Sunday, February 18, 2018

Prosecco: Not Just for Mimosas

When I was in college in my 20s, day drinking wasn’t what it is now. This was before Sunday Brunch became a “thing” and before Vegas started doing “day parties”. In my 20s, it was a simpler time. Binge drinking only occurred at night (much easier to manage!). Weekend days were spent recovering, eating Taco Bell, and watching bad TV. Nowadays millenials partake in all sorts of day drinking that I can’t keep up with! I’m convinced that had $15 bottomless Mimosas been a thing when I was young, that I would not have graduated college and would still be on my couch popping Advil like it’s going out of style! How do these kids do it? Consuming 4 or 5 drinks before noon? Lord.

With that being said, it cannot be denied that millenials are changing the landscape of alcohol consumption. Studies* have shown that they care more about the story behind the brand, than an ad from a brand. They like to engage with brands in different mediums, such as through social media or at a pop-up event. They yearn for authenticity and an “experience” and are not nearly as brand loyal as their parents were/are.

*These are paraphrased notes from trade articles I have read, industry event presentations, as well as WSET classes in which we discussed production and consumption patterns in wine and spirits. I am not an expert here, hence the absence of concrete statistics. My goal is solely to share information that will emphasize and help you understand my point.

Prosecco is the world’s most popular sparkling wine. Worldwide production and consumption of Prosecco is rising rapidly. In 2015, 355 million bottles of Prosecco DOC were produced. This is compared to 309 million bottles of Champagne produced in 2016.

*I did not have figures for both in the same year.

Many mimosas are made with Prosecco as the sparkling base. Sure, there are many other options: Cava, domestic sparklings, Cremant, and even Champagne. But who wants to taint a glorious leesy Champagne with orange juice? Now I love a mimosa as much as the next gal. One of my wine-isms is that “there is a time and place for every wine”. No wine snobbery or pretense here. I can enjoy a mimosa while eating breakfast on vacation, or when my husband surprises me with breakfast in bed. But sometimes I want more. I don’t want the simple, uncomplicated drink that goes down too easy. I want something that makes me think. Or something dry, with no sweetness or residual sugar.

Newsflash: Prosecco is not just for mimosas. Yes, it is a good partner to the OJ, but I submit that there are more sophisticated Proseccos that can stand alone. That want to stand alone. And I think there are young people who are willing to try something new. Something with a story.

Prosecco generally hovers around $10-$14 a bottle. A steal compared to Champagne which rarely goes under $40 a bottle. What I love about sparkling wine is that there is a whole world of options between basic Prosecco which tends to be a bit too sweet and fruity for my taste, and Champagne, which can be a bit pricy and too serious. How about a delightful sparkling option that showcases fresh fruit, floral notes, and acidity, that can also be dry and refreshing, not cloying. Insert Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG. In 2015 there were 84 million bottles of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG produced.

How does Conegliano Valdobbiadene differ from regular Prosecco DOC?

Location: The Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco area extends over 15 townships located in the hills north of Venice.

In the Vineyard: The region benefits from stony soils, cooling Adriatic breezes, and a moderate climate. The hills are very steep and grapes are hand-harvested, versus manually harvested.

In the Glass: The wines range from driest (Brut), to sweetest (Dry), to everything in between (Extra Dry).

Price: Basic quality Prosecco DOC mostly falls in the $10-$15 range, whereas Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG falls into the $15-$20 range. Still quite affordable!

In November I attended a lovely Prosecco Superiore DOCG masterclass led by Alan Tardi, wine expert and educator. He gave a great class on the region and we tasted a plethora of Congeliano Valdobbiadene wines. These were not Prosecco examples for mimosas! They were elegant and sophisticated wines that can stand on their own in the glass. Thank you to Gregory White PR for the invite!

Next time you are in the aisles looking for a sparkling wine to take home, spend a couple extra minutes reading the label. Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene won’t break the bank and is a nice step up from other opening pricepoint Prosecco DOC.

Next week we will delve into the Prosecco producer Nina Franco as we continue my #WineStudio series!


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