Everything you always wanted to know about Prosecco, but were afraid to ask:
3rd July 2019
I am hoping that not only those who love Prosecco have been attracted via the title to read this article, but like myself, also those of us who know of the comedy/cult classic movie from 1972 starring a host of global acting talent and directed by Woody Allen – Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask).
Though I love the good old classic movies, I am here to speak about the sparkling stuff and of course we all know and love the subject of Prosecco, but do we really know all we need to know about this world famous fizz?
As I scour our library of sparkling wines and the Prosecco section, I thought I would take out a few fine examples, share some tasting notes with you and importantly start with some basic questions and answers for you about this iconic wine region:
Where does Prosecco come from?
It is an Italian sparkling wine from the Northern region, Veneto, and only some 25km north of Venice
Where did the name Prosecco originate from?
An easy answer here in that the name came from a village in the Northern eastern region of Italy called Prosecco! It is said that this village was where the grapes for Prosecco originated from.
What grapes go in to making Prosecco?
It will in certainly and legally be the Glera grape with many Prosecco being made from 85% Glera grapes to 100%. The other varieties which can be added (up to 15% maximum) include Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir vinified white.
Why can I not find pink / rosé Prosecco?
Because the prominent grape of Prosecco is a white grape Glera as are all the other permitted grapes that can be added (up to 15% only) which then means there is no way to naturally make rosé sparkling wine from this region, thus we have no rosé Prosecco! This regulation may change in the future, though for now if you spot a rosé fizz from Italy it is likely to be a Spumante.
Why is Prosecco so cheap compared to say Champagne?
This will be mostly down to how Prosecco is made compared to Champagne. Prosecco uses a quicker and more economical system called the Charmant Method whereas the process for making Champagne is a lot longer, the Méthode Champenoise, and will require a second fermentation as well as a minimum of 15 months to be aged (average is 18-30 months for many Champagnes). So considering some Prosecco can be ready from the grape picking process to popping the cork and enjoying a glass within 3 months on some occasions and Champagne needs to be stored a lot longer then the price points will differ considerably.
Can I buy Vintage Prosecco?
Yes, there will be some Prosecco that are vintage or as you will read on the label ‘Millesimato’. This will mean the grapes used are those harvested only within that year stated, not as many people think that the wine will be old. With Presecco you can be drinking a Millesimato wine the same year it is produced and usually they are not meant to be aged for more than two to three years, you will likely lose quality in flavours if you do. There is though a growing trend to experiment and produce more aged vintage Proseccos.
Which is the best Prosecco cocktail?
There are so many to chose from yet the most popular and easiest to prepare and enjoy is the Bellini which is simply peach nectar and Prosecco! You can add either fresh mango juice, tropical fruit juice and even orange juice should you prefer or if that’s all you’ve to hand!
Which is the best style of glass to drink Prosecco from?
Any glass that is handy I hear many people say? Well this is not far away from being fact for many of us, yet or course we love our flutes with Prosecco though you can also equally enjoy Prosecco via a white wine glass.
How do I become a connoisseur of Prosecco?
Practise and taking an interest in what you drink. Yes, Prosecco is fun and when we pop open that bottle it seems to emtpy itself very quickly and especially when you have friends and family round. Though the best way to learn about Prosecco is to read educational Prosecco articles or experiment with different styles (brut, dry, extra dry) and wineries such as Villa Sandi, Ruggeri, Le Marca, Zonin and more who will likely produce a long list of labels to taste through.
What flavours can you expect to experience if you start exploring Prosecco styles and wineries? Here are some tasty examples of Prosecco that you simply must try:
Montelliana Prosecco Treviso Extra Dry: “Fragrance of yellow pear, apples and a touch of tropical. Good sweet fruity flavours with a touch of minerals in the mid length.”
Martignago Xero Sugar-Free Asolo Superiore Prosecco Extra Brut: “Tasty and fresh. Ideal for dessert food pairing or even as a glass of fizz to celebrate having enjoyed a fine meal – It cleanses the palate. Though less sugars it still holds subtletempting hints of fruity flavours with a dry citrus / mineral length.” – Available for £14 per bottle
Loredan Gasparini Cuvée Indigene Asolo Superiore Prosecco Extra Dry: “Yellow stone fruits, caramel and herbs on the nose. Lovely warm golden colour and fine bubbles. Smooth fruits and sweet tasting with ripe apricot, pear and yellow apples tantalising the palate.”
L’Antica Quercia Matiu Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut: “Refreshing, crisp and fine yellow fruit and white floral flavours.”
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.