Can you tell the difference between Prosecco and Champagne?

25th February 2014

Can you tell the difference between Prosecco and Champagne?

A good Prosecco is a very good wine, however, Prosecco and Champagne are two very different wines, due to their wine making process, classic vs charmat, grape varieties and not least the cost. However many drinkers see them as similar, two sparkling wines with a massive price difference and yes, it can be true, that sometimes a good Prosecco is much better than a cheap Champagne but when the Champagne is good, then there is no comparison.

Slightly softer and sweeter than a cava, which has more similarities with Champagne than Prosecco does. Prosecco contains 50% more sugar than Champagne. Compared to other sparkling wines, Prosecco is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent.


The flavour of Prosecco has been described as intensely aromatic and crisp, bringing to mind yellow apple, pear, white peach, and apricot. Unlike Champagne, which is also more fizzy and has a rich taste and complex secondary aromas, most Prosecco have intense primary aromas and are meant to taste fresh, light and comparatively simple.

Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle, and it grows stale with time. It should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within three years of its vintage, although high-quality Prosecco may be aged for up to seven years.

There’s even a ‘grand cru’ of Prosecco, made from the highly valued grown grapes in Veneto’s tiny sub-district of Cartizze. These hilly vineyards are said to yield the richest and most flavourful grapes, and as a result, their wine can fetch prices double those of other Proseccos.


Champagne sales were overtaken in the UK for the first time by Prosecco, whose sales have risen by nearly 40 per cent last year, as it replaces Champagne as the drink for everyday celebrations as it’s an affordable luxury.

While Prosecco sales are growing at the fastest pace, cava sales are far bigger overall, accounting for around half of sparkling wine retail sales.

It seems that Champagne makers don’t need to worry about the competition just yet. When it comes to Champagne, we’re talking about a drink that’s been enjoyed for generations and endorsed by royalty across the world and is still continually chosen for those special occasions.

Glass of Bubbly

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