Prosecco or Champagne?

We are often asked about the difference between Prosecco and Champagne.

Prosecco is made in the Veneto area, near Venice, from the glera grape varietal. The wine is fermented as normal, and then fermented a second time, in a tank, producing bubbles. The wine is bottle under pressure, preserving the bubbles.
Prosecco is a light-bodied, easy to drink wine, with very subtle peach, melon and red apple flavours. It should be enjoyed while young and fresh.
So what are the pros and cons for Prosecco against its more illustrious rival, Champagne?

Pros
• Very affordable
• Easier to drink; less acidity & lighter pressure
• Some have screwcaps -easier to open

 

Cons
• Less flavour
• Goes flat more quickly
• Doesn’t always have a ‘pop’ sound
• Some reports of headaches
• Some are string closure – you need a corkscrew!

 

Champagne is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region, about 120km north-east of Paris. It is made usually from a blend of three varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. Each varietal ripens at a different time, so each is harvested and fermented separately.

The following Spring, the winemaker makes a blend of all three varietal wines. Most Champagne is a blend of vintages (ie ‘non-vintage) – so the winemaker adds in some older Reserve wine from previous vintages, which adds complexity. The wine is then bottled, and a mixture of yeast and sugar is added to each individual bottle to create a second fermentation in the bottle. The long, slow fermentation which follows produces millions of tiny bubbles.
After this, the bottles are aged for at least 15 months. The dead yeast cells in the wine eventually break down and give bready, biscuit flavours.
A further process is required to remove the yeast cells from the wine, and finally the bottle is topped up with a mixture of wine and sugar.
Champagne is medium to full-bodied, with lots of tiny bubbles, crisp vibrant acidity, and flavours of fresh-baked bread, pastry, green apple. Non-vintage will improve with up to five years age. It is an aperitif before a meal, or at the start of an evening, to get the taste buds going. Serve with pastry canapés -vol- au-vents, cheese straws or gougeres.
Arguments FOR Champagne:
• Lots more flavour
• Lots more bubbles, much finer, and very long-lasting
• Most romantic wine on the planet
• People know you’ve spent a lot!

AGAINST Champagne:
• Expensive
• Some find it tastes bitter
• Difficult to open; especially with manicured nails!
• Possible heartburn

 

At Molloys, we are fans of both!
For value for money, you can’t beat Borgo da Sassi Prosecco Frizzante. Its silver label has a nice ‘bling’ factor. If you are a victim of headaches after drinking Prosecco, then try our Fascino Organic Prosecco. With organic wines, winemakers don’t need to add as many sulphites.  Again, it comes in a really cool bottle, and is very keenly priced.
Going up a notch in price, Botter Prosecco carries more flavour and more bubbles, as it’s a Spumante (fully-sparkling). All Spumante have a wire muzzle closure. Our La Marca Spumante is from the prestigious Conegliano di Valdobbiadene region, and is pretty much top of the range. (It’s been recommended several times by The Sunday Times).
If you find Champagne too bitter-tasting/heartburn-inducing, then choose ‘Extra Dry’ Prosecco. Why? ‘Extra Dry’ Prosecco has more sweetness (12-17g sugar per litre), which offsets the acidity. ‘Brut’ Champagne has less than 12g sugar.

Our exclusive Jean Comyn Champagne has been highly praised in The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish and The Daily Star. It’s also won a coveted Silver Medal at the International Wine Challenge.

jean COMYN Jean Comyn, exclusive to Molloys

So, which one gets your vote?

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