We are a few years in to the emergence of Prosecco becoming many wine drinkers’ go-to spring and summer sparkling.
It’s relatively affordable compared to Champagne and similar styles, easier drinking and in many cases more refreshing. There are still plenty of people who have yet to try Prosecco or simply don’t have the full picture of just what it is and where it is from, so today we will break down the background and a few myths.
Where is it from? We will start with ground zero for Prosecco. In the north-east of Italy, in the region of Veneto an Friuli is where we find ourselves, the same part of Italy that has set the benchmark for Pinot Grigio and Soave in the world of minerally white wines. Prosecco is both the name of a town within the region and has historically been the name of the principal grape variety in the production of Prosecco.
Since the rise of Prosecco being produced around the world, notably in the King Valley closer to home, moves were made to change the name of the grape variety to ‘Glera’ in the hope of eventually being able to protect the regional name of Prosecco much like the French have done with Champagne, although that is yet to be achieved and is proving difficult for the producers in Prosecco.
How is it made? Much the same as rules of production in Australia, Prosecco wines may include up to 15 per cent of other grape varieties that are not Glera, nevertheless it is the style of wine that predominates what is in the bottle and most would be hard pressed to pick up on the exact varieties in any given bottle. Prosecco is produced using the Charmat or ‘Tank’ method. Where Champagne will be fermented for a second time in bottle where it develops its fine bead and complex aromas and flavours, Prosecco is fermented for a second time in a large sealed tank and thus has less time and surface area in contact with its lees to develop those complexities of Champagne.
This is to the drinkers benefit in many ways, it allows for greater economies of scale and thus lower costs, it preserves freshness in the wines and the resulting wine is a crisp, fruit driven style perfect for summer refreshment.
Is it dry or sweet? This is the most confusing part for most people. The rules of sparkling wine production whether in Prosecco, Champagne or anywhere dictate that a wine labelled as ‘Extra Dry’ (12-17 grams of residual sugar) has more residual sugar than a wine labelled as Brut (0-12 grams residual sugar) and a wine labelled Extra Brut (0 – 6 grams of residual sugar) is drier than a wine labelled Brut. So don’t necessarily expect a wine labelled Extra Dry to be drier than what you are used to from what most people are used to in a Brut wine.
Umberto Luigi ‘Extra Dry’ Prosecco – $22
Imported by Italian experts, Mondo Imports, who know how to find the best of Italian wine as well as the great value options. They enlisted the help of Mornington Peninsula based artist Meredith Gaston to produce an eye-catching label to round out the package. It is the wine that matters of course and it is a perfect example of uncomplicated, easy drinking Prosecco; delicate aromatics, crisp, driven by fresh red apples and lively acidity.