What is Prosecco & should I go for a Valdobbiadene DOCG or a Prosecco DOC… that is the question!
As many of you may already know, last month we had the honor to host our Valdobbiadene Prosecco maker, Marco Spagnol from Col del Sas winery in Italy. That has been the perfect occasion to answer the question… what is Prosecco exactly?
In those days in fact, we had the opportunity to meet many customers and taste together the wide range of artisan Proseccos we are exclusively importing into the UK.
During Marco’s tasting evenings, we noticed that often customers do not have a clear idea of the different styles and typologies that is possible to find. Thus, the idea of writing a post on our Blog to help you better understand what is Prosecco and why it has become so popular in recent years.
In fact, most of the people usually think that “Prosecco is just… Prosecco”, while the reality of the facts is very much different: indeed Prosecco is a very complete and diversified appellation with different wine profiles and winemaking traditions.
So, what is Prosecco? Thanks to this article you will finally be able to better understand (and appreciate more) the fantastic world of Prosecco!
What is Prosecco: the appellations
Prosecco DOC Treviso is produced from nine provinces spanning the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions and, at the present, it is the Prosecco easiest to be found on the UK market. The province of Treviso is the heart of the Prosecco DOC area, which is a flat region were normally it is possible to get high yields per hectare thanks to the use of agricultural machinery.
On the other hand, Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG is only produced in the (very!) steep hills of 15 communes lying between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. This small area presents the best conditions in terms of soils minerality, sun exposure and ventilation. Normally in this area yields are very low, since everything must be strictly done by hand.
Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG is immediately recognizable thanks to its lively elegance, its pale straw colour, its restrained body and its distinctive fruity and floral nose. Of special worth among these are the Crus: the famous Superiore di Cartizze and the Rive.
What is Prosecco: the Crus
The Superiore di Cartizze is the Cru of the denomination and comprises a small area of 107 hectares of vines in the steepest hills in the commune of Valdobbiadene. It is the result of the perfect combination between a mild microclimate and very varied terrain. Cartizze is widely considered as a sumptuous sparkling wine.
The Rive Proseccos represent the essence of terroir. They are produced, in fact, exclusively from grapes that come from a single Commune or hamlet/village therein, thus highlighting the characteristics that a particular area confers on its wine. In the Conegliano Valdobbiadene zone there are only 43 Rive, which offer an equal number of distinct territorial expressions.
What is Prosecco: the typologies
Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG is generally produced in Sparkling (Spumante) and Semi-sparkling (Frizzante) versions.
The Sparkling version is the iconic one for the denomination; appealing and versatile, it has created its own distinctive style of drink.
The Semi-sparkling Proseccos, on the other hand, are normally more delicate since they present less bubbles and, therefore, less intensity on the palate.
Some winemakers are reviving the customary Prosecco Col Fondo, refermented in the bottle but not disgorged, as the wines are left on their lees (the French would call it sur-lie). This yeasty residue leaves a fine sediment on the bottom (fondo in Italian) that imparts more complexity and flavor.
What is Prosecco: the styles
The Prosecco Spumante is produced in Brut, Extra Dry and Dry versions, depending on the residual sugar contained in the wine: Brut is the driest style with 0-12 g/l of residual sugar, Extra Dry is exactly in the middle with 12-17 g/l, while Dry is the sweetest version with 17-32 g/l of residual sugar.
At Hay Wines we just love Valdobbiadene Prosecco, its different styles and traditions… therefore we stock them all! 😉
The 2 artisan producers of Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG currently imported into the UK by Hay Wines are:
Credits: Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG Consortium.
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