I'll have some Prosecco, I mean Glera

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I never was a real big fan of Prosecco, gravitating more towards Franciacorta, Champagne and sparkling wines made in the traditional method, which is secondary fermentation in the bottle.  However, I have consumed it at wine tastings and also when I was in Italy.  The fact is, it's not bad, but most people really have no idea what it is, how it's made, or it's value in the wine marketplace.

As I was informed by the most erudite Joe Brandolo, an employee of Winebow and an all around great guy, the true name of the grape used to make Prosecco is not called Prosecco, but is actually named Glera.  FYI, when people say champagne grapes, they are really talking about Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir, but are just lumping them all together because they really don't know what grapes are actually used.

Prosecco is made using the Charmat method, in which secondary fermentation happens in a large steel vat; this is a less expensive method.  However, Prosecco Spumante is produced using the traditional method, or method champagnoise, which is secondary fermentation in the bottle.  It is traditionally made in the areas of Friuli–Venezia Giulia, Veneto, and right near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.  There are some certifications of DOC and DOCG being attributed to it.

Prosecco can stand alone by itself, but I have also seen it used in other wine combinations with Merlot, Trebbiano or other varietals.  It is the basis for the traditional Bellini and can also be used as a substitute for champagne in making Mimosas. 

The beauty of Prosecco is that is comes in different sweetness levels, allowing for it to be extra-extra-dry (Brut) or even somewhat sweet, but not as sweet as Asti.  It is normally less expensive than traditional champagne – not sparkling wine – and can still deliver some wonderful tastes.  There is a version called Cartizze Prosecco, which is expensive because very little is produced and the wine produced from it is said to be of the highest quality.

Unfortunately, many people over the years have brought in some low quality Prosecco wines just to offer their own, but the wine does deserve a chance.  Hopefully, you'll give spend a ten-spot and find a nice bottle to love.

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