Prosecco – its history, tasting and pairing with food »

An extract from PAIRED: Champagne and Sparkling Wines

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<i>PAIRED: Champagne & Sparkling Wines</i> by Fran Flynn and David Stevens-Castro

PAIRED: Champagne & Sparkling Wines by Fran Flynn and David Stevens-Castro

Prosecco from Brown Brothers, King Valley, Victoria
Prosecco, PAIRED - Champagne and sparkling wines
Prosecco from Chrismont, King Valley
Prosecco - from PAIRED: Champagne and Sparkling Wines


When pairing wine and food, a bit of background knowledge on the wines is always helpful. In PAIRED: Champagne and Sparkling Wines Fran Flynn and David Stevens-Castro not only provide some delicious, specially selected recipes, they provide details on many of the wine styles.

This extract from this beautifully presented book is all about prosecco, a wine style not only becoming made by more local winemakers but more generally more available in bottleshops.

Fran and David write:

Prosecco is native to the mountainous area of Veneto, Northern Italy. The prosecco grape glera has a history that stretches as far back as Roman times. It was first seen with bubbles in the late 19th century.

The defined zone for grape production runs between the two small towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, close to Venice. Vines cling at seemingly impossible angles on the sunny side of slopes where it can be difficult to even stand upright. As a result, hand management and harvesting are the only available options.

Regulations for the cultivation, production and winemaking of authentic prosecco have been carefully maintained by a special consortium charged with safeguarding the quality of the product. True prosecco from this region of fifteen municipalities will have DOC or DOCG on the label, signifying that it has been produced according to the required regulations of the designated zone.

Other countries produce wine from the glera grape and attach the name prosecco to their label, but true prosecco only comes from this area. The hill of Cartizze is home to what is considered to be the highest quality prosecco. If a prosecco contains grapes from this area it will appear on the wine bottle label.

Producers are canvassing for the name ‘prosecco’ to become a legally protected name, just like champagne or cava. If this happens, only wine from this region will be allowed to use the name prosecco.


Prosecco is generally produced using the charmat (tank/martinotti) method, which is a less labour intensive process than the traditional method. For the second fermentation the wine is stored in large tanks rather than individual bottles. This approach retains a lighter, fruitier quality than the more yeasty character of champagne.

This wine is designed to be consumed while young and fresh, ideally within a year of the vintage. There is some prosecco that is produced with the secondary fermentation in the bottle. This approach would be indicated on the label as ‘traditional/classic method’ and adds to the quality and longevity of the wine.

Prosecco has two potential levels of fizziness: either spumante, which is fully sparkling, or frizzante, which is lightly sparkling.

Pairing Prosecco

Prosecco comes in four main styles: dry (brut), extra-dry, sec and demi-sec (semi-sweet). However, the current preference internationally is brut, so you are most likely to find this style.

With a light, fresh, delicate appeal prosecco is best suited to pair with flavours that won’t overwhelm and light dishes such as salad and slightly sweet desserts are ideal. Prosecco also has a particular affinity with mushrooms and soft Italian cheeses. It can also pair well with chicken, risotto, sushi and shellfish.

Prosecco quick reference

  • Location: Veneto, Italy
  • Grapes: 85% glera, plus nine other grapes are permitted to make up the other 15% of the blend
  • Regulations: strict viticulture and production requirements
  • Winemaking method: Charmat method
  • Acidity: High
  • Alcohol: 10.5 –12%
  • Ideal pairing: dishes that won’t overwhelm the light fruity style, such as salad, sushi and light desserts



This extract is from PAIRED: Champagne and Sparkling Wines by Fran Flynn and David Stevens-Castro and is reproduced with the authors' kind permission.

Read more on PAIRED here »

PAIRED: Champagne & Sparkling Wines has also won a number of awards »

PAIRED: Champagne and Sparkling Wines is self published (2016; Qld, HB, pp, RRP A$37.99. It can be be ordered direct from the publishers at It is also available from good book stores nationwide and internationally on

See links below for recipes and further extracts from PAIRED.

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July 05th, 2017
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