Prosecco vs Champagne – Bottega asks the Question
16th August 2019
A recent email and suggestion to us from Sandro Bottega, founder of Italian winery and distillery Bottega SPA, grabbed my attention as he wanted to take a look at how Prosecco was comparing against Champagne and especially when it came to food.
Having just released a new book dedicated to sparkling wines and food, (The Finest Champagne & Sparkling Wines with their recommended food pairings) along with co author Stefania Ruffo, I am certainly very interested to delve further in to how Prosecco and the many flavours of wine this region offers run alongside fine foods. The superior standard Prosecco (DOCG), featured in the book we put together, will generally perform better both in aromas and flavours as well as combining it with foods in that the quality of grape from the higher graded classified region will offer finer, desired characteristics over DOC (non superior).
The whole subject of sparkling wines and pairing with foods is as vast as an ocean, thousands of examples and possibly millions of variations. The popularity of having sparkling wines to pair with foods continues to grow with many fine winemakers and chefs putting their names to combinations such as risotto, fried fish, curry, salad and more to sit alongside vintage Champagnes, English fizz and Prosecco to name just a few. It really is quite an interesting and still very much uncovered territory that I am very pleased to be focusing on at present whilst the Glass of Bubbly brand continues to grow and our relationship with wineries strengthen – I simply adore speaking about fine fizz with food and if I can tempt a person or two to try something new then I am very much content.
Back to Bottega and Sandro’s kind suggestion – A parcel soon arrived on my desk that contained a bottle of the standard Bottega Gold Brut (DOC) with a standard bottle of the Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne along with a decent wedge of Grana Padano cheese. The task was to enjoy of course, though primarily to see how each wine paired alongside the cheese. Here is what I found:
Prosecco Bottega Gold Brut: “Young and vibrant yellow fruit aromas. Taste gives you a young and lively sensation of subtle yellow / tropical fruits with a lemon zest and floral length.”
Champagne Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut: “Rich aromas giving an elegant and typical Champagne aroma including yellow fruits and lightly toasted bread. Expectations are high though a little bit dampened when tasting with a fair quality yellow/green fruit, pastry and dry citrus flavour. It is easy to drink and for the most part, especially for consumers, a very fine Champagne experience.”
Paired with Grana Padano cheese
Cheese & Prosecco: “The Prosecco flavours are quickly absorbed by the cheese. The oily texture from the cheese disappears to leave a clean cheese flavour to be enjoyed.”
Cheese & Champagne: “Combines very well to leave a ripe yellow fruit with hints of caramel from the Champagne and delicate dry flavours from the cheese. Fruity and savoury tasting experience.”
So what is the conclusion?
As I mentioned, the subject of pairing sparkling wines with foods is vast and there are many possible combinations. Prosecco with its Charmat method can certainly pair with foods just as well as traditional method sparkling wines such as from its close neighbours in Italy of Trento and Franciacorta. Though most Prosecco will not be aged more than a few months and last more than a couple of years, the popularity to explore the ageing possibilities grow and Bottega as a label are keen to lead the positive trend in this area.
Prosecco on most occasions, especially DOC, will generally be a young and fruity sparkling wine with variations mostly due to sugar content added so this leaves it open to fewer pairing suggestions, though with ageing we can arrive at more complexity thus widening the potential to sit alongside more foods and dishes.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.