Know your bubbles

Know your bubbles

Prosecco and champagne are popular sparkling wines with more differences than similarities. While both styles of sparkling wine may make rosé sparkling wines, Prosecco rosé is a category that was only approved in May 2020.

Both prosecco and champagne are produced from still wine undergoing a second fermentation to create the CO2 that makes it sparkle. In addition, the two production methods result in wines with very different flavour profiles.

Prosecco

Prosecco hails from Veneto in Northern Italy and is made from the Glera grape variety.

For fermentation, the ‘tank method’ is most commonly used in prosecco production. During the process, the second fermentation takes place in a large tank with yeast and sugars added to the base wine. While the wine is second fermenting, the tank is sealed to prevent CO2 from escaping and making the wine fizzy before it is bottled and sealed.

Because there is less contact during the second fermentation, the yeast has less impact on the prosecco made in the tank method. As a result, prosecco’s flavour is more about the Glera grape’s fruit profile, including pear, apple, honeysuckle, and floral notes.

Champagne

Champagne comes from the Champagne region in France and can be made from a blend or single varietal of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.

The method Champenoise is the traditional method where the second fermentation takes place within the bottle after yeast and sugars are added. When fermentation is complete, the bottles are left tipped, neck down, in racks, and the dead yeast cells collect in the neck. When it is ready, the bottleneck is frozen, and the dead yeast cells are released through a process known as ‘disgorgement.’

The wine is then resealed and left to age. Non-vintage wines must be aged for at least 18 months, while vintage wines must be aged for at least three years.

Because of the closer contact with the yeast in the champagne method, it has more autolytic flavours like bread, brioche, toast, and citrus fruit flavours.

Champagne vs prosecco

There is no clear winner in the legendary champagne versus prosecco debate. Both types of sparkling wines have distinct flavours, carbonation, aromas, and tastes.

The sweetness of the sparkle

Most sparkling wines, including champagne, cava, prosecco, and sparkling wine, can be graded using the International Sparkling Wine Scale. However, not all sparkling wines are made in every

classification, and this is primarily determined by whether the category has rules, the winemaker, or the grape’s suitability.

Brut Nature is also known as Brut Zero, Ultra Brut, Pas Dosé, or Dosage Zéro. This sparkling wine has a residual sugar content of 0 – 3 g/l and is bone dry to the taste. It is the least sweet of the prosecco and sparkling wines.

Extra Brut has a residual sugar content of 0 – 6 g/l and is very dry to the taste.

Brut, with 0 – 12 g residual sugar, is dry to the taste.

Extra Dry, also known as Extra Sec or Extra Seco, has 12 – 17 g/l residual sugar and is medium dry, or dry with a hint of sweetness to the taste.

Dry, also known as Sec, Secco has a residual sugar content of 17 – 32 g/l and is medium-sweet.

Demi-Sec or Semi-Secco has a residual sugar content of 32 – 50 g/l. This is the sweetest prosecco, but it is not widely available.

Dolce, also known as Doux, has a high residual sugar content of 50+ g/l. Although prosecco is not available in this sweetness, it is the sweetest of the sparkling wines.

The Book Club – Shoreditch has an extensive range of sparkling wines, including prosecco and various brut champagne.

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