Crash Course, Prosecco

Prosecco: Italian Bubbles 101

Champagne might be the most well-known of the sparkling wines, but ask any tourist visiting the northeast of Italy and they’ll tell you about Prosecco. This is Italy’s version of bubbles and holds some key differences to the traditional French version.

The most obvious of these is the region of production. Prosecco comes from the region of the same name, and carries the same protected geographical status that Champagne does. It can be found in north of Italy, in the eastern corner of the country. Any wine produced outside this region may not bear the name.

Out of the region, the Prosecco held in highest regard is known as Prosecco Valdobbiadene, from the region of Valdobbiadene. Wines produced outside this region may still be named Prosecco, as long as they are produced within the Prosecco DOCG. Prosecco is made predominantly from a grape named Glera, formally known just as “Prosecco”. Limited amounts of Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio may also be used as part of the blend.

Another key difference lies in the method of production. Champagne is made by having the secondary fermentation take place inside the bottle. This is not the case for Prosecco, which is made using the Charmat method. This method uses steel tanks for the secondary fermentation. Wines are then bottled with the wine already sparkling, unlike Champagne, which gets bottled as a still wine. This also drastically reduces costs, and has helped the rise of Prosecco’s popularity.

Mention must be made of Franciacorta (made in Lombardy), a DOCG in the central region of northern Italy that stands apart from Prosecco. Sparkling wine from Franciacorta carries the this same title on the bottle, and is subject to strict rules. All wine must be made in the classical method, with secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle and sold with without sediment being filtered out. Limitation is also placed on the composition of the wine, which must be made up of at least 85% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Bianco and 5% Pinot Nero.

Prosecco is a drink for every occasion, and Great Domaines is excited for our new arrival of San Leo Prosecco. It can be drunk as an aperitif, but is also the original ingredient in a Bellini cocktail, made up of Prosecco and pear juice. One thing must be remembered though – because the secondary fermentation takes place in tank the wine doesn’t have huge longevity, so drink it quickly!