Champagne or Prosecco? When heading out for a night on the town, a meal with friends or a celebration, invariably the night is bound to start off with ‘bubbles’. They’re waiting for us on arrival, we look to them for our liquid dessert, and there’s plenty of skilled bartenders using them in a litany of signature cocktails that we just can’t resist.
Yes, it’s hard to turn down a glass of something fizzy, but what’s actually in that glass you’re delicately sipping? Lately, the answer seems to be prosecco. Irish restaurants are flooded with the stuff, to the delight of Italian importers. But look back more than five or six years and there were relatively few diners demanding it, even in the restaurants that kept it in stock.
So what’s the secret, why are we on this new prosecco buzz? Well for one, prosecco is lovely. It’s a sparkling wine that’s got more than a few styles: it can range from bone dry to quite sweet, and ranges from frizzante, with just a bit of carbonation, to spumante, with so much carbonation you might forget it’s not champagne.
For two, it’s quite affordable, even by Dublin standards. Prosecco traditionally comes from the Veneto region of Italy and is made in the Charmat-Martinotti method. Why’s that important? It’s what makes it so much more affordable. It’s a much shorter and less expensive process, especially compared to the traditional méthode champenoise. Where champagne requires a serious amount of labour (such as delicate hand picking of each individual grape) that amounts to higher production costs, prosecco is relatively cheap in comparison.
Part of the charm in drinking prosecco is its fresh, fizzy flavour. It’s a young wine, best when drank within a year or two of bottling, and there’s a vitality in each sip. Many drinkers consider it to be lighter, fruiter and generally easier to drink than champagne.
We’re great lovers of prosecco. It’s a sweet alternative that lends a relaxed approachability to most any occasion. But does that mean in time it will replace champagne in the Irish market? We think not.
Champagne, on the other hand, is the definition of sophistication. It’s stood the test of time, and requires strict adherence to traditional methods. Using the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grape varieties, champagne is more decadent than its Italian cousin.
For special occasions, it’s still the clear choice. While prosecco may dominate at the dinner table, champagne is a timeless addition to any major event. When celebrating milestones, engagements and weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, champagne is an undeniably glamourous necessity.
Critics and consumers alike tend to agree that champagne has a depth of flavour, a complexity that adds to its appeal. No doubt this comes from the painstaking attention to detail from the producers. Dom Perignon’s famous words, “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars,” are perhaps the most accurate description of champagne’s appeal.
With prosecco saturating the Irish market, it’s hard to know which is more popular why, and whether prosecco will ever replace champagne in our celebrations.
Tell us a reason you might still splash out for a bottle of champagne on a special occasion and leave prosecco for the every day. One lucky fan will receive a case of champagne from thetaste.ie. This is a twitter only competition so please add your answer below. Best of Luck!
— TheTaste.ie (@Thetaste_ie) September 24, 2014