Prosecco Vs Champagne
In 2013, for the first time, Prosecco overtook Champagne in terms of total sales – 307 million to a paltry 304 million bottles. But what are the similarities and differences between the two?
If you want a bit more depth…
Let’s start with the similarities. Both are sparkling wines with legal controls over their names, meaning you can only get a true Prosecco from the Prosecco region in North-East Italy, and a true Champagne from the Champagne region of France. That’s not to say any other regions or countries can’t use the same grapes and methods to make a similar product, they just can’t then call that wine Champagne or Prosecco. Italy only implemented this in 2009, whereas France has had controls in place since 1891. Both nations are fiercely proud and protective of their product.
And there the similarities end. Champagne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grape varieties, whilst Prosecco is made from at least 85% Glera, often with added Verdiso, Perera, Bianchetta, Pinot, Chardonnay or Glera Lunga. The second fermentation which creates the fizz takes place in the bottle for Champagne –Non-Vintage must ferment for at least 15 months, while vintages require at least 3 years - and in large steel tanks for Prosecco (3 months max). There is therefore a heavy distinction between the patience and ageing involved in the creation of Champagne, and the immediacy of Prosecco, which is made to be drunk young. From this comes the difference in style – Champagne is rich, yeasty and biscuity, while Prosecco is generally sweeter, lighter and more fruity, with touches of the floral and mineral. Champagne puts great emphasis on complexity and secondary aromas, whilst Prosecco revels in fresh simplicity and intense primary aromas. And of course, perhaps a big factor in its burgeoning popularity, Prosecco is cheaper.
The best way to discover these differences, of course, is to taste them side by side. What more excuse do you need?