Comparing two widely-available Prosecco wines under the Tuscan sunshine with our midday salads.
OK so Prosecco is the lunchtime fizz of choice for a summer in Tuscany and the question of the moment is Prosecco Frizzante or Prosecco Superiore. Both are made from the Prosecco grape varietal from vineyards which meet the DOCG regulations. Both use the Charmat Method, ie Methode Champenoise. The technical difference is that for Frizzante, the lees (spent yeast) are left in the bottle during ageing, equivalent to sur Lie, as in Muscadet; for Superiore the lees are removed by decanting. There’s a price difference which maybe isn’t that significant if you’re in the market for lunchtime fizz in Tuscany whereas maybe the “Superiore” sounds more posh. But is there a taste difference?
Well the Superiore is quite definitely the better wine on all the usual wine connoisseur criteria: nose, depth of flavour and complexity of taste. It’s a bit stronger in alcohol so there’s more of a kick. But it’s extra-dry, nearly Brut. The ordinary Prosecco Frizzante is less pretentious, less extra-dry though still dry. The means it has more taste in the normal sense but less complexity in the sommelier sense. So easier to drink in volume, less likelihood of dry throat or even a sore head, and with a nice umpth to a midday meal under the Tuscan sunshine. We’ve tried both, twice and our firm favourite for lunch is the simpler Prosecco Frizzante, not the Superiore. The main downside is that you need a corkscrew to extract the stopper but that shouldn’t be a problem on a high-functioning terrace...
We enjoyed our bottles on a terrace in Barga (LU) with midday salads built around Tomino con Speck, a tube of slightly-warmed Piemonte feta-style cheese wrapped in a ham sliver, artichokes plus a selection of Tuscan cold meats.
The Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco festival, held annually in late May, looks one for the (ice) bucket list!
An elegant extra-dry Prosecco Frizzante with plenty of nose of fresh fruits (to me apricots and fresh grapes), slight mustiness. Colour: very light elderflower. Large bubbles in the mouth. The cork is an unusual profile and is retained by a knotted string.
Dame Tervise is a large producer based in the town of Oderzo in the province of Treviso, a little north of Venice.
Prosecco Superiore DOCG
A refined Prosecco Superiore with a peachy nose; colour, extremely light beige - almost colourless. Small and long-lasting bubbles and some complexity on the tongue although no particular after-taste.
Valdo Spumanti is a winemaker based in Valdobbiadene in the province of Treviso.