Episode 23: Alan Tardi, U.S. Ambassador to Prosecco Superiore

Alan Tardi

It’s all about bubbles on this edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country.  Our special guest this week is Alan Tardi the U.S. Ambassador for Prosecco and author of Champagne, Uncorked.

Alan is also the author of Romancing the Vine, Life, Love & Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo and he is a regular contributor for the NYT, Wine Spectator and Decanter just to name a few of his many accolades and has also worked as a chef, sommelier and consultant for many restaurants in NYC and Italy.

While Prosecco is one of the most popular sparkling wines in the marketplace, it’s easy going with lots of luscious fruit and crisp acidity, but it’s often misunderstood and doesn’t quite get the respect it deserves especially for the higher-end single vineyard selections.

On the program, we are going to take a deep dive into Prosecco region of Italy, the grape, the regions and the extraordinary value from this part of the world, plus we’ll talk about the primary difference between Prosecco & Champagne.

Paleo Pairing: Baked Omelet & Prosecco

Ever wonder what to pair with an omelet? Look no further than a nice glass of bubbly. Today’s Paleo Pairing is all about breakfast for dinner.
Eggs are pretty challenging to pair with wine, but a glass of sparkling wine works like a charm. I often go for a sparkling rose like the J Brut Rose from Sonoma, California, but I also love a fun, flirty Prosecco with omelets and frittatas. There are a lot of great Prosecco’s out there. I really enjoy the
Tesoro della Regina and the Montelliana Prosecco. Both retail for about $15.

One of the things that I love the most about making omelets is that you they are pretty much a blank canvas, you can add anything you want to it.
For tonight’s omelet, I added leftover roasted veggies and pesto shrimp.  Feel free to add any veggies or meat that you like.


12 eggs (8 whole eggs, 4 egg whites)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
2 cups roasted or sauteed veggies


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix eggs in medium bowl with seasonings. Coat a square baking dish (9X9) with olive oil. Add veggies and protein if desired. Top with eggs and bake for 45-50 minutes until eggs are set. Bon Appetit.


Bubbles Beyond the Holidays

Break out the holiday bubbles! This is the time of year everyone dusts off their flutes and pops open a cork or two to celebrate the season.While sparkling wine should certainly be a staple at any holiday party, I would encourage you to keep the corks popping all year long and discover some amazing pairings that will leave you wondering why you didn’t always have a bottle of bubbly on hand.

I was inspired to write this post after reading an article in today’s Wall Street Journal where Champagne Expert Seth Box discusses some of his favorite Bubbly Pairings that Make Food Flavors Pop.

VeuveRose“Champagne loves two things in food: salt and fat,” he says. “These are true foundations for a lot of the food that we really enjoy … and a sparkling wine tends not to overwhelm that because of its delicate suppleness and bubbles.” One of his favorite pairings: fried chicken and sparkling wine. “You have the richness and texture of the fried chicken then the crispness and acidity of the Champagne—it’s magic.”

I couldn’t agree more! I love to add a little bit of class to bar food. Everything from wings to chips to charcuterie has a perfect sparkling pairing. I love the way a great glass of bubbles acts like a squeeqee and cleanses the palate in between bites. It’s an amazing experience.

One of my favorite things about sparkling wine is how versatile it is with a wide range of foods which makes it the ultimate wine to have on hand for your next gathering.

Here you will find a few tips and a shopping guide to help take the mystery out of selecting that perfect bottle for your celebration.

Let’s begin with the dryness scale for sparkling wine. I often here people say I don’t care for sparkling because it’s too sweet or it’s too dry.  This will help you make a more educated decision and pick something that’s best suited for your palate.
Extra Brut/Grand Brut/Brut Zero – This label is going to be the driest end of the spectrum.  Typically these bone dry sparklings are best paired with food because of the bright acidity.  The following go in order from the next driest to the very sweetest:
  • Brut
  • Extra Dry
  • Dry
  • Sec
  • Demi-Sec
  • Doux
If you are new to sparkling wines, go for an extra dry. If you like your wines a little sweeter, go with a Demi-Sec. For a great Demi-Sec pairing, grab a baguette, slice it about 1/4 inch thick, add gorgonzola, prosciutto and fig spread and voila you have an instant crowd pleaser!
Here are some of my favorite producers:
Inexpensive: (Under $20)
  • Domaine du Margalleau Vouvray, Demi-Sec, Loire Valley, France – $15
  • Mionetto Prosecco, DOC, Treviso, Italy – $15
  • Gruet Demi-Sec, Albuquerque, New Mexico – $16
  • Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui, Piedmont, Italy – $20 (Perfect w/chocolate) 
  • Segura Viudas Cava, Brut Reserva Heredad, Spain – $20
  • Thibaut-Jannison, Blanc de Chardonnay, Charlottesville, Virginia – $20
Mid-Price: ($21-$40)
  • Trump Blanc de Blanc, Monticello, Virginia – $25 
  •  Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs, Napa, California – $32
  • J Brut Rose, Sonoma, California – $32
  • Perrier Jouet, Grand Brut, Champagne, France  – $38
Premium: ($41-$60)
  • Veuve Cliquot, NV, Champagne France – $42 (Yellow Label)
  • Schramsberg Brut Rose, Napa, California – $42
  • Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial $48 
Veuve RoseSplurge ($60-100)
  • Bollinger Brut, Special Cuvee, Champagne, France $58
  • Veuve Clicquot “Ponsardin” Brut Rose $65
  • Pommery Brut, NV, Champagne, France – $70
Grand Dame: When you’re looking for the something over the top! ($100 & Over)
  • 1998, Veuve Cliquot, Le Grand Dame -$130
  • Dom Perignon, NV, Champagne, France – $135
  • 2005, Roederer Cristal, Champagne, France – $200