Battle of the Bubbly: Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco

19th April 2021

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé

For many people, Champagne or Prosecco is something that should be enjoyed on very special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, graduations and the list goes on. Drinking a bubbly such a fine bottle of the Champagne Cristal is considered a little glass of heaven and too much of an indulgence to waste it as a casual drink. You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to differentiate one wine name from the other, however, there are distinct difference between Champagne and Prosecco and below is a highlight of some ways you can tell the two apart;

A lot of people call any sparkling wine Champagne but in reality, the name Champagne is derived from the Champagne region of France from where this sparkling wine originates. Champagne is produced from a single or various blends of wines made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Strict rules govern the Champagne making process such as the grapes have to be handpicked. Prosecco, on the other hand, hails from the Veneto region of Italy and is primarily made from Glera grapes.

The method of producing these sparkling wines differs significantly. Both require two rounds of fermentation to ensure carbonation however, Champagne requires a traditional method of carbonation in which the wine sparkles whilst bottled. The sugars and yeast are added to the bottle then capped and left for the fermentation to finish. The dead yeast cells collect at the neck and are eventually released. The carbonation process for Prosecco is done through the ‘tank method’ where a stainless steel tank is sealed to prevent the carbon dioxide from escaping making the wine fizzy after which it’s bottled and sealed. This process is shorter in time and relatively cheaper as compared to that of the Champagne.

Effervescence is the mark of identity for sparkling wines. There are different styles of fizz, all of which taste different from lively ones, fine ones and even some considered as aggressive. The level of pressure is what differentiates the level of bubbly between Champagne and Prosecco which is highest in Champagne measuring a record of 5 or 6 bars.

The difference in flavours between Champagne or Prosecco is a result of the contrasting winemaking methods. Champagne has significant bready, toasty, buttery, nutty aromas and citrus fruit flavours. The taste of Prosecco is sweeter given the less exposure to yeast and one can detect aromatic flavours and fruit characters such as green apple, pear, melon and fresh cream.

Champagne can be characterised as a much drier sparkling wine that can be perfectly paired with various seafood such as oysters, shellfish, caviar as well as other veggies and kinds of pasta. The sweet nature of Prosecco calls for more savoury dishes like meats and sugary fruits.

The selling price for Champagne and Prosecco differs significantly due to the methods of production. Champagne goes through a more complex process that requires the wine to be closely monitored and is often money-intensive. When it comes to Prosecco, the process is less hideous hence the notable difference in the cost.

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