Prosecco is often compared to Champagne, but it’s actually quite different and usually less expensive. But as you’ll soon discover, there’s more to Prosecco than affordable bubbles.
Prosecco vs Champagne
Champagne is a sparkling wine from France and Prosecco is from Italy. The difference in price is partially from the production method used to make each wine. Champagne is a lot more time intensive to produce and so it’s usually more expensive.
Prosecco is made with Prosecco grapes (also called Glera but more on that later) whilst Champagne is made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes predominantly.
Another one of the key differences between Prosecco and Champagne that was alluded to earlier is the production method. Whilst the secondary fermentation that produces the bubbles in Champagne happens in the bottle, for Prosecco it occurs in a tank, known as an autoclave that has been designed to withstand the pressure of the contained carbon dioxide.
The secondary fermentation in tank results in wines that have approximately 3 to 4 atmospheres of pressure from the trapped carbon dioxide gas. This means Prosecco has lighter, frothy bubbles that don’t last as long. With Champagne, the carbonation develops under higher pressure in the smaller bottle (approximately 5-6 atmospheres of pressure) and so has results in much finer, more persistent bubbles.
In addition, the tank method results in wines with fresher, fruitier flavours. Even the yeast flavours are fresher, appearing more like lager. Whereas with Champagne the bottle is a much smaller fermentation vessel and the wine is left to mature on lees (yeast) for a much longer period. This changes to flavour profile of the wine to have more complex, savoury characters and the yeast flavours appear more like bread or brioche in nature.
The Taste of Prosecco
Most Prosecco wines are produced in a dry style. However, due to the grapes’ fruity characters of green apple, honeydew melon, pear and honeysuckle blossom, it usually seems sweeter than it is. Even though brut is the most popular sweetness level of Prosecco sold in the market today, you can find styles that are sweeter if you seek them out. Here’s how Prosecco is labeled for sweetness:
Brut 0–12 g/L RS (residual sugar) – Up to a half gram of sugar per glass
Extra Dry 12–17 g/L RS – Just over a half gram of sugar per glass
Dry 17–32 g/L RS – Up to 1 gram of sugar per glass
How to Serve Prosecco
Prosecco should be served nice and cold (3–7 °C), and most will agree that the best glass to serve Prosecco in is a sparkling tulip glass. The shape of the tulip glass is ideal because it’s tall and slender, which helps preserve the bubbles for longer, while the larger bulb at the top helps collect more of the wine’s fruity, floral aromas.
The Perfect Brunch Wine
If you love a long weekend brunch, Prosecco is our favorite pick for this. The lively fruitiness in the wine makes it a perfect match with brunch-style foods and of course, the lower alcohol means you can carry on with your day after brunch!
Pairing Food with Prosecco
Prosecco is one of those wines that doesn’t need food and can be served as an aperitif (before food). But it is also very versatile and works well alongside a wide range of cuisines and dishes.
A good idea is to use Prosecco as a palate cleanser alongside medium-intensity foods – think chicken, tofu, seafood or pork dishes. Because of its sweet aromatics and bubbles, Prosecco matches well with spicy curries and Southeast Asian fare such as Thai, Vietnamese, Hong Kong, and Singaporean cuisine.
Prosecco – is it a place or is it a grape variety?
In the past, the grape used to make Prosecco was called both Prosecco and Glera. The thin-skinned green grape has been grown in the Veneto and Friuli regions of northern Italy for hundreds of years.
But in 2009, an increased number of New World plantings led Italian authorities to seek legal protection for the name “Prosecco” by rechristening the variety as “Glera.” It was a move akin to how the French protect the name Champagne as a place of origin.
Does all Prosecco come from Italy?
While Italian Prosecco has its roots in ancient times, the grape has long been grown in other parts of the world and more recently, Australia’s King Valley. The latter saw an influx of Italian settlers and Prosecco was first planted there in 1999.
The Italian authorities did attempt to register Prosecco as a protected name in Australia, but it was successfully opposed by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) in 2013 on the grounds that here in Australia, it is considered a grape variety, not a place.
The Taylor Made Prosecco is the newest wine in the range and is already proving to be a very popular addition indeed!