There's always a good chance in life to uncork a bottle of bubbles, but what's the difference between Prosecco and Sparkling? What about Champagne? How does it differ in addition to having high costs and maximum prestige? Let us now see one by one, these sublime products, to understand their characteristics and above all to what occasion it is better to associate them.
THE SPARKLING WINE: FEATURES AND PRODUCTION METHODS
Let's start with sparkling wine for a very good reason: this term encloses a category rather than a specific type of wine. Sparkling is understood, in fact, all the wines that at the opening produce the so-called "foam" in the face of the presence of carbon dioxide formed naturally during fermentation. This means that in order to use the term "sparkling wine" we do not have to be in front of a wine necessarily produced in a restricted area of the territory or by predetermined vines.
There are basically two ways of producing sparkling wine, and they refer to substantial differences in the second fermentation phase of the wine:
CLASSIC CHAMPENOISE METHOD. The name comes from the tradition of the French region of Champagne and is characterized by bottled refermentation, which guarantees the traditional pressure given by carbon dioxide. The latter is trapped directly in the wine and held thanks to the airtight closure that is carried out with traditional cork, together with the safety metal cage. The longer the time of this second phase, the higher the quality of the wine obtained.
MARTINOTTI-CHARMAT METHOD. This name refers to the way of production that involves the refermentation of wine inside a stainless steel tank, not in a bottle. The first fermentation, which took place thanks to the action of the sugars of grapes that physiologically give life to alcohol and carbon dioxide, does not require further assimilation of this component to ensure the formation of the foam, for this, in fact, the second fermentation can take place freely in dedicated containers.
As we will also see for Prosecco, when you decide to buy a sparkling wine you have to choose between different types, namely: dry, extra dry, brut and extra brut. This terminology refers to the degree of sweetness of the wine itself and the choice is made on the basis of the occasion of consumption, in addition to personal tastes of course.
THE PROSECCO: FEATURES AND PRODUCTION METHODS
We continue with Prosecco, going into the merits of more finely determined types of wines. Technically, in fact, when we talk about Prosecco we refer to a white DOC wine - Designation of Origin Controlled or DOCG - Designation of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed in the case of Prosecco di Montello, Colli Asolani or Prosecco of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene.
What makes Prosecco valuable and characteristic is the provenance: this wine can typically be produced only in some territories of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and in particular by the vines Glera, Verdiso, Pinot blanc, gray or black.
Prosecco is produced only using the Charmat method, through alcoholic fermentation. From this treatment comes to life a typically fresh, light wine with refined, aromatic and fruity scents. Production costs are naturally lower and there is no need for aging, that is, wine should be consumed young.
As we have anticipated, both sparkling wine and Prosecco are catalogued as dry or brut with different intermediate gradations.
THE CHAMPAGNE: FEATURES AND PRODUCTION METHODS
Champagne, a category in which Dom Pérignon stands out, is also of European origin and, like Prosecco, tends to taste dry.
However, the differences between this fine drink and the previous one, are really important:
The first of course concerns the production area, the word Champagne in fact refers to both the French region and the wine itself: only sparkling wines that come from a specific area of Champagne can take this name. The municipalities that are part of this production area are divided into three segments: Grand Cru, Premier Cru and Cru.
This illustrious drink is also produced from only three types of vine: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Another difference is precisely the production procedures and refers to fermentation. Champagne, in fact, is fermented with the Champenoise method, which as we have seen involves the second fermentation directly in the bottle.
Bottles of Champagne are also tending to be dark in color to protect the wine, exceptions are rare.
The last difference, decisive, concerns aging: it takes months to produce Champagne, in fact it can not be put up for sale if at least two years have passed since the harvest. In fact, the older the Champagne, the greater the prestige and quality. The Vintage Champagnes, considered the best, present the year of the harvest on the label. The Champagnes Cuvée, so-called reserve Champagne, instead are wines produced with masses of different vintages, preserved in the cellar. The prices of these products can therefore vary widely but are not inaccessible, so it is always advisable to keep an eye on the offers for Champagne.