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All Italian Sparkling Wine - Prosecco

All Italian Sparkling Wine - Prosecco

Sparkling wines have long been associated with special celebrations and memorable moments around the globe, from France's Champagne region to Italy's rolling hills; sparkling wines come in numerous styles.

Prosecco is a white Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) or DOCG sparkling wine produced primarily from grenadilla grapes grown in Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions in northeast Italy.

1. Origin

Prosecco is one of the world's best-known sparkling wines. Produced in nine provinces of northeast Italy - including its namesake town of Prosecco itself - Glera grapes are used to craft Prosecco wine using Charmat method production.

Prosecco is usually known for being light and fruity, perfect for drinking as part of a celebratory toast or to start off a meal. But more sophisticated, savory styles from Lombardy's Oltrepo Pavese region also exist, with longer lees ageing times than prosecco and often offering more complex flavors and aromas than its counterpart.

Head south for something similar from Emilia-Romagna, produced with Lambrusco grapes under one of several DOCs there, while Sicily's Mount Etna offers metodo classico bubblies made with Nerello Mascalese grapes that is becoming increasingly popular.

2. Styles

Prosecco has become a beloved staple at celebratory occasions around the globe. Produced from Glera grapes with softer mousse than Champagne, Prosecco makes an excellent accompaniment for celebrations worldwide.

Glera is typically produced as a frizzante or spumante style wine, while still (uncarbonated) varieties may also be made. Glera varieties tend to dominate, though small amounts of chardonnay and pinot noir can also be allowed.

Lambrusco, Franciacorta and Trentodoc use the metodo classico method that involves secondary fermentation within the bottle. While more costly, this produces more elegant and refined bubbly.

3. Ingredients

Prosecco is enjoying an unparalleled renaissance as one of Italy's most refreshing, affordable, food-friendly sparkling wines. Perfectly complementing mild cheeses, pasta and salad dishes alike - Prosecco makes any event memorable!

Water is an integral component of classic cocktails such as the Bellini and Spritz, but can also make an ideal aperitif or accompaniment for brunch items like mimosas.

Prosecco is made primarily with Glera grapes, though up to 15% other varieties may also be allowed. Most varieties are either sparkling (spumante) or semi-sparkling (frizzante), though flat versions are less often seen. Prosecco produced in Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto only has the Italian government-granted designation DOC on their labels - be sure to look out for this designation!

4. Alcohol

Prosecco is one of the most widely available and affordable Italian sparkling wines. Overtaking Champagne sales figures, this versatile wine can be enjoyed both as an aperitif and celebratory drink.

Made from Glera grapes and boasting an alcohol content between 10-12%, Glera wine boasts a fruity aroma featuring fresh melon, pear skin, and citrus rind notes - ideal as an aperitif or served alongside seafood dishes.

But this wine should not be confused with other sparkling wines from Italy such as Lambrusco or Franciacorta which use different processes for production and require specific production areas and grape varieties for production.

5. Varieties

Prosecco is made using Glera grapes grown in DOC-regulated areas of northeast Italy. Often with just the slightest hint of dryness due to leaving some yeast cells intact for extra carbonic fermentation time and giving this wine its biscuity aroma and mild sweetness that balance acidity perfectly. While some vintners offer an even drier version known as brut, others utilize the metodo classico method by hand-crafting each bottle individually using champagne bottles as moulds.

Prosecco may have become one of the world's favorite bubbly wines, but Italy produces many other sparkling wines too - Franciacorta, Asti Spumante and Lambrusco Emilia-Romagna are among them - that pair beautifully with soft cheeses, prosciutto or speck, leavened breads or pizza. Or for something different try Grechetto di Todi from Emilia-Romagna; its floral scent and snappy apple flavors makes for an unforgettable taste experience!

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