A history of excellence and success in Italy
The Glera variety is the main element of the production of Prosecco. Its grapes were already cultivated in the Roman times on the karst hills of Trieste that gave origin to the most appreciated wine Puxinum, the so called Puccino, mentioned also by Plinio in his Naturalis Historia.
It seems that the name Prosecco derives from the Friulian town with the same name, particularly suitable for its cultivation. In the XVIII century, the cultivation of the Glera wine variety has spread in the whole hill territories of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
In the ‘900, Prosecco became a synonym of the Italian excellence and the most known Spumante in the world. This happens thanks to the knowledge of the winemakers and the impulse given by the foundation of the first oenological school of Italy in Conegliano Veneto. 8159 wineries and 200 millions of bottles produced each year, these are the numbers of a success that continuous to rise.
Prosecco wins the DOC
The 1st August 2009, Prosecco gained the DOC recognition – Denominazione di origine controllata (in English Designation of Controlled origin).
The DOC Code of Conduct identifies the geographical zone of production of Prosecco, including five Venetian provinces (Treviso, Belluno, Padua, Vicenza and Venice) and four provinces of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Gorizia, Trieste, Udine and Pordenone). This area encloses also the DOCG Conegliano Prosecco Superiore (in English Designation of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin). The DOCG is smaller than the DOC and include the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano Veneto hills.
All the DOC region is characterized by an alluvial soil, clayey-muddy, rich in microelements that give to the grapes the perfumes and the unique aromas of Prosecco. The mild climate, characterized by an average temperature range between day and night, allows a perfect development of the grapevines.
The different types of Prosecco DOC
There are three varieties of Prosecco DOC: Sparkling, Spumante and Still. Prosecco DOC Spumante is the most famous. It has a long and delicate perlage, a yellow straw colour and firm foam. Depending on its sugary content it can be divided in Brut (sugar content below 12 g/l), Extra Dry (between 12 and 17 g/l), Dry (between 17 and 32 g/l) and finally Demi-Sec (between 32 and 50 g/l).
The Prosecco DOC Sparkling has a thinner perlage, less lasting, straw yellow colour and a fresh flavour that can vary from dry to sweetish. Finally the Prosecco DOC Still isn’t that famous, but differs for its lack of perlage.
How to produce Prosecco DOC
According to the Code of Conduct, the Prosecco DOC can be produced with at least the 85% of the Glera grapes, an ancient native variety. The other 15% can be made of Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera Lunga, Chardonnay and Pinot.
The grape harvest takes place in September: after the pressing, the white vinification starts thanks to the selected yeasts. The fermentation lasts about 20 days at a maximum temperature of 18°C. After the filtration, the Prosecco DOC Still can be bottled.
The Sparkling Prosecco and Prosecco Spumante, instead, experience the natural secondary fermentation. This phase of the “Spumantization” happens in the press tanks according to the Italian method that allows the production of the famous bubbles. It is stopped, decreasing the temperature at the right time, so the sugar residue can give to the Prosecco the right balance.
Another spread technique, however, is the secondary fermentation in bottle the so-called bottle fermentation that was born at the end of the ‘800. It gives to the Prosecco its characteristic perfume of bread crust and a light coating that contributes to its rich taste. The bottles that follow this method have written in the label the sign “bottle fermentation”.
A unique wine for every occasion
Prosecco is, today, one of the most popular wines in Italy, loved for its unbearable taste, for its chic and innovative image, but above all because it is a delicious wine, perfect for thousands of occasions: extraordinary for the aperitif, pure or for the most famous cocktails, paired with the elegant and polished first courses with fish but also with the rustic dishes of the tradition, from the cold cuts to the cheeses.
Obviously, the Prosecco Spumante is fabulous for the toasts during the special occasions.