Prosecco is the perfect aperitif before a dinner party, or a beautiful team up with fresh orange juice for a brunch mimosa, but some view it as the cheap twice-removed cousin of Champagne. Yes, Prosecco is cheaper in value, but there is no need to skimp out on quality with this bubbly. Let’s dive into the how’s and the reasons why you can use Prosecco as an alternative to Champagne.
Both delicious, full of lively bubbles and used in celebrations. We do not discriminate at TFW, we love Prosecco and Champagne equally (Photo credit: Winecellars)
Firstly, here the main differences between Champagne and Prosecco.
|Region||Champagne, France||Veneto, Italy|
|Grape Varietal||Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier||Glera|
|Production Method||Méthode Traditionnelle||Charmant/ Tank Method|
|Entry Level Price||USD$40||USD$13|
|Flavour and Aroma||Yeasty, nuttty, stone fruit, citrus and fine mousse||Tree fruits (pear, green apple), floral, melon and fine bubbles|
|Ageing Requirements||Minimum 15 months on yeast lees||No minimum ageing period|
|Sweetness||BRUT 0-12g/L||Extra Dry 17-32g/L|
If you want to delve into sparkling wines with more detail, please refer to our other blog articles:
- Winemaking Basics: Sparkling Wine Production Methods
- Different Levels Of Sweetness In Champagne
- Basic Guide To Champagne Styles
A glass of bubbles just sets the tone for the occasion, why not drink Prosecco? (Photo Credit: Target)
Prosecco as an aperitif or a toasting wine
Prosecco makes a great aperitif or toasting wine. If you have a large party, it will save you money, they retail at less than half of the price of a bottle of Champagne. It has more of an approachable palate as well. The flavours are more fruit driven. Steered by fresh pears and granny smith apples with a touch of spring flowers. Prosecco is generally slightly sweeter and not as dry as Champagne, this is due to slightly higher residual sugar levels and the fruit profile exemplifies the hint of sweetness. So, it goes down very easy. Basically, Prosecco is a crowd pleaser.
However, if you prefer the dryness of Champagne, I would advise that you try a Brut Prosecco. It contains less than 12g/L of sugar, which is the same as Champagne so the palate would be comparable in terms of sweetness.
Prosecco and Food
Champagne is paired with oysters and burgers. The yeasty minerality complements the fresh sweetness of the ocean, while the dry palate cuts through the grease of meaty dishes.
The beauty of Prosecco is that it can also be paired many courses throughout a meal.
The versatility of Prosecco comes from the fruit forward characters, the acid structure and tiny bubbles on the palate. Prosecco can be paired with an entrée charcuterie platter, think olives, fontina cheese, salami and melon wrapped in Prosciutto. Or you could pair the Italian bubbly with your Christmas feast, the slight sweetness will be able to stand up to a golden roasted turkey with a herbed stuffing and don’t forget about the rich gravy on the side.
Sweeter styles of Prosecco can be paired with the traditional Italian dessert like Panettone, or with light and fluffy desserts like sponge cakes, soufflés and mascarpone based mousses. Remember to use Extra Dry or Dry Prosecco for these pairings.
A rare unfined and unfiltered Prosecco Con Fondo (Photo Credit: Gustodivino)
Now, for you lovers of a toasty and nutty Champagne, let me introduce you to an old-school style termed Prosecco Col Fondo, which translates to “with sediment”. Historically, it is the most traditional version of Prosecco. A natural way of making sparkling wine with second fermentation in bottle. But, unlike Champagne, the yeast plug is not disgorged. The result is a cloudy sparkling wine that is lightly carbonated (frizzante), displaying funky savoury aromas as well as bread crust and the natural fruit profile of the grape. The yeast sediment will also give the palate more texture and complexity. These wines are very hard to find, but there are a number of small prosecco producers that are reverting back to this old style of winemaking.
Both sparkling wines are made in completely different ways, but can be used in similar situations. It shouldn’t be a question of “Is Prosecco better than Champagne?” or vice versa, but more about open mindedness of different styles of wine and how we drink it. At the end of the day Prosecco is great in its own right, there is no reason why it cannot be used in place of Champagne.