**This article first appeared in The Indian Scene Magazine May 2020**
Prosecco is America’s favorite bubbly. Over the last five years Prosecco’s popularity has exploded. It is fresh, crisp, fruity, and light. A drink to be enjoyed practically any time of the day, from Sunday brunch to an afternoon aperitif, to happy hour, or the perfect wine with dinner. Here is everything you need to know about Prosecco.
What is Prosecco??
Prosecco comes from the Veneto region in northern Italy located between Venice and the Dolomites, in a small region known as Conegliano Valdobbiadene. It is a sparkling white wine that is produced from the Glera grape.
Prosecco can only be produced within a specific geographic denomination. The highest quality wines come from the Treviso province of Veneto. The vineyards are located between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Be sure to look for bottles with DOC or DOCG stickers, which guarantee the quality and authenticity of the wines.
How is Prosecco Made?
Prosecco is made in the modern Charmat Method, also known as the tank method. Winemakers start with a base wine of Glera grapes which is gently pressed, to which they add sugar and yeast to ferment the wine. Then a second fermentation(additional yeast and sugar added), takes place in a stainless steel tank, the resulting sparkling wine is aged in tank and then bottled under pressure.
What is Prosecco’s Flavor Profile?
Prosecco is a wine meant to be drunk young and fresh. Prosecco is medium-bodied, fruity, vibrant, and crisp. There are delicate aromas of exotic fruit, orange, and pears. It has fruity flavors of green apples, pear, and honeysuckle with remarkable acidity.
What is the difference between Prosecco and Champagne?
Prosecco is made in Veneto Italy and Champagne is made in Champagne France.
Champagne undergoes an intensive winemaking process called Méthode Champenoise which is expensive to produce. Champagne is made by adding sugar and yeast to a base wine made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Then the wine further goes through a complex process of aging and riddling. Champagnes fermentation takes place in the bottle and is aged on lees, which gives it a toasty flavor. Champagne has higher pressure, giving it fine and small bubbles.
This compares to Prosecco’s Charmat Method which gives gentler but larger bubbles. The shorter fermentation also yields more fruit flavors. The Charmat Method is more economical and less time consuming, making Prosecco more affordable.
Is Prosecco Dry or Sweet?
Prosecco is made with varying levels of sweetness. Most Proseccos are made in the brut style, but the Glera grapes’ fruit flavors make it appear to be sweeter than it really is. Brut is the most popular style here in the US, but there are three different sweetness levels.
- Brut: 0-12 grams of residual sugar per liter.
- Extra-Dry: 12-17 grams of residual sugar per liter.
- Dry: 17-32 grams of residual sugar per liter.
Can you make Cocktails with Prosecco?
Prosecco is the base of many classic Italian cocktails. The most popular Prosecco cocktails are Bellinis and Mimosas. If you are looking to bring the Italian style of “la Dolce Vita”, then stir up an Aperol Spritz, and experience Prosecco the Venetian way.
What foods Pair Well With Prosecco?
Prosecco with its fruitiness and acidity works great as a palate cleanse. It is also a versatile pairing for a wide range of cuisines. Prosecco pairs well with seafood, risottos, and creamy plates of pasta. Its fruitiness and bit of residual sugar also make Prosecco a delectable pairing with spicy Indian curries and Southeast Asian fare such as Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese.