By Robert Whitley
Champagne producers frequently lament that the bulk of sales to U.S. consumers comes around the holidays, between November and the end of December. Champagne should be consumed year-round, I am told. I agree completely — for those who can afford it.
The Prosecco gang has no such problem. The soft, fruity sparkling wine from northeast Italy is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. wine market precisely because wine lovers of all stripes can afford it. A decent Prosecco costs a fraction of the price you would pay for a decent nonvintage brut Champagne.
My local grocery has floor-stacked Prosecco at prices ranging from $10 to $15. No wonder Prosecco is flying off the shelf. Unfortunately, the low prices sometimes give the false impression that it is cheap and somehow lesser than. The Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG hopes to change the perception with a campaign to educate U.S. restaurateurs and consumers about the notable qualities of Prosecco from this most important of all the Prosecco-producing regions.
by Tom Hyland
You may not realize it, but Italians love sparkling wine, especially Champagne. There are several famous houses in Champagne that have Italy as their largest (or second largest) export market. I’ve personally enjoyed so many great Champagnes in the Piedmont region, from famous and not so famous producers, and it’s also a popular item in the regions of Veneto and Tuscany.
Well there’s only so much Champagne to go around, and given the ingenuity of the Italians, they love to make as many types of wine as possible, so you’ll find sparking wine from just about every one of Italy’s 20 regions. Most of the finest are made in the classic method, as in Champagne (known as metodo classico in Italy), while there are some made in a less expensive and time consuming method known as Martinotti or Charmat, which still results in high quality bubblies, as with most examples of Prosecco.