After a long day, there is nothing as relaxing as a glass of wine for most people. For the most part, all types of wine are very similar in taste and quality. The only noticeable difference usually is the price tag attached to them. However, in some cases, there can be a significant amount of differences between wines that you might find worth paying extra for if you’re an avid wine drinker.
Champagne and prosecco are two popular wines that are often confused with each other, but they have some key differences. This article will explore those differences and help you decide which one is right for you. So let’s get started!
The Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco
1. Location and Grapes
The key difference in differentiating Champagne for Prosecco wines is the regions where they both originate from. Champagne is a product that originates from the northeastern corner region in France near Paris called Champagne. It gets its name from this region grown fermented and bottled. Champagne can only be used by labels within 100 miles of this region.
On the other hand, Prosecco wine originates from the village of Prosecco in northeastern Italy near the city of Trieste. Like Champagne, Prosecco wine gets its name from the region where it is grown.
When it comes to the grapes used, Champagne is a sparkling wine made from a combination of three different types of grapes, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grapes. A standard pour of Champagne is between five and six ounces with around 128 calories.
On the flip side, Prosecco wine is made from a white grape of Slovenian origin known as Glera. The variety was initially known as Prosecco but was renamed Glera in 2009. A standard pour of Prosecco is also between five to six ounces and has about 121 calories.
2. Production Methods
The second significant difference between Champagne and Prosecco sparkling wines is production methods. For Champagne, a traditional method, Méthode Champenoise, is used. The process is begun by creating a base wine from grapes picked earlier in the season. Second fermentation happens in the bottle by adding yeast and sugars, where carbon dioxide is released by the yeast eating the sugar.
After that, the Champagne is aged using one of two options. First by lees which are dead yeast cells that collect in the tank of fermented wine, or second by ridding where sparkling wine is rotated upside down over time. In ridding, the bottle is left tipped in racks, upside down, so that when fermentation is complete, the dead yeast cells will be collected at the neck of the bottle.
Finally, a disgorgement and dosage process occurs when the bottle is ready. The dead yeast cell is released in disgorgement by freezing the bottle’s neck. A mixture of wine and sugar is then added for extra flavoring and fills the bottle back to capacity in a process known as dosage. The wine is then resealed and left to age for the desired time.
In Prosecco, the method often used is called the tank method. Most of the traditional method steps are used in this process, but the wine is stored in tanks for the second fermentation. A large tank is sealed for fermentation, making the wine fizzy. The wine is later bottled and sealed. The tank method is more efficient and quicker, making it affordable both to produce and as a final product.
3. The Difference in Taste
Due to their production process, these two wines have different flavors and tastes. The close and prolonged contact of the wine with the yeast in the Champagne method leaves it with more autolytic flavors. Therefore, the primary flavors in Champagne are citrus, cherry, white peach, toast, and almond. The aging process creates persistent and fine bubbles, with vintage Champagnes having orange-zest almond and white cherry flavors.
On the other hand, Prosecco has a more flowery and fruity taste due to the Glera grapes used. Additionally, since the yeast has less contact with the wine during the second fermentation, the taste of the grape is not compromised and thus retains its fruity flavor profile. Consequently, since the aging process occurs in large tanks, the wine has lighter spritz bubbles. Bottles of Prosecco have tropical fruit, vanilla, hazelnut, or banana cream.
4. Foods to Pair With
Due to its dry and acidic taste, Champagne is best paired with fried appetizers, shellfish, raw bar items, and pickled vegetables. On the other hand, the sweet Prosecco is perfectly paired with fruity appetizers and cured meats.
Champaign and Prosecco have different prices because of how they are produced. Since Champagne needs a more money-intensive hands-on process, it costs more than Prosecco. For instance, a bottle of Champagne is between forty and two hundred dollars, while that of Prosecco is about twelve dollars. Therefore, Prosecco is cheaper than Champagne.
6. Residual Sugar Content
A difference between the two sparkling wines is the residual sugar content, which determines how sweet a wine will be. Champagne’s sweeter taste comes from the yeast leftover in the drink during the second fermentation, while Prosecco has about one-tenth or less of that residual sugar.
7. Taste of the Bubbles
Finally, the biggest difference between these two wines is the taste of their bubbles. The bubbles in Champagne are smaller and more persistent than those in Prosecco due to how they are made. This means that they do not break as easily when one holds it up to their ear. Instead, the bubbles are more uniform and bounce off of each other before rising to Champagne’s surface. A large amount of residual sugar in Champagne also affects its bubbling properties.
In conclusion, there are two major differences between Champagne and Prosecco sparkling wines. These distinctions include production methods and the difference in taste due to their production. Overall, Champagne has a drier and acidic taste with persistent effervescence, whereas Prosecco is more sweet and fruity with spritz bubbles since it is produced using the tank method. Consequently, Champagne pairs best with fried appetizers, shellfish, and pickled vegetables, while Prosecco can be paired with fruity appetizers and cured meats. In the debate of picking a Champagne or a Prosecco bottle, there is no clear winner, and this is because these two types are on two opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to their taste and the foods they are paired with. Therefore, you do not have to pick one over the other. Depending on the occasion, you can enjoy a glass of either.