Prosecco – it’s not just for breakfast anymore. I’m here to smash the (predominately American) stereotype that the bubbly drink is too light-bodied or sweet to drink on its own and tell you, much like drinking Champagne from the eponymous wine region, drinking a “serious” Prosecco will change the pre-conceived notions that one must make a rosé-ecco, bellini, or sbagliato to enjoy this wine. Indeed, a Prosecco from a well-established Italian winery is a Prosecco not only worthy of drinking on its own — it’s a Prosecco that must be enjoyed on its own.
So let’s learn what makes Prosecco so special…
Much like Champagne, the production of Prosecco is highly regulated and controlled. In fact, for Prosecco to be Prosecco at all it must come from a specific spot in Italy in the northeast that spans the Veneto and Fruili regions. The name itself stems from the Italian village Prosecco near Trieste, where the grape — called Glera — originates.
There are two “types” of Prosecco. Prosecco DOC, which is produced within the nine provinces that span the Veneto and Friuli wine regions and can be made either still (tranquillo), semi-sparkling (frazzante), or sparkling (spumante). Prosecco DOCG, on the other hand, comes specifically from either the Treviso province of Veneto or the smaller Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG near Asolo and are almost always (95%) made into sparkling wines.
What makes the DOCG areas so special is its distinct location and soil types, as they are harvested from some of the steepest hillsides in Italy along the wester Italian Alps. And though they enjoy moderate sunshine, the areas tend to be regulated by diurnal shifts stemming from the Adriatic Sea. Here, the grapes are harvested by hand and handled with the utmost delicacy throughout the grape-growing and winemaking process, which is thought to create superior wines. (Hence most will be labeled “superiore.”)
The production of Prosecco, made from the Glera grape, is not unlike that of Champagne, except that secondary fermentation takes place inside of a steel tank instead of in the bottle. This production method is called “tank method” or methode charmat. You can read more about methode traditionelle in Popping the Cork on Sparkling Wine.
A few other things to note when picking out your prosecco:
Those labeled Superiore will always be a sparkling wine — specifically in brut, extra dry, or dry styles. Those labeled Rifermentazione in bottiglia were actually fermented in bottle (in contrast to the “usual” methode charmat). And those that say col fondo have also gone through secondary fermentation in bottle, but have the yeast particles remaining — as in they’ve not gone through disgorgement. (The latter is something I personally have only experienced with Champagnes and California sparkling wines, but have yet to taste in a Prosecco.)
There’s miles worth of nuances to this grape, it’s history, and the importance of the Italian region from which it stems — but these are just a few basic facts to get us started. Below you’ll find a list of Proseccos I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. (Links will become live as the reviews are published.) Sometimes sipping is the best way to learn…Cheers!
Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco
Nino Franco Brut Prosecco
Nino Franco Primo Franco Prosecco 2016
Nino Franco Grave di Stecca Prosecco 2010
Da Luca 2014 Prosecco
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