Prosecco is an Italian wine — generally a dry sparkling wine — made from grape variety Glera, which previously also was known as Prosecco. The main area where Glera is grown and Prosecco is produced is the Veneto region of Italy, traditionally in an area near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso.
Prosecco is known as the main ingredient of the Bellini cocktail and has more recently become popular as a less expensive substitute for Champagne.
Unlike Champagne, its main commercial competitor, Prosecco is produced using the Charmat method, in which the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, making the wine less expensive to produce.
Approximately 150 million bottles of Italian Prosecco are produced annually. As of 2008, 60 percent of all Prosecco is made in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene area.
In Italy, Prosecco is enjoyed as a wine for every occasion. Like other sparkling wines, Prosecco is served chilled. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle and grows stale with time; it should be drunk as young as possible and preferably before it is two years old.
Compared to sparkling wines from other areas of the world, Prosecco is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent by volume. However this is quite typical for Italian sparkling white wines. The flavor 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.
Most commonly Prosecco is served unmixed, but it also appears in several mixed drinks. It was the original main ingredient in the Bellini cocktail and in the Spritz cocktail, and it can also replace Champagne in other cocktails such as the Mimosa. Prosecco also features in the Italian mixed drink Sgroppino (with vodka and lemon sorbet).
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Prosecco, Italy's Sparkling Wine, www.lifeinitaly.com
The charm of Prosecco, www.wineloverspage.com