- Nov 15, 2022
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What is Prosecco? All You Need to Know About the UK’s Favourite Fizz.
Up until around 10 years ago, you’d rarely see Prosecco on a wine list or on the kitchen table at a party. But today it couldn’t be more different, with Prosecco having become a firm favourite amongst the UK’s fizz fans.
The UK is in fact the largest market globally for Prosecco, importing more than a third of all Prosecco shipped worldwide. That’s over 130 MILLION bottles per year!
With its subtle flavour, easy drinkability and affordable price tag, it’s really no wonder that this sparkling wine has become so popular. But if you’re new to Prosecco, or keen to impress with a Prosecco gift that makes you look like you know your onions (or grapes), you may be on a fact hunt. And we’re here to arm you with those facts, so that next time you go to buy a bottle, you’re totally in the know.
Where does Prosecco come from?
Under European Union law, Prosecco origin means this wine can only come from just two regions of Italy, those being Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which cover nine provinces. All bottles of Prosecco must carry a DOC label (Denominazione di Origine Controllata). So, if you were wondering, is Prosecco Italian, the answer is most definitely, yes!
To obtain one of these esteemed badges, the wine must be made in line with strict rules around growing and production methods, as well as meeting defined quality standards.
What does Prosecco taste like?
The unique regional topography and climate of the two Prosecco wine growing regions are responsible for the characteristic fruity flavours that this tipple is known for, as well as its zingy acidity.
The sparkling wine Prosecco is notably light bodied, fresh and crisp and elegantly aromatic. Acidity can be medium to high, depending on the region, and dominant flavours generally include apple, peach, melon, apricot, pear and honeysuckle. But Prosecco flavour is all about softness, rather than being overly dramatic. We could say Prosecco hints of fruit, rather than smacks of it.
Whilst you’ll mostly find Prosecco dry, the fact that it’s brimming with fruity flavours can make it come across a tad sweeter than it really is. You’ll also find off-dry Proseccos, such as Prosecco Ca’Rosa, which makes the perfect aperitif, or a celebratory tipple in its own right. Off-dry is almost dry, with a trace of sweetness. So on the Prosecco sweetness scale, it could prove the ideal compromise.
In terms of alcohol content, this will depend on the producer’s individual style and how much sugar is involved, but generally you’ll find ABV anything from 8.5% to 12.5%.
What is the Prosecco grape?
The Prosecco grape used to be called both Prosecco, and Glera. The grape was grown in the Veneto and Friuli regions of northern Italy for many hundreds of years. Then, in 2009, due to a multitude of New World plantings, the Italian authorities sought legal protection for the name ‘Prosecco’ by settling on the Prosecco grape name ‘Glera’.
Now, in Italy, Prosecco refers only to wines made within the designated growing regions, produced with a minimum of 85% Glera.
What is the difference between Prosecco and Champagne?
It’s a common question for sure, and the answer lies in the bubbles. There are lots of ways to get fizz-making carbon dioxide into a bottle. The most expensive method is the one used by Champagne makers. What they do is fill a bottle with still, dry wine, then add yeast and sugar before sealing the bottle. As the yeast gets stuck into the sugar, it produces carbon dioxide. This is known as the ‘traditional method’ of bubble making.
The traditional method changes the nature of the wine, adding texture, complexity and rich flavours like toast and vanilla, which deepen as the wine ages.
Prosecco bubbles, however, come from a different method. Instead of the yeast fermenting in the bottle, it all happens in a tank. It’s faster and cheaper than the traditional method, and helps to retain the fresh vibrancy and natural perfume of the Prosecco grape, Glera.
The sparkling wine Prosecco should ideally be enjoyed during its younger years to get the most out of its fruity flavour and ensure it retains those zingy bubbles. This is usually 18-24 months after the Prosecco grape harvest. This is quite the opposite to many Champagne varieties, which often get better with age. Side note: you might want to read our guide to how long Champagne lasts for more inside intel on this subject.
How to serve Prosecco?
Prosecco should ideally be served chilled between six and eight degrees Celsius. A large tulip class is the perfect receptacle, because it allows you to fully appreciate the wine’s aromas. A Champagne flute is not ideal, because it doesn’t allow the bouquet to be released. And that’s all part of the Prosecco drinking experience.
It’s important not to store Prosecco long term in cold conditions, however. Pop it in the fridge for a few hours before serving by all means, or chill it in an ice bucket.
But otherwise, keep it stored upright in a cool, dry place at a constant temperature, away from heat and light, ideally between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius.
How to keep Prosecco fresh?
How long does Prosecco last once opened? Well, if you can manage not to finish the bottle the same day, you’ll be able to keep it for around five days after opening.
Be sure to keep it in the fridge, as the cool air will slow down the release of the bubbles. A stopper designed specifically for sparkling wines will also help keep that fizz in the bottle for longer.
Do be aware that drinkable it may be, but there’s no guarantee your Prosecco will taste as good as the day you opened it. If you’d rather not waste it, how about making some Prosecco ice cubes? Perfect for plonking into a fruity punch. Or add it into a white wine sauce to jazz up a pasta dish.
What are some great Prosecco gift ideas?
A good Prosecco makes the perfect gift for any occasion, including corporate wine gifts. Do up a single bottle in a swish gift bag or box, combine with a selection of complementary wines, or go all-out and take the case route.
Here are some of our favourite Prosecco gift ideas:
A lovely bottle of fizz, in a box!
The perfect Prosecco lover’s treat
Two bottles of Prosecco, accompanied by four delicious reds
A bottle of Prosecco, a juicy French red and an aromatic French white
Two bottles of Prosecco, two Rieslings and six reds
What is Prosecco? Now you know, here’s where to buy a bottle or three!
Keen to treat yourself or someone special to a bottle of this fabulous Italian fizz? The Oddbins range of Prosecco is sure to have just what you’re after. Not sure which to go for? Our team is on hand to help you make the perfect choice. Contact us via Live Chat, e-mail or by calling 0800 328 23 23.