The growth in popularity of Prosecco in recent years has been phenomenal. What does Prosecco have that makes it the sparkling wine of choice for millions of wine drinkers around the world?
What is Prosecco? It is a white sparkling wine from the Veneto region of northern Italy. However, unlike Cava and Champagne it is not made using the ‘traditional method’, which involves the wine being aged for a minimum of nine months, Prosecco is made using the ‘charmat’ or tank method, which is cheaper and quicker making it more affordable for consumers.
Prosecco is made from the Glera grape. Is not only a sparkling wine, there is also a frizzante, or semi sparkling version, and a still wine. However, its international success is based on the sparkling version.
The name Prosecco is taken from an Italian village with the same name, near Trieste, in the heart of vineyards. Actually the name itself is Slovenian meaning ‘a path through the woods’
The boom in sales began during the years when the world economy was in recession and retailers and consumers looked for an alternative sparkling wine that was cheaper than Champagne.
It could have been Cava but in many international markets Cava has a serious image problem and is considered by many to be cheap and often not good quality. In fact leading Cava producers Freixenet and Codorniu have launched their own Proseccos in an attempt to tap into this market.
This created an opening and Prosecco fitted the bill. I mentioned above that the cost of production is lower and consequently cheaper for consumers to buy, which has been key to its success.
Consumers associate this sparkling wine with Italian style, an affordable luxury with a touch of sophistication. Also, it is easy to say and remember, which in the confusing world of wine is a huge benefit.
Prosecco has an uncomplicated, light and fruity style making it smoother to drink than Cava and Champagne which are both more complex. There are different styles Brut, Extra Brut and semi sweet. The drier version are also very good food wine and a base for many wine cocktails.
It is a versatile wine, ideal as an aperitif, for parties, events and nights out because it has bubbles and is more affordable than Champagne.
From London to New York you can find Prosecco Bars, there is a new chain of restaurants in the UK called Pizza and Prosecco, high end department stores serve Prosecco to customers while they browse through new season collections.
I tend to avoid the cheaper Prosecco’s which at best are light and pleasant. It is worth looking for more premium quality Prosecco, they can be identified with the DOCG classification, which means that the grapes will have come from a small hilly area comprising of 15 sub zones, one of the most well known being Valdobbiadene, in the Veneto and Friuli regions.
Prosecco may not be the greatest wine in the world but its popularity shows no sign of fading in the near future.