Prosecco wine, the joy of a crispy, fruity, fresh sparkling golden liquid that inebriates your nose first and your mouth then. The perfect and most versatile drink for virtually every occasion. But are you sure you know what a real Prosecco is and how it should taste like?
First of all, let’s see what exactly is Prosecco and which are its characteristics.
Is it a wine?
From a strictly technical point of view, Prosecco is an Italian white wine DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) or DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin), for those of Montello and Colli Asolani or Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. It looks like sparkling wine. Sparkling wine is a category of wines: those that produce froth when the bottle is opened, caused by the presence of carbon dioxide produced by fermentation and therefore not added. Sparkling wine can be produced with the classic method, also called champenoise, or with Martinotti-Charmat method.
Did you know, however, that prosecco is not necessarily a sparkling wine? In fact, it can also be Frizzante (literally “crisp” a version with less bubbles) or Fermo also called Tranquillo (meaning respectively “still” and “quiet”).
Sparkling wines can be dry, extra dry, brut and extra brut: these terms indicate the sweetness of the sparkling wine.
Based on its sweetness, Prosecco is called:
- Extra brut (up to 3 g/l of residual sugar)
- Brut (up to 12 g/l)
- Extra Dry (12-20 g/l)
- Dry (20 -35 g/l)
As for the place of origin of the grapes, the distinction is between DOC and DOCG area:
- DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Controlled Designation of Origin): indicates that the wine must be produced as Frizzante or Spumante, with grape varieties approved within the boundaries of the areas defined by the specification.
- DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin): it represents the highest quality recognition for Italian wines. This “guarantee” ensures strict wine control and usually a smaller, higher quality grape yield than DOC production.
Difference between Prosecco and sparkling wine
Sparkling wine, being a category of wines, can be produced in any area and with any grape variety. Prosecco, on the other hand, which is a DOC or DOCG, can only be produced in some areas of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and from Glera, Verdiso, Pinot bianco (white), grigio (grey) or nero (black) vines and only with the Charmat method. Wine, in general, is produced through alcoholic fermentation: the sugars naturally present in grapes are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide. To obtain a sparkling wine, a second fermentation is necessary in order to capture the carbon dioxide inside the bottle, thus creating the bubbles. The Charmat method requires that the second fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks and not in the bottle. The result is a fresh and aromatic wine, with lower production costs and immediately ready to drink.
Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze
A particularly valuable type of Prosecco is that which is produced in the Cartizze area, a small area of 106 hectares of vineyards, between the steepest hills of S. Pietro di Barbozza, Santo Stefano and Saccol, in the municipality of Valdobbiadene. A real cru that comes from the perfect combination between a gentle microclimate and an ancient soil, originating from the lifting of seabed.
Grapes in Cartizze area are harvested late, when the berries begin to show the first signs of natural drying. This gives the wine a concentration of aromas and flavors of unusual intensity. Produced almost exclusively in the Dry version “Cartizze” is a sumptuous sparkling wine. Already the color shows a greater intensity, which manifests itself with a complexity of inviting and wide aromas, from apple to pear, from apricot to citrus fruits, to rose, with a pleasant note of glazed almonds to the aftertaste. The taste is pleasantly round , with a soft flavor, which the subtle perlage invigorates in the mouth.
Valdobbiadene DOCG Millesimato Prosecco
The Prosecco DOC Spumante Millesimato comes carefully selected in the most suitable banks for its altitude and exposure characteristics, they must be produced only from Prosecco DOC grapes or wines of the same vintage. The high hill offers Prosecco grapes a longer maturation, the aroma is fuller, and the acidity, especially the malic one, is better preserved. Prosecco Spumante is mainly known in two versions, Extra Dry and Brut. In the first the refermentation is interrupted when a small percentage of sugars still remains (12/20 g/l) in the second it is almost carried out at the end (maximum 15 gr/l) so that the sparkling wine becomes drier and drier.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG Spumante Extra dry
It is the classic Prosecco, the version that combines the varietal aromaticity with the flavor enhanced by the bubbles. The color is bright straw colored with perlage. The aroma is fresh and rich in aromas of fruit, apple, pear, with a hint of citrus that fades into the floral. In the mouth the wine is soft and at the same time dry thanks to a well-present acidity. It is the aperitif par excellence, ideal at 8-10 °C.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG Spumante Brut
It is the most modern Prosecco and has great international success. It is characterized by aromas richer in hints of citrus and fresh vegetables, which are accompanied by a pleasant note of bread, combined with a beautiful and lively gustatory energy. The fine perlage ensures the persistence of the flavor and the cleanliness of the palate, making it the sparkling wine par excellence at the table.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG Tranquillo
It is the least known version outside the production area. It is obtained from the thickest and least productive vineyards and from well-ripened grapes. The vinification involves a short cold maceration of the grape skins, in order to enrich the wine, in aromas and structure. The color is delicate straw yellow, the aromas are of apple, pear, almond and honey of a thousand flowers. The structure is sweet and persistent, with, at times, a pleasantly bitter aftertaste that makes it more complex and complex. Although not born to age, it can also be appreciated in the second year of life.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG Frizzante
It is the easiest and most immediate Prosecco: born to meet young people and to bring the less expert consumer closer. In the bottle refermentation version (Sur lie – literally meaning on dirt) it is the authentic ambassador of the winemaker tradition, an essential, dry, digestible and light wine. In the usual fermentation, in autoclave, Prosecco Frizzante harmonises the fragrance of the varietal aromas of the grapes, with the delicate pinch of carbon dioxide, in a union that gives great freshness. The color is the characteristic light straw color, the aroma is full of floral and fruity scents with a predominance of unripe apple and lemon.
Now that you have all these info about what is Prosecco, I guess you are pretty thirsty. What a better occasion to pop up a bottle and drink a glass of wonderful Prosecco?