In our last blog post we explained the difference between various types of Prosecco, briefly touching on the quality acronyms. In this post, we will look into these further, so that you can learn what goes into making the highest quality Proseccos.
Real Prosecco must bare one of three denominations on the label – DOC, Superiore DOCG or Superiore di Cartizze DOCG. These limitations are fairly new; it is only recently that Prosecco producers in Italy have won the right to preserve the Prosecco name, but they mean that sparkling wines made anywhere else in the world are unable to claim to be the same thing.
The Prosecco DOC region stretches for some 20,000 hectares across the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia areas. This is a long stretch of mostly low-lying land covering nine provinces within the region. Some bottles bare the name Prosecco DOC Treviso or Prosecco DOC Trieste, in order to prove that the grapes used have been harvested, made into wine and bottled exclusively in one of these provinces. This special accolade is important, since these towns have played an important part in Prosecco-making history.
Prosecco DOC wine is made primarily of the Glera grape, a yellow fruit that requires special attention when growing in order to create the perfect micro-climate. It can be combined with a number of other grapes, including Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot nero grapes, although these should not make up more than 15% of the blend.
Prosecco Superiore DOCG
This high-quality wine has a far smaller territory of just 6,586 hectares and is only allowed to be created in the Treviso province of Veneto. The terrain is hilly and the grape-growing area runs between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene only. It is a high-maintenance crop that is much more expensive to grow since all upkeep and harvesting must be completed by hand, but it makes for a wine that is silky in texture and fruitier than a Prosecco DOC. Like the DOC, the Glera grape has to make up at least 85% of the whole bottle.
Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze DOCG
The best of the best, this growing region covers only 107 hectares of land, making for an exclusive Prosecco region that commands a far higher price for each bottle produced there. The grapes are grown 300m above sea level, where they appreciate regular sunshine and are well protected from strong winds. The rocky terrain gives the wine a slightly acidic taste that is balanced with the sweet grapes, which are hand-harvested and carefully preserved.
There is another sub-division of Prosecco that we must mention, and this is Prosecco ITG. This refers to wines that are grown outside of the designated growing region. While some are lovely, they are not the ‘real deal’, which is why they must include the ITG symbol on their bottles.
Now you know your Prosecco qualities, you can choose wisely next time you purchase!