Prosecco hails from Northeast Italy, though its heartland is a small region in the Veneto called Conegliano Valdobbiadene. While consumers often equate it with widely available commercial-quality fizz, access to Italy’s finest sparkling wines is rising. Many retailers now sell Prosecco for every occasion, from party-ready bottlings to companions for fine dining.

Production techniques continue to improve, and the appetite for experimentation grows. The result is better bubbles and diminished sugar levels that showcase terroir, quality and style. Indeed, the world of Prosecco holds much to explore for the curious wine lover.

 

The Grape: Glera

In the past, the grape used to make Prosecco was called both Prosecco and Glera. The thin-skinned green grape has been grown in the Veneto and Friuli regions of northern Italy for hundreds of years.

But in 2009, an increased number of New World plantings led Italian authorities to seek legal protection for the name “Prosecco” by rechristening the variety as “Glera.” It was a move akin to how the French protect the name Champagne as a place of origin. That was also the year when Conegliano Valdobbiadene’s appellation became Italy’s 44th Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).

In Italy, Prosecco refers solely to wines made within three specific designated appellations produced with at least 85% Glera. However, producers abroad have been known to also use the term for their own bottlings, sparking legal challenges.

Glera has a tendency toward high yields, and the greater the yield, the more neutral the resulting wine becomes.

The grape’s moderately high acidity makes it a shoo-in for sparkling wine. It gives a lovely perfume of melons, peaches, pears and white flowers. The resulting wines are typically light to medium-bodied. Depending on the producer’s style and amount of residual sugar, alcohol levels can range from 8.5% to 12.5% for fully dry wines.

 

“Since 1881, the Serena family has been dedicated to wine production with skill and passion. Today the company is managed by Alberto, managing director, and his sister Sarah, general manager, with their father Armando as president. The strength of the family is one of Montevini’s founding values, which involves all collaborators and “allies.” Montelvini

 

Prosecco’s Effervescence and Sweetness

Though some still wine is made, Prosecco is typically frizzante (fizzy) or spumante (fully sparkling). Frizzante wines have lower atmospheric pressure (1–2.5 bars) and often cost less than Prosecco Spumante (5 bars), which seek to be an affordable alternative to Champagne.

As far as sweetness, Prosecco DOC comes in four levels. From driest to sweetest: Brut, Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-Sec. Superiore DOCG, however, only comes in the first three.

One more style to note is Prosecco Col Fondo. For lovers of pétillant naturel (pét-nat), natural-leaning and minimal intervention wines, this frizzante style offers a different take on Prosecco.

With Col Fondo, producers bottle-ferment Glera and other indigenous varieties, instead of tank ferment, then eschew disgorgement. This leaves dead yeast in the bottle (lees), which creates sediment and cloudiness. In fact, Col Fondo means “with the bottom.” The wines ferment to full dryness and can age a few years. Col Fondos are distinct, idiosyncratic and a darling of sommeliers that look for unusual wines.

Simply the Best

Author Simply the Best

More posts by Simply the Best

Leave a Reply

8 + twenty =