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Aperitivo time? Precious Prosecco at Per Tutti

Neil Sowerby rediscovers a splash of Milan off Deansgate

Written by . Published on August 28th 2013.

Aperitivo time? Precious Prosecco at Per Tutti

HAPPY hour is a phrase that makes my heart sink. Downing the bargain plonk, as dusk drops, to make up for a bad day in the office. Or tanking up early for a boozy night ahead. It doesn’t have to be like this. The Italians, as in so many affairs of taste (gelato, antipasti, espresso, cicchetti), can show us the way. Aperitivo? Ciao! 

I was warned it was cloudy, almost grey, from the dead yeast cells, lees and other solids. True, there was murk floating in there, but it gave it an appealing artisanal character.

It sounds like aperitif, but it is so much more. I first encountered the Aperitvo ritual in its Milanese heartland, where sipping and grazing early evening in stylish surroundings is de rigueur, if you’ll pardon my French. 

Between 6 and 9pm, across the city and depending on the bar, you can get a few potato chips and olives with your drink – or an entire buffet. A traditional aperitif drink will be Campari or Vermouth, a sweet Brachetto.... or Prosecco, of course, that lighter alternative to Champagne.  

Contributing the sparkle to Aperol Spritz, it has quenched many an al fresco thirst across this long, hot summer. The good news – it shouldn’t just be a constituent of a hip bittersweet cocktail (nice thought that might be). It’s more, much more.  

Which is where the Aperitvo bar at Per Tutti comes in. Owner Chris Buckley is a Prosecco fanatic with a selection that ranges from Aperol and Martini-friendly stuff on draught to a biodynamic example and a genuinely challenging take on the style. And he wants you to consume lots of it with him and imagine you’re in Milan. 

You might have missed Per Tutti (“For All”) at the Deansgate end of LIverpool Road in its original pizza and pasta joint manifestation. “Nascondere la sua luce sotto il moggio” is Italian for hiding your light under a bushel and PT certainly did. 

Chris, with a great track record at Heathcote’s London Road, then Bells of Peover, came in as a consultant and has taken over the business. Food now ranges across the Med and the message is bar with good food 

I’ve yet to try even the nibbles, but the fizz comes from a favourite merchant of mine, Buonvino, biodynamic wine specialists up in Settle (I review a couple of their reds in my current wine column). Owner Rob Bagot had alerted me to the presence of a Prosecco unlike any other – the Sottoriva Malibran. 

In Per Tutti’s monochrome-smart air-conditioned basement we’d worked our way through some benchmark proseccos. It opened my blase eyes to the range of styles produced, using the Charmat Method on a strip of hillside between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano just north of Venice.

There was Giovanni Frozza’s delicate, minerally example from old native vines, organically cultivated in steep, rocky clefts. A gentle mousse and pure fruit, yet there’s an underlying acidity that gives it backbone that could handle fish dishes. Elegant, virtuoso stuff, well worth its £25 a bottle tag in the restaurant.

At the same price, the San Fermo Spumante Brut 2012 from Bellenda is frothier, more intense, less of a culture shock for the Champagne devotee, though the citrus flavours do give way to a slightly bitter aftertaste. For me an attractive sipper, perfect for Aperitivo time.

I’m not sure, though, how Prosecco Sottoriva Malibran NV fits into the picture. After 10 minutes in the glass the sparkle had gone and yet it was yielding complex, cidery, yeasty flavours that begged for an ammoniac soft cheese or even soft cheese. A food wine, as they say. (I do the Haunted Underworld tour which features the ghost of Madame Malibran - wonder if they are related? Ed).

The style is unique, made by Malibran with the nearly lost traditional method of spontaneous refermentation in the bottle with no added yeast or sugar, and no fining or filtration. I was warned it was cloudy, almost grey, from the dead yeast cells, lees and other solids. True, there was murk floating in there, but it gave it an appealing artisanal character. As with a bottle-conditioned beer, definitely leave a bottle to settle a while before popping the metal top (no cork).

I never got to taste the (groundbreaking for this city) draught Prosecco. This is Gentile, made from 100% Glera grapes. The sealed keg storage means it is always fresh, crisp, cool and lightly sparkling. And it’s just £5 per glass. 

Finally back to Per Tutti’s great air conditioning and equally cool style – both welcome after the city swelter. Although it may need a need another a fan or two. So I can get the Cosy Fan Tutti jokes in. 

Per Tutti, 3-11 Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4NW, 0161 834 9741; www.pertutti.co.uk

Sottoriva Malibran

Sottoriva Malibran

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AnonymousAugust 29th 2013.

It's a bit unclear whether this is a review or an advert?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 29th 2013.

a common problem on ManCon. Means you have to read everything with a heavy dose of skepticism, unfortunately

AVOAugust 29th 2013.

Blah blah blah we're ardently indepedent, blah blah blah we never give positive reviews for our advertisers, blah blah blah it should be clear when it's a review or advert. No scoring means its an advert.

Jonathan SchofieldAugust 29th 2013.

Nope it's not an advertorial it's Neil's opinion about the Prosecco.

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