Prosecco & Champagne: a comparison

Bottega-Gold-Prosecco-Doc

Prosecco and Champagne are among the most notorious wines in the world, nevertheless, their main characteristics are not known to everyone.

The two products firstly differ for area of production. In fact, Prosecco is cultivated in Italy in the Veneto and Friuli region, protected by the DOC and DOCG designations. On the other hand, Champagne is produced in the French region of Champagne, located in the North of the country, between the cities of Reims and Épernay.

Prosecco is mainly produced with the Charmat Method, also known as Martinotti Method, which foresees the vinification and second fermentation in stainless steel pressure tanks. The grape used to produce this wine, is Glera. Other grape varietals can be used in minor quantities; examples are Perera, Verdiso or Bianchetta

Champagne is produced exclusively with the Champenoise Method, or Classic Method, where the wine undergoes the second fermentation directly in the bottle. The longer the wine stays in direct contact with the yeast in this phase, better the quality of the final product. This French sparkling wine is produced with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. All three or just a few of these varietals can be used.

Another substantial difference is taste.
Prosecco is fresh and aromatic, with notes of apple, pear, peach, apricot and white flowers. It is a light and versatile product. On the other hand, Champagne tends to give a more intense and rich sensation in the palate, with complex secondary aromas and a typical fragrance of bread crust.

Bottega decided to send a bottle of Prosecco Gold and a bottle of Champagne, along with Grana Padano cheese, to a number of international journalists, asking them to compare and evaluate which wine is the best pairing to complement Italian food.

We are convinced that both are great wines, yet very different and thus best fit for specific foods and distinct occasions.

Our aim is to introduce and allow people to appreciate the unique and unmistakable characteristics of Prosecco: fresh, light and versatile taste! These peculiar elements make Prosecco a sparkling wine suited for every occasion and that can be enjoyed every day. To this extent, it represents perfectly the Italian Style. Its simplicity and elegance embody the values and lifestyle of Italy, that of conviviality and sophistication. During the past years, these traits made it possible for Prosecco to become the most known and acclaimed sparkling wine in the world.

Press Comments

“The Gold Prosecco has done better for me. He has a sparkling content and impresses with its floral notes. He is rounder and drinks better … Congratulations to this good bottle. ”
–  Mario Stäheli, Switzerland

“Champagne [unrevealed brand] NV: Mid-gold colour with exuberant bubbles and a frothy cordon; nose is rich with biscuit, nuts and toast and a mineral-chalk note overlying ‘bruised’ golden apple fruit; palate is quite light-bodied, Brut-style with very crisp acidity (almost ‘sharp’), brittle mousse texture. Slightly phenolic and rather linear wine that finishes with modest length. *+ (on a *** scale) Not easy to drink on its own, but very popular, globally.

Bottega Gold: Pale lemon-green hue with persistent small bubbles and a narrow cordon; delicate aromas showing green apple, apricot, white flowers and a hint of limestone; palate is pretty, fruit-dominated, light-bodied, with good freshness balancing the moderate sweetness and an herbal note giving added interest. Finishes mid-length with zest and fruit. Very pretty wine. **+ (on a *** scale) Easy-drinking, crowd-pleaser.

With the foods:
[…] [Prosecco] was delicious with the Grana Padano, the gentle yeast and creamy texture and lemon custard accent in the wine bringing out a hint of white mushroom in the cheese.[…]

All tasters agreed that the two wines are very different and would appeal to different audiences (at different price points!) and, especially, at different times. Most likely, confirmed sparkling wine consumers would have both styles in their drinking repertoire (and should!)

[…] A recommendation came out that Prosecco as a style could (and, I believe is) differentiating different styles and qualities. It was also pointed out that Prosecco really could promote itself as a wine to pair with food, not simply as a quaffable aperitif.”

– Tasting Notes by Patricia Crosby Stefanowicz MW AWE BSc(Hons) MArch et alia – (Summary)

“The whole subject of sparkling wines and pairing with foods […] is quite an interesting and still very much uncovered territory […]. A parcel soon arrived on my desk that contained a bottle of Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco DOC with a standard bottle of […] Champagne along with a decent wedge of Grana Padano cheese. […]

Here is what I found: Bottega Gold: “Young and vibrant yellow fruit aromas. Taste gives you a young and lively sensation of subtle yellow / tropical fruits with a lemon zest and floral length.” Cheese & Prosecco: “The Prosecco flavours are quickly absorbed by the cheese. The oily texture from the cheese disappears to leave a clean cheese flavour to be enjoyed.” […]

So what is the conclusion? […] Prosecco with its Charmat method can certainly pair with foods just as well as traditional method sparkling wines such as from its close neighbours in Italy of Trento and Franciacorta. Though most Prosecco will not be aged more than a few months and last more than a couple of years, the popularity to explore the ageing possibilities grow and Bottega as a label are keen to lead the positive trend in this area.”

– Christopher Walkey, Glassofbubbly.com, UK