Mrs. Tiedemann and I are mimosa fans. Although we differ in how they taste. She likes hers on the sweet side while I can drink ones on the dry side. Several weeks ago we were having brunch at the Chicago Cut Steakhouse (one of our Chicago favorites) and the waiter asked if we wanted mimosas. Mrs. Tiedemann spoke up and asked: “are they Brut?” She was asking if they were unsweetened or very dry (as we know, not her favorite). The waiter said they were made with Prosecco and were dry.
Hearing the conversation made me wonder about Prosecco and Champagne. Thus today’s blog article. Not being a big drinker of either I needed to do some research on the two and other types of sparkling wines.
There are a number of differences between Champagne and Prosecco. Let’s start with the regions where each is made. Champagne is a product of the Champagne region in France. Champagne is a sparkling wine made from a blend of three different grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Champagne is a trademarked name, so nothing from another place can legally be called Champagne.
Champagne has about a 30/30/30 split of the three grapes. This is the case in the majority of all Champagnes made. Another way to explain the blend is two-thirds black grapes and one-third Chardonnay or white grapes. There are other wonderful sparkling wines available…they just aren’t called Champagne. These wines include Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain or Crémant, another sparkling wine made in France (just not made in the Champagne region).
Champagne and Prosecco also have very different taste profiles. The primary flavors in Champagne are citrus, peach, cherry, almond and toast. Champagne is dry and has a high acidity level and is bubbly through and through.
Champagne pairs well with such foods as shellfish, fried appetizers, pickled items and raw bar items. Champagne is also a good starting wine on its own before dinner.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy and is made from the Glera grape. Italian laws require that all Proseccos must be made up of at least 85% of the Glera grape. While other grapes are used in making Prosecco, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Brachetto, to name a few), their numbers cannot exceed 15% of the total. The name Prosecco is derived from the Italian Village of Prosecco near the city of Treviso about 15 miles north of Venice.
Prosecco is known for having fresh flavors such as green apple, pears, honeydew, cream and honeysuckle. Prosecco comes primarily in three forms: sparkling, as a still wine and as a semi-sparkling wine.
Prosecco is sweeter than Champagne and is perfect for pairing with such foods as fruity appetizers and cured meats. It also works well with some Asian dishes.
Prosecco doesn’t age in the bottle and is typically meant to drink within two to three years. Prosecco has a lower alcohol content that ranges from 11% to 12%.
In the age old debate on which is the best bubbly there is no clear winner. Both wines offer different profiles, and like all wines it is up to you which one you might choose over the other. It is always best to try several of each type in order to make your own determination.
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Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- April 17 – International Malbec Day
- May 3 – International Sauvignon Blanc Day
- May 9 – World Moscato Day
- May 23 – International Chardonnay Day
- May 25 – National Wine Day
- June 8 – National Rosé Wine Day
- June 20 – National Lambrusco Day