Prosecco week is here! Together with the Prosecco DOC Consortium, we’re celebrating the world’s most popular sparkling wine. Prosecco’s growth has been tremendous, and it’s no wonder! It’s the perfect sparkler to enjoy for any occasion and it makes for an excellent addition to fizzy cocktails, too. Let’s learn a little more about it.
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT
All sparkling wine is about process. Prosecco streamlines the process by using the Charmat Method. In this method, rather than encourage the second fermentation in each individual bottle of wine, the still (not yet carbonated) prosecco is combined with yeast and sugar and put into a large sealed tank, where it’s then left to undergo its second fermentation under pressure. Once the fermentation is complete, the sugar has been converted to a little more alcohol and a bunch of CO2 that’s dissolved into the now-sparkling wine. The remaining yeast is filtered out, a dosage is added to adjust for style, and then bottled under pressure. This method creates a sparkling wine that focuses on preserving bright and fresh peachy and floral flavors of Prosecco rather than the toasty and bready flavor that comes from the Methode Traditionnelle. The process also takes a lot less time, which is why we can easily afford to drink Prosecco every day.
Wines of Prosecco have been made since at least the Roman era, though they were tranquilo (still) back then. Prosecco was both the wine and one of the names of the grape variety. With the rise of Prosecco’s popularity across the globe, it soon became clear that Prosecco was becoming a meaningful name. In order to protect the name of Prosecco, the name Glera, which was a long time local synonym for Prosecco, was officially adopted as its new name in 2009, though both names are acceptable. Prosecco is made with at least 85% Glera, and the remainder may be composed of a variety of other local varieties. Prosecco’s composition of a single variety is markedly different from Champagne, which is primarily made from three varieties of any combination, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
This year also marks the beginning of DOC production of Prosecco Rosé, whereby up to 15% Pinot Nero may be added to give the wine it’s pink color. A huge win for the region as well as rose and prosecco drinkers everywhere.
Many drinkers suggest that prosecco is sweeter than Champagne, when in fact Prosecco is subjected to the same EU standards of style labeling as its French cousin. However, in combination with the production method, the resulting wine is fresher and fruiter than most Champagne, giving the impression of sweetness without any difference in residual sugar. Most Proseccos are made in the Brut style (just like Champagne), where the dosage simply rounds out the edge of the acidity in wine. If you do like a juicer style, look for Extra Dry and Dry style where the dosage begins to make the fruit pop and the finish just begins to show some sweetness.
The best way to explore Prosecco is of course to enjoy it. Check out wines from La Marca, Mionetto, Natale Verga, Zardetto, or Zonin to see what it’s all about. OH and if you’ve not enjoyed an Aperol Spritz on a hot summer day, I highly recommend you try one of those as well. Perhaps it’s time to do some research and determine which of these fine Proseccos is best for the cocktail? I’m sure you’re up for the task.