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A time-honoured sparkling wine for the festive season and beyond
As the holidays arrive, talk about bubbles turns more exciting. And rightly so, especially because sparkling wine is synonymous with holiday cheer.
The approachable, often lightly floral Prosecco continues its global consumption boom, moving its popularity needle with each sip, not just for its drinkability, but its affordable price point, too, surpassing champagne bottle sales.
However, whether for gifting, celebrating or enjoying casually, an important distinction to recognize—before you reach for just any label—is not all Proseccos are created equal.
Selecting the right bubbly will ensure your yuletide is as special as any experience it accompanies, particularly when you make an informed decision and opt for quality, value and outstanding reliability.
Many assume Prosecco is a generic name for Italian sparkling wine, when in fact, authentic Prosecco wine is only produced in three areas in north-eastern Italy.
The most historic is a stretch of steep lush hills where the highly acclaimed Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG was born, between the towns of Conegliano to the east and Valdobbiadene to the west, in Italy’s Veneto region. Prosecco owes its origin to Conegliano, home to Italy’s first wine school, the School of Oenology, which opened in 1876.
As its name denotes, the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is an exceptional sparkling wine. The DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) is the most prestigious designation and the highest level in Italian wine, which certifies its quality and place of origin. It’s the definitive stamp of approval.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is about the land, where the quality is specific in this fertile viticultural area, imparting distinctive characteristics into the Glera grape. The Conegliano Valdobbiadene vine-covered hills are distinctly terraced using the ciglione system—terracing comprising grass-covered soil, instead of stones—that helps anchor the slopes and reduce soil erosion. Beautifully unique with its narrow ridges and sheer-sloped plots, this age-old cultivation and landscape earned UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site in 2019, a treasured milestone for the people of Veneto, who have been producing handcrafted wine here for more than 200 years.
The hills of Prosecco Superiore is home to thousands of small winemakers who have shaped the steep slopes and perfected their agricultural techniques, allowing the creation of a richly varied agricultural landscape, both in form and composition. For more than two centuries, these families continue their efforts to carefully produce handcrafted effervescent wines and pass on these winemaking traditions to future generations.
The pale-coloured white grape, originally called Prosecco, was renamed Glera in 2010, a single grape variety. Prosecco Superiore winemakers are required to use at least 85 percent Glera grapes, leaving 15 percent of other approved grape varieties to round out its profile. The wine’s foremost characteristics are its aromatics and subtle fruitiness. Although Prosecco Superiore has a significant storied history, the concentrated flavour and balance gives a nod to its contemporary appeal.
Prosecco Superiore’s versatility shows through in its styles: fully sparkling (spumante), lightly sparkling (frizzante) and still (Tranquillo). Typically, Prosecco is light to medium-bodied with alcohol levels ranging from 12.5 percent for fully dry wines to 8.5 percent. Labelled extra brut (the driest, with residual sugar from 0 to 6 g/l), brut, extra dry, and dry (the sweetest, with residual sugar from 17 to 32 g/l).
Paying homage to the origins of Prosecco Superiore, in 2019 a new style was introduced, Sui Lieviti (long time on the lees/yeasts): sparkling wines that undergo a second fermentation in the bottle. This style honours a traditional type of product for the zone and the historical making of sparkling wines in the area.
This season, raise a glass of Prosecco Superiore DOCG—responsibly—and celebrate!
CREATED BY VANCOUVER MAGAZINE, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CONSORZIO TUTELA DEL VINO CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIABENE PROSECCO