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A Guide to the Different Types of Prosecco

A Guide to the Different Types of Prosecco

Prosecco is easily one of the most popular types of wine in the UK - and may just be even more popular than Champagne. You may enjoy a couple of glasses (or bottles) of prosecco over the weekend, at dinner, or when celebrating - but how much do you actually know about prosecco?

Read on for our guide to the different types of prosecco - including the different levels of fizz, and the low-alcohol, low-calorie, and low-carb variations.

 

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Prosecco - A Brief History

Fast becoming the nation’s favourite sparkling, alcoholic grape juice drink, the prosecco market is seemingly growing exponentially. Seemingly as popular as beer or cocktails, Italy’s most famous sparkling wine had, for many years, been overshadowed by its more famous, and sometimes prestigious, cousin Champagne.

This was dictated by market forces at the time limiting the amounts of quality proseccos that made their way to UK shelves, leaving often inferior products to tarnish the reputation of the whole industry. However, with improvements in bottling, transportation and storage, that is a thing of the past and greater and greater numbers of Brits are discovering the joys of prosecco, a lifelong passion.

The market is rowing fact - in fact, statistics now show that in the UK (in 2016) prosecco was sold in six times greater volume than its previously more popular sparkling grape counterpart, Champagne. In this study, prosecco had 41.1% of the market share, (by litres sold) that year with champagne retaining only 6.8%. So, with that said it can be, perhaps shocking that prosecco has just as extensive history, culture and idiosyncrasies as Champagne.

The very fact that prosecco can be subcategorised into three main varieties can be surprising to many, even to those with a particular taste for this alluring, fresh, pale straw-coloured delight with its fruity and floral aroma.

The first thing to note would be, again something that comes as a surprise to many is that prosecco wines have what is known as Controlled Designation of Origin status. This puts it in the same category as Blue Stilton cheese, West Country farmhouse Cheddar cheese and of course, Champagne which can only be made in? You guessed it, Champagne.

A Protected, Controlled Designation of Origin, (or PDO), is the European Union and United Kingdom’s geographical indication that is designed to guarantee that products carrying the name are developed, processed and produced using local ingredients, local - sometimes centuries-old – methods and most importantly in the local area. In short, it protects the integrity of the product, supports the local economy and limits cheap inferiors from hitting the market.

The grapes used also matter, the Glera grape, synonymous with prosecco, must constitute at least 85% of the resultant wine, with the remainder being composed of a blend of a select list of grapes including Glera Lunga, Pinot, Bianchetta and Chardonnay.

 

The Three Main Types

The three main types of Prosecco are, therefore, dictated by their localities of origin within the wider geographical umbrella of the controlled prosecco making lands, collection provinces and municipalities nestled in north-eastern Italy. A truly beautiful part of the world with rolling hills and breathtaking vineyards.

 

Prosecco DOC

Prosecco DOC or Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or Designation of Controlled Origin. The specific regions that yield this particular Type are the provinces of Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine in Friuli Venezia Giulia and Treviso, Venice, Vicenza, Padua, Belluno in Veneto.

This variety is characterised by the climate in which the Glera grapes used are grown. A milder climate with adequate rainfall ensures correct growth of the vines which yield fuller healthier grapes. The soil, too, plays a vital role, proving the necessary micronutrients and minerals.

This type can be further subcategorised by its production process into three subcategories. DOC Veneto, DOC Marca Trevigiana and DOC Colli Trevigiani. DOC Veneto is entirely made from the growing of the perfect grape, through the production process to bottling in Veneto. DOC Marca Trevigiana has is grapes harvested and wine produced and bottled in Treviso. Finally, DOC Colli Trevigiani is produced from the grape to bottle entirely in the foothills of Treviso.

 

Prosecco Superiore DOCG of Conegliano Valdobbiadene

Prosecco DOCG not only boasts the Controlled Designation of Origin status of all prosecco but also a guaranteed mark of quality for every bottle produced here. That is the origin of the G in the name, conceptualised in 2009. The conditions for this variety are very exacting and call for grapes grown between fifty and five hundred meters above sea level on the south-facing slopes of a strip of hills in fifteen municipalities between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

As with other proseccos, the blend of grapes must be 85% high-quality Glera grapes, with the remaining 15% being composed of a blend of a select list of grapes including Glera Lunga, Pinot, Bianchetta and Chardonnay. So limited is the production area that it spans just over one and third square kilometres.

 

Prosecco DOCG of Valdobbiadene Superiore of Cartizze

Perhaps the most prestigious of all the prosecco, prosecco DOCG of Valdobbiadene Superiore of Cartizze has the smallest of all the Designation of Controlled Origin areas at fractionally over one square kilometre. In the deep, luscious pastures of the Valdobbiadene district are nestled the areas of Santo Stefano, San Pietro di Barboza and Saccol and it is only from vines grown on the steepest hills of these areas that grapes for prosecco DOCG of Valdobbiadene Superiore of Cartizze can be selected.

The hills protect from cold winds and contribute to a mild climate with the gradient allowing for steady day-long sunlight which evenly and fully ripens the grape to a unique colour. The grapes are grown on porous sandstones and clays which permit efficient draining and a constant freshwater supply. prosecco Superiore has prestige and uniqueness born out of its rarity, limited production area and quality guarantee from its meticulous recipes.

 

History and Geography Aside

With the revision lessons over prosecco can more simply be divided into different types by the average enthusiast. For example, three main types of prosecco depending on their perlage (derived from the French for pearls is a measure of the bubbliness of sparkling wines) are Spumante or Sparkling which includes Brut, Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-Sec depending on the residual sugar content. Frizzante or semi-sparkling with a lighter, shorter-lasting perlage. And Tranquillo or still which is a still prosecco with no perlage. But there are more subcategories including...

 

Low Alcohol

Low alcohol and even non-alcoholic versions of prosecco do exist on the market today for the hangover-free experience. Previously seen as sparkling grape juice some examples out there today are almost imperceptible to their alcoholic cousins.

 

Low Calorie

There are several examples of lower-calorie options on the prosecco market for the health-conscious connoisseur. Here at ThinK, our entire range is low calorie with an average of just sixty-two calories per one hundred millilitre glass.

 

Low Carbohydrate

With the explosion of the Ketogenic diet in recent years and a focus on eliminating or reducing one’s intake of carbohydrates it only follows logic that a number of low carbohydrate proseccos have been created. Our range of ThinK proseccos and Pinot Grigio Sparkling Rosé are all created low in sugar and therefore low in carbohydrates too - so you can enjoy your favourite fizz guilt free!

 

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Head over to the 'Shop All' tab to shop our entire range. There are multi-selection sets, wine accessories, and prosecco tasting small bottle sets to make choosing that little bit easier.
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