I asked a business group I’m in on Facebook whether they felt it was appropriate for someone promoting moving more and getting active to blog about wine. The answer was a resounding yes. I used to be a wine merchant, have various wine qualifications, and love a glass of good wine in the evening, so why not share the love?
So the plan is that I will talk about a wine region, a grape variety, a method of wine-making, something oenological (love that word) on the first Friday of each month. Sound good?
I thought I’d start with Prosecco. It’s just so popular at the moment, and much more affordable than many other sparkling wines. OK, so we all know it as the lovely light bubbly wine we can grab for £7 a bottle in the supermarket, but how much more is there to know?
Region: Prosecco is named after the village it originated from, and can now be produced in nine provinces in northern Italy.
Grapes: It is primarily made from the Glera grape (formerly known as Prosecco), but up to 15% of the total can come from another 8 different varietals, including Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.
Why isn’t it as expensive as Champagne? Well, now here’s the thing. It’s all about how it gets its bubbles. There are 2 ways of making wine fizzy – secondary fermentation (after the first fermentation which makes the wine alcoholic, a 2nd lot of yeast is added and the fermentation of this makes the bubbles – simplistic explanation, but it’ll do!) or CO2 injection (think soda stream).
The latter is only used in really cheapy wines (that’s why Lambrini girls have so much fun…), with the former being used in pretty much all sparkling wines from the most expensive Champagnes down to the cheapest of Proseccos. HOWEVER, the difference between the Champagne method (methode classique) and the Prosecco method (Charmat-Martinotti) is that in Prosecco the secondary fermentation takes place in large stainless steel tanks, and the wine is bottled already fizzy. Champagne has its secondary fermentation in the bottle, but I’m not going to elaborate on that now – Champagne will be for my December wine post!
In short, then, Prosecco manages to be lighter in taste than other sparkling wines because of the grape varieties used, lighter in age because it needs to be drunk young due to the way it’s made, and lighter in price because of the tank method of secondary fermentation.
Don’t know about anyone else, but having given this all this thought I know what I’ll be supping while I watch Strictly this weekend.