#newwinethisweek Week 39 – Prosecco, Italy
Mike has gone for a real crowd please this week and he should expect a big thank you from my Mum, who may well be single handily responsible for the popularity of this week’s #newwinethisweek… It’s Prosecco, Mother!
Prosecco has been an amazing success in the UK over the past few years; we all love a bit of fizz and we seem to love it so much more when we can get it for under £10! I was reading an article earlier this year where Waitrose and Sainsbury’s both claimed to have sold 70% more Prosecco versus the previous year and how Prosecco is now twice as popular as Champagne, replacing the famous French fizz (try saying that after a couple of glasses!) for all but the most special occasions. It is no surprise really, because Prosecco is just so damn approachable; light in body, gentle fizz, crisp citrus flavours and maybe just a hint of sweetness; it simply ticks all of the boxes. But what is actually in the glass?
Italian labels are more difficult to fathom that a Rubik’s cube; does the name on the label refer to the place, the grape, the winemaker? Well that all depends on the region… the Italians can’t seem to agree on anything! Prosecco is an interesting case study as it is both the name of a place and the name of a grape… however neither are particularly relevant today! Let’s start with the region. Prosecco is the name of a small village in Veneto where the wine is produced but over the years the DOC has grown to include larger parts of the Veneto and Friuli in northeast Italy. The main grape in the wine is Glera, which was once known as Prosecco (and in some places is still used informally) and must make up at least 85% of the final blend, the balance made up from a wide variety of local and/or international varieties.
We have covered a number of sparkling wines made using the “method traditionale” already this year (Cremant, English Bubbly, Cava) that has started to explain the high prices for some of these wines, so why is Prosecco that much cheaper? Most Prosecco is produced using the Charmat method, or the “Metodo Italiano”, in which the process begins the same way as any other sparkling wine with an initial fermentation producing a still wine. The secondary fermentation, however, takes place in stainless steel tanks, a far cheaper method doing it in bottle, and the resulting sparkling wine is bottled under pressure and is does not have to undergo any cellar ageing, again cutting down on cost. What you end up with is a crisp, fruity and easy-going wine that is designed to be drunk young and won’t break the bank.
So you know what it is, where it’s from and how it’s made; all that is left is the fun but where we find out how it tastes! You won’t struggle to find Prosecco on any supermarket shelves but here is a section that continually get cracking write-ups in the press:
The vote is on Mike’s site again this week so don’t forget to clink on the link at the top of the article and let us know what you think!