Sunday, 24 July 2011

Are you drinking Glera or Prosecco?!

Has anyone ever heard of Glera? Certainly not that many, at least not before 2009. This is the year when names and appellations have slightly changed in Prosecco.
To legally protect this wine from the venturous productions coming from countries such as China or South America, and to defend its origins, the name of the grape, since then commonly referred as Prosecco, has been changed to Glera.
Prosecco is actually a clone of Glera. And Glera is a really ancient grape variety grown mainly in the area around Trieste in Friuli Venezia Giulia and more specifically around a little town called Prosecco and later spread in Veneto. I know that now the story could sound confusing, but it's not.
The good thing is that the name of the wine has not changed and of course neither its taste. But now when you will be buying a bottle of Prosecco you will be sure that it will be coming from Italy. Two top appellations (DOCG) have also been created: Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Colli Asolani produced in Veneto in the heart of Prosecco evolution and development, and one minor (DOC) in an area in between Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, where the grape has its origins. But on the back of the label as it happens for a lot of Italian wines, you could find Glera grape specified.
Once said that and leaving the boring legal part on a side, either if you call it Prosecco or Glera what you will have a light, fruity and refreshing aperitif. And please do not even try to compare it to Champagne. This is a totally different thing. Better or not it depends mainly on taste, but totally different.
Champagne is champagne. It is made from 3 grapes: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. It is produced in Champagne region only. And the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. Finally a long ageing period on the lees gives the wine a deep complexity and buttery and yeasty notes.
Prosecco is Prosecco. It is made from Glera. It is produced in North of Italy. The second fermentation happens following the Charmat method in bulk tanks to finally being bottled under pressure. The resulting wine is fruity, fresh and aromatic.
The only common thing is the presence of bubbles, and even the bubbles are different!!