Today on Somm Tips, James Beard award-winning author Alan Tardi stops by the International Culinary Center to talk Prosecco. Having spent time in Champagne while writing his book Champagne Uncorked, as well as time in the Prosecco region of Conegliano Valdobbiadene as their US ambassador, Alan is the perfect fit to answer a question that many of us have pondered over brunch: What is Prosecco?
We know Champagne can only come from Champagne, but it turns out Prosecco only comes from… well, one of three places. Most of the Prosecco we consume in the United States is from an area in the Northeast of Italy, comprised of parts of the Veneto and Friuli–Venezia Giulia regions. Those wines are labeled as Prosecco DOC, and about 85-90% of all Prosecco comes from there. The vineyards in this region have much higher yields, and they tend to be harvested mechanically.
The thing is, we love Prosecco here in the US. Can’t get enough of it. So every now and again, more hectares of land are added to the Prosecco DOC region. What this means is, we aren’t always drinking Prosecco from its original place of origin, which is called Conegliano Valdobbiadene.
Bottles that bear the label of Prosecco DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene are confirmed to come from that original growing region in the Veneto, where the grapes are harder to harvest and are therefore usually done by hand, as opposed to mechanical harvesting. Great wines can certainly come from both places, but generally, Prosecco DOC casts a wider net.
Finally, there is the Colle Asolani DOCG. This is an even smaller appellation, just southwest of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, consisting of less than 100 hectares. For comparison, the region of Champagne consists of around 34,000 hectares of vineyards. Prosecco DOC isn’t the only one casting a wide net!
Thanks to Alan Tardi for hosting today’s video, and to the International Culinary Center for having us. If you’re interested in learning about wine, ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training is an amazing opportunity for those who aspire to be professionals in wine, with 11 Master Sommeliers on faculty. The next course begins in January 4.