Wine Talk

Snooth User: spikedc

Prosecco

Posted by spikedc, Dec 9, 2011.
Edited Dec 9, 2011

Read a snipet in Decanter magazine recently stating that the production of Italian Prosecco will grow five fold in the next two decades, doubling in the next two years according to producer Bisol. The US apparently can't get enough with sales of 2.3m bottles in 2010.

I must admit there is a big promotion here in th UK for Prosecco at the moment, what with cutbacks they seem to be pushing it as a cheaper alternative to dare i say it, Champagne. Having tasted a few i find them  really light, refreshing and fruity and i've enjoyed most of them, i'm even thinking of starting Christmas morning off with Prosecco.

 

 

 

 

Replies

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Reply by EMark, Dec 9, 2011.

Very interesting, Spike.  I don't have a lot of experience with Prosecco, but I've liked what I've tried.  In my last big foray to the wine store I did pick up some Prosecco (and some Cava), but I haven't tried them, yet.

I think you are spot on in your observation that the big promotions you are seeing in the UK is an attempt to offer consumers a less expensive alternative.  It makes total sense.  I can't say that I've seen such a marketing campaign here in the U.S.  However, maybe I have been asleep since your source indicates that the U.S. can't get enough of it.

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Reply by Steve Peter, Dec 9, 2011.

Our local shop had a Prosecco at last week's tasting (although I'm ashamed to say I can't tell you which producer, etc.) It was amazingly crisp and acidic, very much like a sparkling vinho verde. However, I too have seen no evidence of a marketing campaign for it here in the US.

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Reply by spikedc, Dec 9, 2011.

A few of the recent wine tastings i've been at have offered Prosecco as the welcome drink and to be honest they were all very drinkable.

I particularly liked 'Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene' from Ordezo in the Veneto region.(£10 around $16)

I think it's the perfect inexpensive light celebratory drink.

As to the sales in the US, i'm only going by what the article claims.

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Dec 9, 2011.

First of all there a difference between "Prosecco" a DOC wine, and "Prosecco di Conegliano - Valdobbiadene" a DOCG wine. Conegliano - Valdobbiadene (DOCG) is a little part of the producing area of Prosecco (DOC one). Prosecco di Conegliano - Valdobbiadene is a superior wine but that doesn't mean is better than Prosecco. Both are Charmat method not Champenoise (really different!!!).

Prosecco and Prosecco di Conegliano - Valdobbiadene right now is the best seller sparkling wine in italy. If u have taste it (a good one) u can understad why. Fruity, light, fresh very easy to drink. Just few months ago there was a big change in the DOC rules, the producing area now includes much of the Friuli Venezia Giulia (before this change was only produced in some areas of Veneto).

This expansion is done to protect the name of "Prosecco", european rules for traditional products (DOC, DOCG or DOP) need names somehow linked to a geographical area (Barolo for example is a little city in Piedmont). Prosecco is a little city in the east of Friuli Venezia Giulia where this wine is never been done before but only to protect the name of "Prosecco" the producing area has been extended to include this little city. Obviously a political decision but with that change the producing area right now is three or four times larger than before and lot of Friuli Venezia Giulia producers can now produce "Prosecco DOC".

Easy to sell and larger producing area, that's why the production will grow so hugely.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 9, 2011.

giaccobbepavese, thanks for that.  Now we need to find a shorter name for you so we can address you more easily in our posts. 

It would be hard to imagine how the production could increase so dramatically without that change in the boundaries. Excellent description of the process and the areas affected.

It also makes a good point about how the European rules differ from California and the rest of the US.  I think it makes the case that the geographical name system is not as helpful as some claim it to be, and limits the ability of the winemakers to make changes to make better wine, while failing to protect the integrity of the traditions.  Barolo is a small town indeed and the wines produced from Nebbiolo can vary a lot based on where they are grown in a region that is much more than that town.  But at least Barolos are one-variety grapes.  Get into Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf and the variability of the appellation is much worse.  To its credit, Italy does allow some varietal labeling.

Prosecco, by increasing its size so much, faces a similar problem as other geographically named regions.  It's already semi-synonymous with "Italian Sparkling Wine," and now it will be more so.

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Dec 9, 2011.

European and italian rules are are a huge problem and maybe with no solution.

On one side u need to preserving the tradition of a product and on the other side u need to protect wine, cheese, ham ... against counterfeiting that infect europe and the rest of the world.

Traditional products usually have not problems about names, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino for example have no problem about name but sometimes traditional names can be challenged (like Prosecco) and u need to solve it before someone else register same name as a trademark, and than u are done. Sometimes solution is not so painfull like Prosecco production area expansion (the Friuli Venezia Giulia area is a high quality wine region) sometimes u can't find a solution. For example just few years ago a wine of Friuli Venezia Giulia called "Tocai Friulano" (white dry wine) must change it's name because hungarian "Tockaij" (white gold, sweet wine) a completely different wine have his name linked to the city Tockaij. Now "Tocai Friulano" is called just "Friulano" because "TockaiJ", not same letters but same pronunciation, is an exclusive name for hungarian wine. And the funny things is that somewhere there's historical documents from 1600 who explain how Tocai grapes arrived in Hungary as a marriage gift from an italian princess. That's mean Tocai grapes was italian originally (1600!!) and then they arrived in Hungary but they have a city called Tockaij (now) and we haven't, so they get the name. Pretty sick for us, it was our most traditional wine, luckly we have just lost name, wine is still great!

Another problem in europe is, how we can classify no traditional wines? Barolo or Chianti and every DOC / DOCG wine (AOC in france) have strictly rules about how u can produce it, and of course if u don't respect that rules u can't call your wine as Barolo, Chianti etc...

Wines produced outside DOCG / DOC rules must have different names but still need a good classification. In Italy there's the IGT (Traditional georaphic Indication) and France have "Vins de pais" this class allow a great freedom to producers but have just few quality controls and it's not enough to classify all variety of no tradional wines. For example Super tuscans are mostly IGT, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto 450$ for a bottle is a IGT!!! Easy to understand how that is not enough.

 

Maybe most of you already know that but i try to summarize italian classification:

1) DOCG. Traditional wines product in little areas with strict rules about everything of producing progress from vineyards to bottling and labeling. Name of that products must be linked to a geographical area. DOCG name can be used just for only one wine. 73 DOCG in italy

 

2) DOC. Same as DOCG but rules are not strict as DOCG and u can use same DOC name for many wine types (for example u can produce different wines from single grapes, on label u must put DOC name and grape name). 338 DOC in Italy

 

3) IGT Wines produced in a large area with a lot different grapes (single or blended). 85% of grapes must grow in the IGT area. IGT can't use names already used for DOCG and DOC. I can't find how much IGT are.

 

4) Table wine, no area indication, every grapes single or blended

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 9, 2011.

Thanks for that, giaccobbe... I think you have it exactly right.  You can make bad wine under the rules and call it DOCG, or make great wine not under the rules and throw it in the lot with just about any IGT or Vino de Tavola and then who knows if it's great like Sassicaia or awful?There are good and bad points to the system.  I grew up with the California and US AVA system and think it's more useful, but I admit that my familiarity with that system makes me biased.

Of course, the main grapes in Hungarian Tokaji aren't what you call Tokay, but Furmint and to a lesser extent Hareslevulu that have been infected with botyritis cinerea.  In October, GDP treated those of us lucky enough to be in NY for a tasting at Snooth to some amazing Tokaji-- to roughly paraphrase GregT a freakshow of a wine that blew my mind.  Grape names are getting sorted out as the commercial concerns of a united European market (for a while longer, anyway) and DNA typing are both changing what we know and how we refer to grapes at a rapid pace--not so long ago, carmenere/grand vidure was thought to be lost for good, and a couple things were going by names other than pinot noir that were in fact PN.  That's a big factor in what makes wine interesting--it makes fools of the most devoted scholars and enthusiasts all the time.

By the way, with all the great Italian wine, most of us won't notice the change, but I have been drinking whites from Friulano for a while and the name change won't stop me.  Not likely to replace Loire whites as my favorite dry white wines, but I did text JonDerry the other day as I was drinking an Italian white. 

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Dec 10, 2011.
Edited Dec 10, 2011

Exactly. That's the point, how can understand if an IGT is great like Masseto (Sassicaia now is DOC wine) or awful? And what about pricing? Some IGT wines are really overpriced.

"Vino da tavola" isn't a big problem, no big wines with this classification, u can find some good fresh, young, wines but nothing more.

 

About "Tocai" or "Tockaij" the problem wasn't about grape name but geographical names, better, grape VS city name. I know hungarian wine use Furmint and Harslevelu. The question is why they can have exclusive "Tocai" name? We use it for our wine surely since 1600 (and no vineyards in Hungary at 1600). The rules talk about geographical names, and not about traditional grapes. Hungary have a city with that name and Friuli Venezia Giulia haven't, traditional grapes name doesn't matter.  

Another political decision but it's a little sick (for us), maybe smarter decision was to do nothing, i don't think this 2 wines can be confused easily by the name, our is young, fresh, straw yellow and dry, hungarian is golden to amber yellow, long aged, and sweet (a lot sweet) and of course one is italian the other hungarian.

The good thing, and this is the real soul of this country, is winemakers after loosing tocai name have worked hard to grow up quality of wine. Before tocai was the easy to drink, often low quality wine, now (i can tell u if interested some names) production quality grow up every vintage. Some Friulano now are amazing. Sometimes story give us problems to help us grow.

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Reply by spikedc, Dec 10, 2011.

Thanks giacobbepavese,

Great explanation of Italian Classifications, very informative.

Definately going to start Christmas morning off with 'Prosecco di Conegliano - Valdobbiadene' only because i've tasted it and really enjoyed it.

Now what to drink for the rest of Xmas?

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Dec 10, 2011.

Ah ah! great problem! I will decide what cooking before, than find right wine is easier.

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Dec 11, 2011.

Big News for Prosecco (both DOCG and DOC)!

The U.S. government passed a law that protects the Prosecco against false and counterfeit. Big Deal for producers! Champagne still doesn't have...
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Reply by rolifingers, Dec 12, 2011.

You are correct spikedc, I think people like the Prosecco bubbly without the Champagne price.

Prosecco makes for a great aperitivo and it's also great for toasting.Salute! Cing,Cing!

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Reply by MarcOps, Dec 12, 2011.

Years ago, before I knew anything about wine, a friend of mine gave me the impression that Prosecco had an elevated status among sparkling wines. I think people tend to see it as more exotic than champagne, not as expensive in some cases, and is generally a pretty good call for any event. The other day I saw a selection of about 10 bottles at a local wine shop, which was nice to see. Love to see more of it coming in! 


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