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Love Prosecco?

Love Prosecco?

The darling of sparkling wines, Prosecco has almost become the brand name for the sparkling wine category in the same way that Fairy has for washing up liquid. So how much do you know about this Italian fizz and what does the future hold?

Making Sense of Prosecco

The Meteoric Rise of Prosecco

A mere 20 years ago, Prosecco was an emerging sparkling wine that was little heard of in the UK and mainly drunk in Italian restaurants and bars. We consumed around 200,000 bottles in the year 2000 but wind the clocks forward to 2019 and that number had grown exponentially to around 100 million bottles, despite being the year of COVID.

The pandemic hasn’t dampened sales as much as was first predicted and sales are expected to rise again steadily now that restrictions have been lifted, but sustained future growth will be reliant on the recently launched Prosecco Rosé.

What is Prosecco and where exactly does it come from?

What is Prosecco and Where Exactly Does it Come From?

Prosecco is the name for a protected sparkling wine that comes from two provinces in the north east of Italy: Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Up until 2009, the name ‘Prosecco’ referred to both the name of the grape variety as well as the name of the wine, bound by its specific geographical origin.

As plantings of ‘Prosecco’ spread further afield, the Italian authorities sought to protect the term ‘Prosecco’ and changed the grape name back to its Latin name ‘Glera’. By law, Prosecco must contain a minimum of 85% Glera and come from the specific designated appellations.

DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) are two acronyms that you will find on Italy’s quality and very best wines respectively, authenticating them from a legal perspective. DOC Prosecco covers nine sub-appellations across Veneto and Friuli. In the heart of Veneto, you can find two DOCGs where the very best Proseccos are made and have been since Roman times. These are Asolo Prosecco DOCG and Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG.

How Does Prosecco Differ to Champagne?

Apart from tasting very different, Prosecco and Champagne are made very differently. The process for making Champagne takes considerably longer than for Prosecco. It involves putting the base wine through a second fermentation inside the bottle in which it will be sold and allowing it to age and develop for a minimum of 15 months.

For Prosecco, the second fermentation takes place inside a large enclosed tank and is not only quicker but it’s cheaper too. When the wine reaches its desired pressure, the wine is chilled which stops fermentation. The entire fermentation process can take as little as 30 days up to around 9 months for higher quality wines.

The flavours are very different. Prosecco is fresh, light and fragrant while Champagne is generally drier with more complex flavours that include citrus fruits and brioche.

These Are No Ordinary Proseccos

The beautifully fresh and charming Prosecco Spumante ‘Passaparola’ comes from the Pradio estate, the jewel in the crown of the Cielo family, and lies in the heart of the Friuli Grave sub-region. Not only do they produce classy Prosecco but they make elegant white wines too.

The Passaparola’s fine acidity brings out the wine’s drier profile making it really easy to drink and it looks and tastes fantastic too. Serve well chilled and enjoy as a delicious apéritif.

Giavi’s Prosecco Superiore Brut DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene comes from one of the three DOCG zones in the heart of the Veneto and gives a perfect insight into the premium side of Prosecco. The three towns of Asolo, Conegliano and Valdobbiadene form a small triangle and are surrounded by many hills adorned with vineyards. This picturesque scene holds the finest Proseccos money can buy and shows how terroir, yield control and extended maturation create this apex range.

From steep hillside vineyards overlooking Conegliano, this handmade wine has fine bubbles and the fruit and floral flavours are concentrated and fresh. The finish is slightly creamy and long lasting making this a great glass of fizz with antipasti.

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The Biscardo Prosecco Rosé Spumante Millesimato represents a newly authorised category for a pink version of Prosecco, which finally received approval from the Italian government in May 2020.

Stylistically different from white Prosecco, due to the addition of Pinot Noir (in this case 15%), this is another stylish bubbly from a highly respected producer. The talented Biscardo brothers have created a highly expressive fizz that’s both elegant, fruit-driven and smooth with a deliciously savoury finish. Best served chilled but ideally remove from the fridge 15-20 minutes before opening. This works brilliantly with cold fish platters or a simple pan-fried fish course.

We hope we’ve added some context to this super popular fizz and, at the same time, whetted the appetite to try something a little more premium. Saluti!

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