Prosecco is an Italian dry, citrus sparkling wine, Italy's answer to a refreshing sparkling wine, made from a white grape of the same name. The grape is grown mainly in the northern region of Veneto in the foothills of the Alps, traditionally in an area near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, north of the city Treviso. It is believed that Prosecco was already produced in Roman times and is one of the oldest wine grapes in Italy ranking approx 14th in importance among the country's 2000+ grape varieties. The name of Prosecco is derived from the northern Italian village of Prosecco (Trieste), where the grape is believed to have originated.
Up until the 1960s, Prosecco was generally sweet and barely distinguishable from the Asti Spumante wine produced in Piedmont. Since then, production techniques have improved, leading to the high-quality dry wines produced today.
Since 2009 Prosecco is protected as a DOCG, as Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Prosecco di Conegliano and Prosecco di Valdobbiadene.
Sometimes combined with a small amount of Pinot Grigio grapes, Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method. The Charmat method allows the wine to go through the second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in individual bottles. The shorter, tank fermentation is preferable for Prosecco because it preserves the freshness and the flavour of the grapes. Most Prosecco yields lower alcohol levels and is best consumed within 2-3 years of its vintage, but the highest-quality Prosecco can be aged for up to 7 years.
Approximately 150 million bottles of Prosecco are produced annually, with approx 60% of all Prosecco being made in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene area.
Italians consider Prosecco an ideal apperitivo or ombrette (pick-me-up). Prosecco is also delicious when combined with fresh peach juice to make Venice's most famous cocktail, the Bellini and Poinsettia. It is crisp and clean and pairs nicely with seafood - especially calamari and crabmeat, enjoy.