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Champagne vs Prosecco

Since we’re moving into summer, I thought it would be appropriate to write a bit about summer time sippers.  Champagne is my true love in the world of fizzy wine, but during the hot summer months this love can be a bit much.  During this warmer time of the year I often recommend Prosecco.  I dig Prosecco because its lighter and demands less of me than Champagne.  Champagne usually is complex and has lots of depth, often times its rich and can be heavy.  Its also hard on the wallet.  I think everyone should drink more Champagne more often, but I wouldn’t call it a patio pounder. 

This is where Prosecco comes in.  This fun little wine hails from the Veneto in NE Italy, about a hour north of Venice.  Its made in a different style, with a different grape, and doesn’t spend anywhere near the amount of time aging that Champagne does before release.  As a result, its lighter, playful, fresh, easy, and much more affordable. 

Here’s a little head to head chart of the differences between these two styles of wine.

Region/Country

Champagne – Champagne, France

Prosecco – Veneto, Italy

Grapes

Champagne – Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay – alone or blended

Prosecco – Glera

Production

Champagne –traditional method – secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle

Prosecco – Charmat method – secondary fermentation occurs in tank, then the wine is bottled under pressure

Aging Prior to Release

Champagne- 15 months minimum up to 10+ years

Prosecco – 3-9 months

Sweetness

Champagne – most Champagne is Brut(6-12 g/l of sugar), but extra brut(less than 6 g/l) is gaining in popularity

Prosecco – most Prosecco is Extra Dry(12-17 g/l)

Cost

Champagne - $40-$3000 – mostly between $40-$75

Prosecco - $8-$50 – mostly between $8-$20

Best Time to Enjoy

Champagne – anytime is ideal

Prosecco – hot summer days, back yard bbq’s, large parties where the guests are more important than the wine, Bellini’s