Wine Profile: Prosecco
Prosecco is often seen as the cheaper, less impressive alternative to the king of all sparkling wines, Champagne. And while that may technically be true, we believe if you think that way you’re looking at it all wrong. Prosecco may not be as complex or even as sought after as Champagne. But, it is what it is. And what it is in an incredibly refreshing, fruity, and food-friendly wine.
THE ONE, THE ONLY
Prosecco is the name of the grape, the region, and the wine. It’s that big of a deal. Prosecco, the grape, was originally native to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. However, it is now almost exclusively grown in the Veneto. The most famous region in the area producing Prosecco is called Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, and production in the region accounts for 25% of Prosecco production.
A PROSECCO BY ANY OTHER NAME
However, while the grape was originally called Prosecco, it has since been changed. Italy wanted to stop imitators from other countries from producing wine with the Prosecco grape and using their name and distinction. Much like Champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France, Italy wanted to protect itself and their wine. In 2009, they officially changed the name of the grape to Glera. They also protected the wine under their DOC and DOCG regulations. Glera is still the primary grape in Prosecco. Under Italian law must account for at least 85% of the final blend of the wine. While most bottles are made with mostly the Glera grape, occasionally small amounts of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio are added in as well.
NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL SPARKLING
Prosecco is produced via the Charmat Method, or the Tank Method, not the traditional method used in the production of Champagne. After a still, base wine is produced the base wine is poured into a large tank with a mixture of yeast and sugar. Then the secondary fermentation tanks placed in this closed tank. As opposed to Champagne production where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. In the closed tank, the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation is trapped. It then eventually gets incorporated into the wine, creating the bubbles.
CHARMAT IS CHARMANT
This method of production is less expensive than the traditional method. Hence one of the reasons for a drastic difference in price between Prosecco and Champagne. The Charmat Method better preserves the fruit characteristics of the grapes. That’s why Prosecco tends to be a balance of bright fruit and slight sweetness while Champagne is more about toast, lean acid, and complexity. When drinking Prosecco expect flavors of green apple, honeydew melon, pear, apricot, lemon zest, cream, honeysuckle, and citrus blossoms.
BRUNCH MADE IN HEAVEN
Prosecco’s charm is the freshness of the fruit and its ability to pair with a wide variety of food. First of all, before we even get into food, I think it is very important to note that Prosecco and orange juice is an extremely winning combination. The fruit in the wine really complements citrus of any kind so it’s a perfect go-to for mimosas.
FROM START TO FINISH A PERFECT MATCH
Prosecco is also perfect at the start of a meal, one of the reasons it has long been enjoyed by Italians as an aperitivo. It’s delicious with a wide range of appetizers, from crab cakes to potstickers, or empanadas. Bar snacks are my weakness, so my personal favorites are the great variety of snack foods Prosecco pairs with. Bring on the potato chips and spiced nuts. Moving into the more Italian realm, it sings with an antipasto platter or charcuterie board.
It’s great with sushi that’s on the sweeter side, but don’t go for anything too spicy. It’s also lovely with a lot of shellfish or any sweeter treatments of white meats. Any dish that has a hint of fruit or sweetness really matches well to the flavors and fruit of Prosecco. However, it’s also excellent with anything fatty and salty, something that helps balance out the fruit and sweetness of the wine. So next time you’re indulging in some fried chicken, I highly recommend you break out some Prosecco!
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