Prosecco is an easy-drinking, fragrant, light and floral Italian sparkling wine. These are the adjectives that best describe it. Thanks to its authentic nature, Prosecco has been able to reinvent itself from a regional table wine to a status symbol for toasting and celebrations, in Italy and beyond.
Prosecco is meant to be enjoyed young and fresh and it’s versatile enough to drink as an aperitif, as part of a celebration, paired with a meal, or used as a cocktail ingredient.
Made exclusively in the Veneto and Friuli regions of northern Italy, Prosecco's main ingredient is a fruity white grape called Glera but it can also include up to 15% of Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir grapes used in Champagne.
The dominant flavors in this wine include apple, honeysuckle, peach, melon and pear, which create an exciting flavor profile for those who enjoy rich, fruity hints!
Just as any white wine, Prosecco is made by crushing grapes, fermenting them into alcohol, and maturing the resulting liquid. However, to give it its famous carbonation, producers need to add a few steps.
This involves mixing wine with yeast and sugar to trigger a second fermentation, then being kept for up to 6 months in a sealed environment and finally, filtering out impurities. The process can be done directly in the bottle (Classic Method) or in large pressurized tanks (Charmat Method). During this period of time the CO2 produced by fermentation creates fizziness in the wine.
Based on fizziness there are two main types of Prosecco, “frizzante” (semi-sparkling) or “spumante” (fully sparkling). Frizzante has less carbon dioxide and is made by interrupting the fermentation process early on to prevent the wine from becoming fully sparkling.
According to residual sugar or sweetness there are six types of Prosecco: Brut Nature (the least sweet), Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-Sec (the sweetest).
Prosecco is also classified by quality based on the area or region where it is produced. It can be designated as a DOC (Denomination of controlled origin) or DOCG (Denomination of controlled origin) wine, and the designation must be displayed on the label.
Prosecco is so often drunk on its own that you may not have given much thought to the kind of food you can pair with it other than ‘party food’, but Prosecco is one of the easiest wines to pair with food because it has all the elements to enhance a variety of foods.
Any type of seafood makes an excellent match with Prosecco, from oysters to sushi and sashimi, cod, sea bass and any pasta with a shellfish or fish based sauce. Prosecco balances and enhances the flavor of fish and seafood with its dry, delicate taste.
Prosecco can also be a great match with poultry dishes because the wine’s acidity cuts through the unctuousness on your palate.
Any mild cheese goes well with Prosecco and it's also a great match for cured meats, desserts, and fruits, but don’t forget to try it with pasta stuffed with mushrooms or truffle risotto!
To fully appreciate its flavor, Prosecco should be served chilled at 43-47 degrees Fahrenheit.