What You Need To Know About Prosecco
Welcome to Part 1 of my 6 Part Prosecco Series!
I’m really excited to be bringing you a variety of different content over the course of December, as a way to delve deeper into the world of Prosecco and show off just what The Glorious Grape is about. As a white sparkling wine, Prosecco is obviously a festive choice for the month of December.
However, this series is meant to go far beyond the holidays. Over the course of the next few weeks (including today), we will:
- explore the Italian region Prosecco wines originate from
- learn about how Prosecco is made, and how it is different from Champagne
- craft some cocktails
- discover delicious food pairings
- throw a tasting party
- rate 5 easy-to-find bottles under $15
Today we will cover the basics of Prosecco and learn a little bit about its Italian region. If you are interested in the other parts of the Prosecco Series, check them out here:
- Part 2: Getting To Know Glera: Your Quick Guide To Vine & Wine
- Part 3: 10 Prosecco Cocktails You Need To Mix Up Now
- Part 4: How To Throw A Prosecco Tasting Party
- Part 5: 5 Easy Bottles of Prosecco Under $15
- Part 6: The Science Behind Sparkling Wine
About the Region
Prosecco is a suburb of Trieste, in the northeastern most region of Italy. It is here where the wine and Prosecco grape – Glera – originated. Today, the wine is produced in various neighboring regions and are classified into 6 different categories:
- Prosecco DOC
- The most common, these wines are produced in nine regions between Veneto and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia
- Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG
- This Prosecco is produced on hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene and is quite concentrated.
- Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive DOCG
- 43 communes within the Conegliano – Valdobbiandene region with distinct microclimates and terroir.
- Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG
- Located just to the west of Valdobbiadene, some of the highest quality Proseccos are produced here.
- Colli Asolani DOCG
- Another high-quality area located across the Piave River from Conegliano – Valdobbiandene
Glera (formerly known as – surprise! – Prosecco) is the primary grape and is required by law to make up at least 85% of the wine. Other varieties often used include:
- Bianchetta Trevigiana
- Glera Lunga
- Pinot Bianco
- Pinot Grigio
- Pinot Noir
The region is warm and temperate. It often sees rain due to its location on the Adriatic Sea, but its hilly terrain aids in drainage. Even its driest years see plenty of rainfall.
There are several soil types that contribute to the terroir:
- Marine Sandstone
- Marl (lime/calcium rich mud)
- Prosecco can be sparkling (spumante), semi-sparkling (frizzante), or still (tranquillo). Still Prosecco is not typically sold outside of the Prosecco region.
- Prosecco was known locally as Ribolla in its home of Trieste throughout the 1500s. It was a favorite of Pliny the Elder, and hailed for its medicinal qualities by the wife of Emperor Augustus
- The name Prosecco is of Slovene origins, which makes sense due to the town’s proximity to modern-day Slovenia. Prosek translates to “a path through the woods”.
- The hills are home to a cycling race every year called Gran Fondo Prosecco. Anyone can participate and the prize for completion? A glass of the local bubbly!
- Prosecco and Champagne are both aperitifs – wines typically consumed before a meal to stimulate appetite. However, Prosecco is a much more affordable option, due in large part to the different method in which it is made:
- Champagne is only produced from the Champagne region in France, and is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier grapes. It is produced using the “Classic” or “Traditional” method, in which the second fermentation happens directly in the bottle.
- Prosecco, as we have learned, is produced in Italy and utilizes an entirely different set of grapes (primarily Glera). Using the “Charmat” method, the wine has a secondary fermentation in a large stainless steel tank, which is more cost-effective.
Be sure to tune in for Part 5 of our 6-Part Prosecco Series, where I will be covering the Top 5 Proseccos Under $15. Sign up for my email list here and you will be the first to know when it’s posted!
Have you tried Prosecco yet? Let me know what you think of this Italian bubbly in the comments!