We had our Christmas wine tastings and put on Prosecco and Champagne so that people could taste the difference and find out which they preferred. The comments were surprising and it appeared that those who thought they only preferred Champagne actually swayed towards Prosecco and vice versa!
So what is the difference and when is it the best time to drink them?
The difference between them starts with the country, grape variety and the way they are made, so you could say apart from the bubbles they are totally different. Champagne is made in the region of Champagne in France and can be made with one or all three permitted grape varieties which are, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. To get the bubbles it has a bit more sugar and yeast thrown in the bottle and a cork goes on and the pressure of gas converts this in to bubbles.
Prosecco is made in North Italy, with a grape called Prosecco which is also known as Glera. The bubbles are made on a larger scale process rather than the individual bottle of champagne called the Charmat Method. This is where the second fermentation takes place in a stainless steel tank.
So, with the different countries, grapes and production methods the flavours are also different. With Prosecco you will find fresh fruit appley flavours which are light and fresh, whereas, with champagne you’ll find the influence of the yeast flavours that give you those brioche and honey character that also gives you a fuller body.
When to drink! If you like to start you Christmas day with a glass of fizz then I highly recommend going for a Prosecco which is light fruity and a great way to start the day. I would move to Champagne later on in the day which would most certainly match with certain foods, such as salmon, lobster, prawns . You could also serve champagne with a fruit dessert!
When you are feeling a little full from all the Christmas indulgence but still fancy a glass of fizz, pour yourself a glass of light refreshing Prosecco.!