Prosecco vs Champagne: Characteristics and Differences
Sparkling wine is a very broad expression that encompasses all wine which provides you with enviable bubbles. This is why the world of sparkling wine is just so exhilarating and delectable and you have a lot of choice. There are infinite possibilities and brand-new kinds of wine to try all of the time. Even champagne itself can be labelled as a sparkling wine although you need to recognize when it comes down to it that sparkling wines are not all going to be champagne. The choice between whether or not to buy prosecco or champagne is often one that lots of us face and it can be difficult to decide. Nevertheless, there may be more differences between Champagne vs Prosecco than you would imagine.
What is the Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco?
There are numerous distinctions to make between champagne and prosecco and the question is often asked ‘is prosecco champagne’? The simple answer is no, these are two very distinct types of sparkling wine. One of the biggest differences is the location from where they are made and therefore the grapes that are used. Champagne is made in France and can only come from the region that gives it its name. Prosecco on the other hand is made in Italy coming from the Veneto region in the north-east of the country.
They are both a type of sparkling wine however and every type of fizz whether it’s champagne, or Italian sparkling wine prosecco, they will all come in various styles. You will be able to buy dry prosecco wine, slightly sweet wine, prosecco champagne in a mix of vintages, prosecco sparkling wine made using a combination of grapes and many more varieties besides to decide between.
What is Champagne?
So, it is the region of France where the grapes are grown that makes champagne unique. The soil contains a large amount of limestone and which means that these grapes will ripen with much more acidic content which is key for creating an excellent sparkling wine. Unlike any other sparkling wine, champagne has to be made under strict rules in order to be labelled as champagne to preserve quality of the sparkling wine. After corking the finished bottle for the final time, the bottle has to be left to rest for extra time before it is allowed to be sold.
What is Prosecco?
What makes it distinct from other kinds of sparkling wines are the Glera grapes that are used to make it. This is a white grape which derived from Slovenia originally. Glera grapes are a fairly neutral flavored grape variety meaning the flavors it yields are fairly light and airy. Prosecco has an average alcohol content of around 12% making it very easy to drink. There are two main types of prosecco which are Brut and Extra Dry and so it has more options in terms of flavor content.
How are Champagne and Prosecco Made?
The technique of generating bubbles in both of these wines is different. The two wines need two cycles of fermentation, with the second round being different between them which leads to them having differing carbonation processes. Champagne demands a traditional method of carbonation where the wine forms its bubbles while it is bottled. In contrast prosecco carbonates in large vats much more quickly using the Charmat Method and so it is meant to be drunk much sooner. The yeast has to stay in fermenting while bottling for at least three years if a Champagne is to be considered vintage. This to some extent accounts for the difference in price between champagne vs prosecco as champagne is much more time intensive to create.
How do Champagne and Prosecco Taste?
There are various styles of these wines, all of which will offer a taste experience which will be slightly different. But if you are drinking a traditional champagne it is more often than not buttery in flavor, with almond-like tastes but it will also have a backbone to it with a somewhat citrus taste. In comparison Prosecco has a floral and much lighter flavor to it and normally you will get a hint of sweet pears. Prosecco is usually the sweeter sparkling wine and therefore this makes a big impact when drunk with cured meats or spicier Asian cuisine. In a much finer vintage champagne, you will get aromas which smell almost like toast, and so champagne goes well with shellfish and crispy appetizers.
When to Drink Prosecco vs Champagne
Champagne does not need to be served only on the big holidays even if it is a more expensive treat. For instance, it is also a handy wine for picnics, since it is good to drink with lots of light snack foods. But of course, because of its juiciness and fruity flavors, it is always recommended for occasions when the sparkling wine needs to be the star of the show. Prosecco because of its lighter nature is a wine to drink fast rather than sip and savor the taste, so it is a great cheaper alternative for large family gatherings and parties.
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Cold Sparkling Wines
Both prosecco and champagne need to be served highly chilled if you wish to have them at the ideal temperature for drinking. Put either sparkling wine in the refrigerator at least the day before you intend to drink it. Otherwise place a bottle in a bucket of ice and leave it for an hour to chill. Chilled glass or flutes also help you to sip your drink and appreciate the chilled wine and their delicate aromas.
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So, there are a few differences between champagne and prosecco but they both provide you with the bubbles. No matter which you decide to have at your net event, either will be a little glass of perfection to whoever gets to drink it. It is key to know the differences though as while it is easy to exchange one name for the other with these sparkly wines, there are big distinctions between champagne and prosecco.
- The ultimate guide to sparkling wine – Harper’s Bazaar