Wine Myths: All prosecco is created equal

Katie Mather debunks common wine myths


There’s a rumour going around that Prosecco isn’t all that great. Perhaps it’s because so many winemakers have leapt on the enhanced boundaries of the Prosecco DOC to plant vines on the lower, flatter lands of the region, and to make as much wine as possible from the resulting grapes. For sure, there are plenty of low-cost Proseccos out there, matching insatiable global demand for the easygoing fizz, but that’s not all there is to Prosecco. There are gems out there, if you want to find them—and they’re still really good value too. There have been some big exceptions to the quality rule, in a bid to keep prices low and quantity high. If your Prosecco comes from a bar tap, you might be looking at forced carbonation, where a keg of wine is essentially fed Co2 through the gas hookup—like soda water. This never makes wine taste better.

For the most part, Prosecco is made using the tank or charmat method. Grapes are pressed and then their juice is fermented in steel tanks, where yeast and sugar is added and the solution is placed under cover so the carbon dioxide has nowhere to go except to dissolve into the fermenting wine. Then the wine is bottled and another dosage is added—sugar or unfermented juice—so the wine makes that satisfying pop when you open it.

Looked down upon by many wine snobs, this method is a super efficient way of producing sparkling wine, which is why Prosecco usually undergoes this process, and doesn’t necessarily mean your wine is going to be lower quality. Your best bet is to look for the region and DOCG rather than the method. Conegliano in the heart of the Prosecco region produces some truly excellent Prosecco, and Conegliano Valdobbiadene is something to look out for on your labels—especially Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze DOCG. Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOGC is also well worth seeking out. 

If you really do want a more traditional method behind your sparkling wine, look for Prosecco made by méthode traditionelle, also known as the Champagne Method. While this is not often used in the region, more natural and organic winemakers are using this technique to create Prosecco with more yeasty, brioche, characterful notes.

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