Italy’s Prosecco comes from the Veneto region of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadine DOC. In 2009 the DOC zone was changed to DOCG status.
The popularity of this affordable sparkling wine in the last few decades caused an over-growth and over-production of wine in a wide variety of styles and prices. This legislation was enforced to protect the yields, production and quality, as well as to protect the Prosecco name.
“Glera” is the white grape varietal that has been mostly referred to as “Prosecco”. This white grape called Glera has been growing in the Veneto region in the hills north of Treviso near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.
With this new legislation the wines produced beginning with the 2009 vintage and going forward will be labeled as DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prossecco Superiore.
Those producing Prosecco outside of the registered DOC and DOCG zones must use the grape name “Glera” on their labels instead of Prosecco.
Style and Taste
Traditionally Prosecco was a very light and fizzy wine with just a touch of sweetness. Today its styles are well-made, refreshing sparkling wines that are mostly dry and have a fruity and lemony flavor. It is a very light sparkler, that is affordable and fun to drink.
In Italy Prosecco is always ready to be poured when guests arrive. It is served as a welcome drink, an apĂŠritif, and also with meals.
Prosecco has no similarity to Champagne. Champagne is yeasty and a serious bubbly while Prosecco is fresh, fruity and fun. Some Champagnes are meant to age while Prosecco should be consumed very young.
The Bellini was invented sometime in the 1930’s at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy in summertime when white peaches were in abundance. One man was hired each summer just to cut and pit the small and fragile Italian white peaches and then by hand he would squeeze them to extract the juice.
Harry would then pour the peach juice into a glass and then add ice cold Prosecco. Today Bellinis are made with any sparkling wine available and bottled peach juice.
Spumante vs. Frizzante
In Italy the sparkling wines are made in two styles – Spumante and Frizzante. Spumante wines are full sparkling wine that are crisp and dry. Frizzante wines are lightly sparkling wines.
In the past wines there was the sparkling wine labeled as Asti Spumanti which was a light and sweet sparkling wine. Today these wines are more often labeled “Asti” without the word Spumanti on the label. The “Asti” wines are made in a semi-sweet to sweet style.
Another fizzy wine is the Italian dessert wine called Moscato d’Asti. It also has a light fizziness, it’s lower in alcohol and it is sweeter than “Asti”. This is the wine to serve with sweet desserts.