Prosecco is made in different sweetnesses to suit our own tastes and gives Prosecco the ability to pair with a wide range of different food types.
The main Prosecco sweetness are as below, with figures given in grams per litre of residual sugar:
EXTRA BRUT - 0-6 g/l - very dry
BRUT - 0-12 g/l - dry
EXTRA DRY - 12-17 g/l - medium dry
DRY - 17-32 g/l - medium sweet
'Extra Dry' is confusingly sweeter than Brut, as is 'Dry' which is a medium sweet style.
Frizzante or Spumante?
Prosecco is available in different levels of fizz.
Spumante is the Italian word for fully sparkling and not 'cheap wine' as some of us may remember from years gone by. It has about 4.5-5 bars of pressure.
Frizzante means lightly sparkling and has about 2.5 bars of pressure.
Frizzante is generally cheaper than spumante. The import duty in the UK is cheaper for Frizzante than Spumante, as it is classed as a still wine.
There is a third style of Prosecco; Tranquillo. This is a still Prosecco with no bubbles.
What does Millesimato mean?
Sometimes the word 'Millesimato' is found on Prosecco bottle labels.
Millesimato refers to grapes used which are from a single harvest to produce the Prosecco. Wineries also tend to use grapes from their best vineyard(s) to make Millesimato Prosecco.
Can you buy Rosé Prosecco?
Rosé Prosecco does not exist.
To be called 'Prosecco' the wine must be made from a white grape. Of course, to produce a rosé wine, a red grape must be used to give the pink colour.
The Consortiums that govern Prosecco production in Italy, do not currently allow the use of a red grape.
You may see 'Rosé Prosecco' advertised, though it is illegal to say so on the bottle label.
A wine may be a blend made from the main Prosecco grape used; Glera, together with a red grape. However, this blend cannot be labelled as Prosecco.
Our Furlan winery produces a wonderful blended pink sparkling wine, using the Glera grape, Manzoni Bianco (a beautiful white grape from the Prosecco region) and Cabernet Sauvignon (a red grape to give it the lovely pink colour). If you would like to find out more about this beautiful wine, click here.
What is DOCG and DOC?
DOC stands for 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata' which translates to 'Controlled Designation of Origin'.
DOCG stands for 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita' which means 'Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin'.
Both require that the wine is produced within specified regions, using defined methods and satisfies a defined quality standard.
The extra 'G' in DOCG represents 'Guaranteed' quality. DOCG Prosecco is typically of a higher quality standard than DOC Prosecco.
Only Prosecco from the DOCG region can be called 'Prosecco Superiore' and have the right to use it on the wine labels.
How is Prosecco made?
Take a look at the diagram opposite. It explains the Charmat production method really well.
The 2nd fermentation process lasts about 30-40 days. This is when bubbles are formed.
The Charmat method is different to the Traditional method which is used for making Champagne, where the 2nd fermentation happens in the bottle rather than a tank.
Does Prosecco age?
Prosecco deteriorates with age. Typically, Prosecco lasts about 3 years from the vintage (harvest) date. After 3 years, the Prosecco starts to lose it's aroma and freshness.
The Glera grape, which is used to make Prosecco has a simple structure which does not lend itself to ageing.