Prosecco: So much more to learn

Friday, February 14, 2014

I attended the 2014 VinItaly US tour in New York two weeks ago, and while I was there, one of the breakout sessions I was in was focused on Prosecco; I actually had signed up for three of them.  This one was focused on the history and terroir of Prosecco. 

Now, I myself was happy in the fact that I knew the real name of the [primary] grape used to make this wine, which is Glera, because a lot of people really don’t know that.  And while I know that it can come in three different dosages, or levels of sweetness, I found out something else that has a greater impact on the final taste of Prosecco, or why it can differ from producer to producer.  The reality is that by law, it only has to be 80% Glera, and the rest can be made of up to either four Italian varietals, or four more international varietals.  Now, I was told that it has to be 80% Glera but I have also found where it says that it has to be 85%.  If you use Italian varietals, then they can be one or more of the following:  Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera lunga.  If you use more international varietals, they can be one or more of the following:  Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco(Blanc), Pinot Grigio(Gris) and Pinot Nero(Noir).

Armed with this new nugget of knowledge, things really started to fall into place as to why different Prosecco wines can taste so differently from each other.  It’s akin to the difference in Champagne from a Blanc de Blancs and a Blanc de Noirs.  And let’s not forget that not only the quality of the grapes used, but also the quality of the winemaking process are also other factors that we have to also realize.

While there is now a huge push to educate people about Prosecco, I think that the hardest thing for it in the American market is simply that we also have a number of other sparkling wines produced domestically which are also very good and easily compete against the better Proseccos at various price points.  I will admit, I am a fan of the Prosecco wines from Anna Spinato and have no problem spending seventeen dollars on a bottle.  I also love Mionetto Proseccos as well.

Well, that’s the little bit of knowledge that I have to give you today.  The only thing that I can add is that you try a number of Prosecco wines of various dosage and price ranges to see which ones you really like.  At the tasting, I found out that I loved the Astoria Vini SRL, which was phenomenal.

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