Prosecco is a white sparkling wine from Italy that is mostly dry or extra dry. The wine is made from Glera grapes which were formerly referred to as Prosecco, however other types of grapes including Trevigiana and Biachetta can be used. This beverage derives its name from an Italian village near Trieste where the grapes are said to have originated. The wine is normally produced in the regions of Friuli and Veneto as well as in traditional areas such as Valdobbiadene in the hills of Treviso.
Though this wine is known to have existed for years, the name “Prosecco” first appeared in the book titled Il Roccolo Ditirambo written by Aureliano Acanti. Until the 1960s, the wine was generally sweet and hardly distinguishable from the Asti wine produced in Piedmont. Since then production methods have improved, this has led to the high quality of wine produced today. According to New York Times, 2008, Prosecco has steadily gained popularity in foreign markets with sales growing by double digits percentages since 1998.The growth in popularity has been largely aided by its fair price compared to other wines.
Production Areas and Classification
Most people mistake prosecco with champagne since the latter it is considered the birthplace of sparkling wines. In spite of this, though champagne is one of the most popular sparkling wines, not every sparkling wine is champagne. Unlike its main competitor, champagne, prosecco is normally produced using the charmat technique. During this process, secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine is not bottled until the secondary fermentation is complete; this makes it more cost-effective and affordable unlike most wines. In addition the rules of DOCG Prosecco Valdobbiadene allow the use of Metodo Classico, this refers to secondary fermentation in the bottle.
Cartizze Prosecco – the best and the most expensive prosecco comes from this area. Vineyards are located on steep slopes and as a result this gives slow ripening and the best quality fruit. This prosecco is therefore of the finest quality and is rarely produced.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Asolo area’s represent naturally superior quality. Designated with D.O.C.G. level.
Treviso vineyards usually on the hillside. Produce good quality prosecco.
Prosecco D.O.C. covers rest of the prosecco producing areas
Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either lightly sparkling (frizzante gentile) or fully sparkling (spumante) varieties. Spumante variants usually undergo a full secondary fermentation and are more expensive unlike their light counterparts. The sparkling variant may contain Pinot grigio or Pinot bianco wine.
In Italy, Prosecco is enjoyed as a wine for every occasion, beyond the borders of Italy, it is often drunk as an aperitif just like champagne. Compared to champagne, the wine tends to grow stale with time and should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within 3 years of its vintage, though high quality variants may be aged up to 7 years. Unlike most sparkling wines, Prosecco has low alcohol content, about 11-12 percent by volume. Wine enthusiasts usually describe the wine as intensely crisp and aromatic. The wine tends to conjure up images of yellow apple, apricot, pear and white peach. Compared to champagne, prosecco wines are highly appreciated for their rich, intense and fresh aromas.
Prosecco is normally served chilled; however it appears in mixed drinks. Initially it was the main ingredient in the Bellini and Spritz cocktail. In some instances, it can replace champagne in other cocktails such as Mimosa. With lemon sorbet and vodka, the wine is also an ingredient of the Italian mixed drink Sgroppino.