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Wine of the week: Tosca Prosecco

Tosca Prosecco (about $10 to $12 at wine shops and big box stores), a sparkling wine from northern Italy's celebrated Veneto region, is as refreshing on a warm afternoon as a paper cone of lemon Italian ice. Lemon, in fact, is the predominant note in this elegant, minimalist sparkler.

In considering this wine, you first need to forget the sweetness of the better known Asti spumante Italian sparkling wine, which can be cloying and is most suitable as a dessert. Prosecco is at the opposite end of the spectrum, and the meal. Drink it alone as an aperitif or, if it suits your taste, pair it with a suitable main course. We found it to be a perfect fit with a warm weather supper of yogurt-and-spice marinated tandoori chicken with cool cucumber-and-onion raita and jasmine rice.

Prosecco is the name of the wine, the grape from which it is made and the town where the grape is believed to have originated. The wine has a long pedigree, stretching back to the Roman Empire, and has gained popularity in this country thanks in large part to restaurateurs and chefs like Mario Batali, who pour it both before and after dinner. Prosecco also is the principal ingredient in the peachy Bellini cocktail. Tosca Prosecco is a frizzante, the lightly sparkling version of the wine; there also is a still version and a more effervescent one, confusingly called Prosecco spumante. For warm weather and casual sipping with friends, frizzante is the way to go, and Tosca is an excellent choice at a good price.

Colette Bancroft is the Times' book editor; John Bancroft is a freelance writer on food, wine and travel.

Wine of the week: Tosca Prosecco 03/31/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 4:30am]
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