a superior prosecco.
One good way to enjoy it is simply to fill a flute, raise a toast and sip. If pairing it with food, go for fresh and simply prepared shellfish like stone crab, lobster or raw oysters. If drinking it with dessert, it would be yummy with cheesecake or creme brulee — even chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Prosecco also is the classic main ingredient in the luscious white peach cocktail called a Bellini, and the inviting and useful Santa Margherita Web site (sm-supperclub.com) has an elegant recipe for this beguiler of sweethearts.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.