Most people don’t know much about sparkling wines apart from some high profile Champagnes. Those who do know a little, relegate Prosecco to being nothing more than the Champagne’s poorer Italian cousin. But there’s much more to it than that and it might serve one well to know the difference between the two.
In Italy, Prosecco is enjoyed as a wine for every occasion. Outside Italy, it is most often drunk as an aperitif, much as Champagne is. As with other sparkling wines, Prosecco is served chilled.
Unlike Champagne, however, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle and grows stale with time. It should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within three years of its vintage, although high-quality Prosecco may be aged for up to seven years.
Compared to other sparkling wines, Prosecco is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 per cent by volume. The flavour of Prosecco has been described as intensely aromatic and crisp, bringing to mind yellow apple, pear, white peach, and apricot. Unlike Champagne, appreciated for its rich taste and complex secondary aromas, most Prosecco variants have intense primary aromas and are meant to taste fresh, light and comparatively simple. It was the original main ingredient in the Bellini and Spritz cocktails. It can also replace Champagne in other cocktails such as the Mimosa.