One of my favorite Proseccos is the humble Spago. The word spago means ‘string’ and refers to a small string along the neck to hold in the cork. For me Spago represents a rustic informality that matches the playfulness of a wine that’s for everyday enjoyment. The string is hand-tied, by the fast fast hands of the Veneto’s unsung heroes, to the top of a slightly protruding cork, which it encourages to stay in place until the moment you open it. No ‘pop’ or ‘phut’ sounds involved here. With Spago you’ll need a corkscrew.
I judge books by their covers. I’m sorry Italy, but if I am going to spend $50 on a DOCG Prosecco I don’t want the label to look like it was whipped up by Rocco Siffredi’s graphics department. The lack of ostentatious unicorns and Swarovski crystals on your typical Spago sends an important message. It’s a wine that’s priced stably across the Veneto and Spago branding was not conceived of to jump out of a full-page photo ad in Wine Enthusiast magazine with George Clooney drinking some on a gondola. Spago’s message says ‘It’s me! I’m here and always have been.’
Like its presentation, a typical Spago is an informal wine. It’s frizzante, so semi-sparkling and a wide variety of Proseccos can be bottled as Spagos, but I find, as they are less often sold outside Italy, that they reflect the local preference for pale yellow wine with a lot of floral action. I like when they hit that sweet spot between dry and sweet and when they have peach and honeycomb accents. They are typically dry at first contact and sweeter on the finish, but they are made to different sweetness levels, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into. They often have a touch of earthiness that make them great with mushroom Bigoli or Veneto’s beloved mushroom and chestnut soup. Since those are offers that please most omnivores that I know, Spagos are good wines to keep in mind when entertaining vegetarians. Like everything ‘Glera’ they are ubiquitously categorized as ‘perfect for an aperitif.’