A lot has changed over the past few years for Italy’s Prosecco. The sparkling wine has been produced in a wide range of quality, from the top of the pyramid, Cartizze, to the canned Prosecco made in Austria and promoted by Paris Hilton.
This wobbly image of quality gained the attention of Italians, who historically take their wine production very seriously. That attention resulted in new regulations for the wine.
The heart of Prosecco production is the Veneto region, notably the area bordering the towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. Beginning last year, a labeling change brought more stringent production requirements in the Prosecco di Congeliano e Valdobbiadine zone. If the label has the name “Prosecco,” it requires specific production techniques and only grapes grown in strictly controlled areas.
One would expect this to clear up any confusion; however, the new designation may have added to it.
Italian wines are given levels of quality much like the French Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC). Beginning with the Vino da Tavola (basic table wine), the levels progress to Vino a Indicazione Geografica (IGT), Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). Each level adheres to more stringent rules for growing and production. The change for Prosecco basically upgrades the areas previously given the lesser IGT designation to DOC. To add to the confusion, it also technically renames the grape from Prosecco to its ancient name “glera” for producers outside of the named zones, effectively making “Prosecco” a place name and not a grape variety.
It’s a lot to take in, especially for those already struggling to comprehend Italian labeling. However, with these changes we will see more protection for quality producers who in the past dealt with lesser versions continually jeopardizing their reputation. As for consumers, let’s hope it resolves some of the confusion from the many styles and prices of our beloved Prosecco.
- NV Zonin Prosecco, Italy (about $15 retail)
- NV Candoni Prosecco, Italy (about $15 retail)
- NV Santa Margherita Brut Prosecco, Italy (about $25 retail)
- NV Oriel 365 Prosecco, Italy (about $26 retail)