Champagne or Prosecco? Let the fight begin…
25th July 2018
Consumers across the world love their sparkling wines from famous regions to lesser known up and coming hotspots, be it rosé, red or Brut – Who would ever want to say no to a glass of bubbly? Sparkling wine is the category that the likes of Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Franciacorta, Cremants and more sit in, each having their own specific regions, grapes and methods for making the wines they produce. Countries such as France, Italy, South Africa, Spain are famous for the sparkling wines they produce, whereas Georgia, Slovenia, Brazil, Russia are less known.
Two power names in the world of sparkling wine are for sure Champagne and Prosecco, both neighbouring countries producing some of the best and biggest volume fizz the consumers globally. Both types of wine offer their own unique flavours and are fairly recognisable when compared in aromas and flavours. Though they are very different in many ways, most consumers would still classify both under the same description, ie calling either Champagne (I’m going to have a glass of Champagne referring to any sparkling wine be it Prosecco, Cava, Spumante etc). So how can we compare both these wines fairly in order to have an overall winner?
Very different flavours in that Champagne will often provide deeper, citrus, toasty flavours whereas Prosecco will be a lot less complicated and give a refreshing fruity experience in most occasions. If complexity is preferred then for sure Champagne will win both thanks to the grapes it uses and in how it is made which is totally different from Prosecco – Champagne uses a traditional method of sparkling winemaking taking both longer to make and ageing the wine for longer. If an easier to enjoy fruitier experience is what ticks the boxes for you then Prosecco will generally offer you that sensation thanks to the grape it used Glera and the Charmant method of how it is made where wines can be produced in 6 months thanks to fermentation taking place in steel tanks rather than in the bottles (as per Champagne).
Result – Though I love the refreshing and fruity flavours that most Prosecco will offer and despite some Prosecco, especially from DOCG / Cartizze offering highly complex tastes, Champagne wins here in that the variation of flavours you can enjoy exist in more depth against its Italian rivals. If you prefer vintage with toasty and buttery notes or if you prefer a dry and crisp extra brut then Champagne gives you this opportunity to find a label which suits your palate. Some of the most amazing flavours in wines come from Champagne (Prosecco uses mostly one grape, Glera, whereas Champagne uses mostly three grape styles of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier)
I stick to cost as a title here over something like value as each wine for me has its place in the market and for many people, paying more for a wine will not necessarily mean they will enjoy it more. Prosecco will generally be a lot cheaper to purchase over Champagne and this will be due to how it is made which we discussed above. Champagne will also hold that bit more value over Champagne as an aspirational product so this will also drive up the cost due to its popularity. Now popularity has also hit the world of Prosecco, but this has been towards Prosecco being a cheap sparkling wine to enjoy over it being praised for quality / complexity etc.
The land values of each region are quite similar and especially for the more desired area of vineyards – a couple of million euros per hectare in both regions is not an uncommon price-tag to see. Both areas are also restricted in size due to their governing bodies regulating how they grow grapes in order to produce their wines – In recent years expanding the areas of Champagne and Prosecco has been a common topic of conversation and debate.
Yes, Prosecco can be seen in local supermarkets for cheap and overly tempting prices such as 6 bottles for £29.99 or down the local pub at £12.50 a bottle. Though I will add that Champagne has also been dragged down in price and used as a tempter to draw in footfall with even today a bottle being priced under £10 being quite a normal promotion. Prosecco can be more expensive and so to can Champagne. Prosecco is scaled up in quality with DOC, DOCG and Cartizze yet Champagne can also offer Premier and Grand Cru. Vintage both can offer, though the length to what Champagne can be stored over Prosecco will mean that prices for highly demanded / aged Champagne will see it easily outnumber Prosecco in cost price!
Result – I think here that Prosecco sticks out for me as not only can it frequently be at a price that will appeal to the masses so increases the popularity of sparkling wine globally, you can also scale things up to explore high quality regions and labels.
I’d see this category include the likes of food pairing and cocktails mostly – How well does either fit in to each. Prosecco will certainly be good for cocktails and is used in many well known mixes as it is generally a fruitier sparkling wine, less complex and suited to complement other drinks / spirits. Champagne is also one wine used for cocktails though in my mind will be less encouraged especially for finer / vintage Champagne as some would see this as disrespecting the qualities of the wine itself – Though of course the likes of French 75 & Poinsettia are still world famous and usually found on most cocktails lists.
Now we look at food pairings and though I have sat through several Prosecco pairing meals, I will stick to Champagne here for food pairing as the variation of styles and flavours this wine region holds is just that bit more suitable for fine food pairings from sweet dishes to savoury.
So, weighing up the two here and with just a mere half neck ahead is Champagne purely as it is a very suitable sparkling wine for food pairings and can still hold its own in the world of cocktails.
The world loves sparkling wines which means that in most areas and set locations you will usually find a selection of fizz to choose from such as via restaurants or supermarkets, Champagne and Prosecco will be the most likely fizz solutions well ahead of the likes of Cava, Franciacorta, English Fizz etc.
Most of us, so long as we have the budgets to spend, will be able to taste and compare these two sparkling wines and even if we haven’t any store or location near to us serving them we can always rely on the internet where thousands of outlets enable you to order and have delivered safely fizz.
Both wine regions sit in mainland Europe and easily accessible by most forms of transport, both area (me having been to both areas frequently) will cost you around the same for touring and accommodation. Both also give you a fantastic wine tourism holiday with great history, wine houses and picturesque views.
Here we have to say things are even as checking stats on availability online show these two more or less equal in their endeavours to have worldwide availability and most countries would order in both as opposed to favouring one style mostly.
2 votes Champagne
1 vote Prosecco
1 even vote
Champagne 3 – 2 Prosecco
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