It is almost impossible to avoid Prosecco. It is establishing itself as the nation’s favourite fizz, as Brits are estimated to drink 8.2 million litres of Prosecco every week!
While you may enjoy a glass or two of this great Italian export, you may not know about it. Its rise has been meteoric and you may not have had time to sit back and ask, ‘what actually is Prosecco’?
The easy answer is that it’s a delicious sparkling wine from Italy, but the easy answer isn’t enough for us! We want to take you through the life cycle of this tasty tipple.
This will begin with a look into the region in which it is grown, then move onto how it is produced. Finally, we’ll leave you with some top tasting notes to look out for and a recommendation from the Prosecco specialists at Perlage Winery. By the end, you’ll be equipped to decipher that bottle of bubbly that’s served to you as a nice treat before your Sunday dinner.
Where Is Prosecco MAde?
Prosecco comes from the Veneto region of Italy. We’ve done a full overview of this wonderful region, so be sure to read that if you want to look into the region in greater detail. You can read it here.
For the purpose of this, we’ll keep our focus firmly on one particular part of it. You guessed it – the Prosecco region!
Prosecco is actually the region in which this fizz is made, rather than the grape it is made from. This is a recent change though. The grape variety is Glera, when the DOCG of Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Prosecco DOC regions were established, the grape was renamed to avoid any confusion. The Glera grape variety itself is also not native to Italy, it actually comes from the Istrian Peninsula, which is now part of Croatia.
Prosecco DOC is the broader region, however if you’re looking for a real treat you should seek out Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG.
Conegliano-Valdobbiadene is an absolutely stunning region, as you can see here! It’s nestled in the hills above Treviso, just 50km north of Venice. It is the ideal environment for producing a fresh, sparkling wine.
It sits nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Pre-Alps, so let’s look at the natural factors behind this region. The mountains protect it from severe weather, while ocean breezes help cool the vineyard temperatures. The area is a cool climate, when this is paired with altitude, it ensures the grapes will retain a high amount of acidity which is required for producing fresh sparkling wines.
Another crucial element is that grapes are planted on south-facing slopes. This ensures excellent exposure to the sunshine. This means that the grapes can achieve their full ripeness.
These two elements work in tandem together. Cool climates maintain the freshness, but the excellent levels of sunlight mean that the grapes ripen. So, the acidity is well balanced.
You can visit this region and follow the Prosecco road. The wine road was established in 2003 and is a direct heir of Italy’s first ever wine road which was created in 1966. You can follow the road through the hills of Northern Italy. Oenological museums, medieval churches, renaissance villas and quaint country farms and vineyards can all be found along this trail, along with top quality food and wine.
It finishes in the area of Valdobbiadene. This is the production capital of the area and is the headquarters of many of the sparkling wine companies, so you can believe that there’s some great tours to be had there. If you’re considering a holiday in Venice, it’s well worth checking out the Prosecco road to the North.
How Is Prosecco Made?
Prosecco is produced via something called the ‘Charmat’ or ‘Tank’ Method. Here, the secondary fermentation, which gives sparkling wines their fizz, is done in huge stainless steel tanks. You’ll also see this tactic employed when producing Piedmont’s famous regional fizz – Asti.
With Champagne, Crémant and Cava this secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. If you’d like to see how it compares to the bottle method in greater detail, then you can read our comparison between Cava & Prosecco here.
With the Tank Method, they seal the dry still base wine in an inert tank, with yeast and sugar. This tank will not allow any oxidisation, nor will it impart any flavours. This is why the Tank Method is preferred for aromatic grape varieties. It preserves the delicate fruity and floral aromas.
The wine will then enter into its secondary fermentation phase, where the carbonation begins. Winemakers will filter out the lees before it has a chance to break down and impart flavour. They then bottle the wine. At the end of it all you have a delicious bottle of Prosecco.
What Does Prosecco Taste Like?
It often possesses distinct apple and citrus notes. Not only this but the aromatic nature of the grapes found in Italian sparkling wines made in this method often provides a delightful floral aspect to it. Dry, crisp, acidic and most importantly delicious.
If you’re looking to pick up a bottle, we recommend Perlage’s Canah Prosecco. This particular organic Prosecco is a delight. Dry, fruity and friendly. It’s not your average supermarket stuff. It delivers big on the green fruit, with notes of tart green apples and pears. However, it also possesses riper notes of apricot. Then, subtle aromas of orange peel and honey emanate from the glass.
You can take a look at this, as well as some other stunning Prosecco’s from Perlage Winery below!
If you’d simply just like to learn more about wine from the comfort of your own home, be sure to check out our online blog and sign up to our mailing list. We’re always looking to teach people about different regions, grape varieties and producers. Beyond that, you can expect to find a whole host of playlists, cocktail cards and recipe cards packed full of wine pairing ideas. There might even be some special offers along the way so make sure that you don’t miss out!
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