Prosecco

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Prosecco

Proseccois an Italian white wine. Prosecco DOC can be spumante (“sparkling wine”), frizzante (“semi-sparkling wine”), or tranquillo (“still wine”), depending on the perlage.

It is made from Glera grapes, formerly known also as Prosecco, but other grape varieties may be included. The following varieties are traditionally used with Glera up to a maximum of 15% of the total: Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Nero.

The name is derived from that of the Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste, where the grape and wine originated from.

History

In Trieste at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the local wine “Ribolla” was promoted as the recreation of the Pucinian wine of antiquity, celebrated by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History and praised for its medicinal qualities by Livia, the wife of Emperor Augustus. The need to distinguish the “Ribolla” of Trieste from other wines of the same name, produced in Gorizia and at lower cost in Istria, led, at the end of the century, to a change in name. Following the supposed place of production in antiquity, the wine was referred to as “castellum nobile vinum Pucinum”, after the castle near the village of Prosecco.

The first known mention of the name “Prosecco” is attributed to the Englishman Fynes Moryson, who, visiting the north of Italy in 1593, notes: “Histria is devided into Forum Julii, and Histria properly so called... Here growes the wine Pucinum, now called Prosecho, much celebrated by Pliny”. He places Prosecco among the famous wines of Italy: “These are the most famous Wines of Italy. La lagrima di Christo and like wines neere Cinqueterre in Liguria: La vernazza, and the white Muskadine, especially that of Montefiaschoni in Tuscany: Cecubum and Falernum in the Kingdom of Naples, and Prosecho in Histria”.

Up until the 1960s, Prosecco sparkling wine was generally rather sweet and barely distinguishable from the Asti wine produced in Piedmont. Since then, production techniques have improved, leading to the high-quality dry wines produced today. According to a 2008 report, Prosecco has risen sharply in popularity in markets outside Italy, with global sales growing by double-digit percentages since 1998, aided also by its comparatively low price.

In Italy, Prosecco is a ubiquitously utilized wine. Outside Italy, it is most often drunk as an apéritif, much as Champagne is. As with other sparkling wines, Prosecco is served chilled.

Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle, and it grows stale with time. It should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within three years of its vintage, although high-quality Prosecco may be aged for up to seven years.

Most commonly Prosecco is served unmixed, but it also appears in several mixed drinks. It was the original main ingredient in the Bellini cocktail and in the Spritz cocktail, and it can also replace Champagne in other cocktails such as the Mimosa. With vodka and lemon sorbet, Prosecco is also an ingredient of the Italian mixed drink Sgroppino.