Prosecco Rosè: an overnight success

In his Naturalis Historia, the Roman writer and naturalist Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) mentioned the quality, almost as an elixir for a long life, of the wine Pucino, which was popular among Romans and hailed from the area where the small town of Prosecco now stands.

From less precise sources, we learn that in the early 1700s, between the Veneto and Friuli, an agreeable, versatile and low-alcohol wine started to be produced from white grapes in the east. However, the modern history of Prosecco officially began at the start of the nineteenth century, when reference to the wine appeared for the first time in a mention made by the winemaker Francesco Maria Malvolti. From that moment on, the production of this wine went on to supplant – literally – all other winemaking in the area, becoming the only and undisputed ruler of north-eastern Italy in the mid-twentieth century.

The Prosecco phenomenon has increased nonstop in the last twenty years, winning over consumers all around the world and beating all competition. Prosecco now holds the record for the most bottle sales of sparkling wine.

Amateur wine enthusiasts, especially abroad, view it as the Italian alternative to Champagne. In actual fact, the two wines are barely related. They are more like two distant cousins who live in different countries. What they share is their effervescence, obtained from a base wine that (re)ferments in a container in which the carbon dioxide remains trapped, eliciting the bubbles. In the case of Prosecco, this second fermentation occurs in large steel tanks before the wine is filtered to remove the yeast, allowing the fruity and floral personality to shine through cleanly. This production method is called Martinotti (Charmat) and differs from Metodo Classico (Champenois), whereby the second fermentation takes place in the bottle.

Immediacy, simplicity and verve are Prosecco’s strengths, which have made it a symbol of Italy around the world. It’s a wine that is liked by many, but not all. Some people snub it for the same reasons that make it so popular!

After years of exponential growth on markets and with the intention of seizing new trends, on July 31, 2020, DOC Prosecco paved the way for a rosé version. The newborn Prosecco Rosé began to take its baby steps in the last few days, but its prospects are already superb. It’s no surprise given that the wine blends two of the major trends in recent years: Prosecco and rosé?

After all, Prosecco Rosé will tap into the work of numerous producers who, for years, have been making Glera-driven sparkling rosé wines in the DOC.

The decision made by the consortium to regulate this wine would appear to focus on the production of medium-high quality Prosecco. The introduction of only Pinot Nero – see image – as a complementary grape to Glera and the obligation to release a vintage wine are two parameters that undoubtedly go in this direction.

The result is a sensual, faint pink wine with a blend of wild strawberry and pear aromas and a softness that pairs well with most foods. Versatility is the main feature of this sparkler. Enjoy it as an aperitif with mini pizzas and savory snacks or serve with a Veneto-inspired radicchio risotto to stay traditional. When it comes to Prosecco, however, tradition often makes way for modernity, so we can see it matched with lightly spiced international food, like guacamole or a poke bowl of raw fish and fruit.

One thing is certain. It’s a new product, but it’ll become established in no time. The Prosecco DOC Consortium reports that almost all the 20 million bottles produced had already been sold before they were bottled. If that’s not an overnight success, I don’t know what is!