Everything you really need to know about prosecco
From its origins to how it differs from drinks like Champagne, there’s a lot to know about the sparkling wine known as prosecco. Here’s the ultimate guide.
July 22, 2021
How is prosecco different from Champagne?
The first distinguishing factor between the two drinks is the grapes. Champagne comes from France and is made from grapes like chardonnay and pinot; prosecco must originate from the glera grape grown in the vineyards of Veneto, Italy.
Both drinks involve a second fermentation in terms of winemaking techniques, but Champagne requires using the old method of aging in a bottle and adding yeast, sugars and lots and lots of time. Prosecco is aged in a tank, which the makers seal to contain all CO2 and give the drink its delightful fizz.
Flavor-wise, Champagne gets a bit more intimate with the yeast and therefore has a breadier, citrus-centered flavor profile. There’s a bit more daylight between the drink and the yeast in the second fermentation of Prosecco, however, letting the drink’s full fruit flavor profile shine through. This gives it hints of apple, pear, peach, honeysuckle and floral notes — in short, it’s a fruitier sparkling wine.
Not sure if you’re a trendsetter, but you should know this upfront: prosecco is hot right now. Like, Radiohead-in-1997 hot.
It’s probably due in part to the fact that it provides a celebratory bottle of bubbly without forcing you to cough up Champagne money. It’s also since, despite being half the cost, prosecco is some seriously good stuff with a lot of love, technique and history put into each bottle.
Below we look at how this sparkling wine came to be, how it differs from other drinks like Champagne and of course, some recipes for prosecco cocktails that will razzle-dazzle your friends with very basic ingredients.
How to drink prosecco
First, ditch the narrow-flute glass. This drink is a party of fruity aromas, and you’re missing out on the action if your schnoz is stuck outside the glass. Opt instead for a large wine glass that lets you smell what’s happening as you drink.
Tilt that bad boy at 45º while you’re pouring, too. Otherwise, you’re wasting bubbles, and that’s a dang shame. Take your time while pouring to avoid overspending the fizz.
Prosecco: a biography
In the 1500s, those in northern Italy began to seriously enjoy a local wine called Ribolla. Pliny the Elder and Livia (wife of the emperor) all sang its praises. Yet near the end of the century, it needed a new name to distinguish it from other Ribollas — and so they settled on the intensely syllabic “castellum nobile vinum Pucinum,” the name of a castle bordering the small village of Prosecco.
An English wine connoisseur named Fynes Moryson seems to have been the first to call it by its modern name when he wrote, “Here growes the wine Pucinum, now called Prosecho, much celebrated by Pliny.” This guy could not get enough of it. He placed it among Italy’s greatest inventions.
Some prosecco cocktails
Aperol Spritz Slushie
Ingredients you'll need for this recipe:
- 2 oranges
- 2 lemons
- 3 oz prosecco
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 8 to 10 oz ice
Cut the fruit in half, then slice one of the orange halves. Combine the drinks and juice of the other fruit halves in a large bowl, stirring them together. To make the simple syrup, simmer the granulated sugar with 1 cup of water until the sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes), then let it cool. Pour one ounce of simple syrup, along with the contents of the large bowl, into a blender with ice and blend it into a purée. Garnish with orange slices.
Grapefruit Prosecco Cocktail
- 1/4 cup Cointreau
- 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 2 cups prosecco
- 4 grapefruit wedges
This recipe is a great alternative to the mimosa and makes 4 drinks — and all you have to do is pour a quarter of each liquid into chilled Champagne glasses and stir. Then garnish with a small wedge of grapefruit and serve.