Q: What are the real differences between Champagne vs. Prosecco and why does one cost so much more than the other?
- Made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes
- Produced using a costly method called the ‘Traditional Method’
- A standard pour of Brut Champagne has ~128 Calories (12% ABV)
- $40 for a good entry-level Champagne
Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy around the city of Treviso about 15 miles (24 km) North of Venice.
- Made with Prosecco (a.k.a. Glera) grapes
- Produced using an affordable method called the ‘Tank Method’
- A standard pour of Prosecco has ~121 Calories (11% ABV)
- $12-14 for a good entry-level Prosecco
Champagne Taste Profile
Tasting Notes: Since Champagne is aged longer on the yeast particles (called lees), it will often have a cheese rind like flavor that in finer examples comes across as toasty or biscuity. Since the wines are aged in bottles under high pressure the bubble finesse is fine, persistent and sharp. Vintage-dated Champagnes often have almond-like flavors along with orange-zest and white cherry.
Food Pairing: Since most Champagne is intensely dry and has high acidity it works wonderfully as an aperitif matched with shellfish, raw bar, pickled vegetables and crispy fried appetizers. Sipping Champagne with potato chips may sound low-brow, but it’s an insanely good pairing.
Prosecco Taste Profile
Tasting Notes: Prosecco tends to have more present fruit and flower aromas which are a product of the grape. Because the wines are aged in large tanks with less pressure Prosecco bubbles are lighter, frothy and spritzy with less persistence. Finer Prosecco wines often exhibit notes of tropical fruits, banana cream, hazelnut, vanilla and honeycomb.
Food Pairing: Prosecco leans more towards the sweeter end of the spectrum and because of this it’s an ideal match with cured meats and fruit-driven appetizers like prosciutto-wrapped melon and middle-weight Asian dishes such as Thai noodles and sushi.
Why Does Champagne Cost So Much More than Prosecco?
Technically speaking, Champagne is more expensive to make than Prosecco but one of the biggest factors in the big cost discrepancy is market demand. Because Champagne is perceived as a region for luxury wines it can command higher prices. On the other hand, we aren’t used to spending more than $20 for a bottle of Prosecco even though you can find exceptional Prosecco in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG and Colli Asolani DOCG regions.
You can see how the climate makes a difference.
So, now tell me, Mr. Bubbly, what differentiates Prosecco from Cava (from Spain)?