What is the difference between Champagne and Prosecco?
18th July 2019
Though many will see both these iconic sparkling wines as pretty much one of the same thing they could not in fact be further apart – It is not so much chalk and cheese, more dry-aged steak vs juicy homemade hamburgers for the BBQ. Here’s why:
Both these wines have a worldwide fan base, millions of bottles are sold annually and thousands of producers equate to a multi billion pound industry sector that over recent years has seen positive growths. From wedding receptions to discounts for multi purchases at the local supermarket, it seems that we just can not get enough of Champagne and Prosecco, from the podium on Formula 1 to fizz cocktails at The Savoy’s American Bar, it is an endless shop window that tempts us in to pop that cork and pour those bubbles in to our glasses.
So, what is the difference between Champagne and Prosecco?
- Champagne can only be made from a designated area of Northern France
- Prosecco can only be made from a designated area of Northern Italy
- Champagne is made by a traditional method (Méthode Champenoise) requiring ageing
- Prosecco is made by a Charmant (tank) method requiring less ageing
- Champagne can only be made from 7 grape varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier
- Prosecco can only be made from white grapes and must be 85% from Glera
- Champagne requires a minimum ageing of 15 months before it can legally be sold
- Prosecco does not have a minimum ageing time and is best drunk sooner rather than later
- Champagne will have a strong and more complex flavour usually consisting of yellow stone fruits, toast, oak, citrus
- Prosecco will have a light flavour usually consisting of apple, pear, cream and floral
Is Champagne more expensive than Prosecco?
In most cases, the answer will undoubtedly be yes. Champagne goes through a longer production process and requires ageing which will increase its price point – We must also add to the price point the fact that Champagne is a far more aspirational product and has some glamour names behind its producers such as Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Louis Roederer.
Prosecco, being an easier to produce product, will be cheaper though we must also consider that some Prosecco labels are of equal price to some Champagnes as they are grown in the more quality regions producing higher grade grapes and wine.
The land value between Champagne and Prosecco is another reason for the price difference with the region of Champagne and the price per hectare in most cases outweighing that of Prosecco (some areas of Prosecco will though be equal to or more expensive than that of Champagne, ie the Cartizze area).
Does Champagne taste better than Prosecco?
Champagne will have a far more complex and detailed aroma and flavour in most cases whereas Prosecco will be lighter, easier to drink and mostly fruity in flavours. The honest answer really is over to you, the reader, once you have tasted both you will notice the difference and you will decide which you prefer!
Depending on if you prefer a sweeter or drier flavoured sparkling wine, both Champagne and Prosecco will offer a different selection of styles to suit your taste. Note, for now though, there is no such thing as a rosé Prosecco (you can only make Prosecco with white grapes) so this might be the biggest edge that Champagne has over its rival.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.