Source: Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Come e perchè il Prosecco è Superiore / Why and how Prosecco is Superior
Sparkling wine is made by the Italian method which involves the use of autoclaves – large, sealed pressure tanks – into which the wine is pumped together with sugar and yeasts.
SPARKLING, SEMI-SPARKLING AND STILL. Conegliano Valdobbiadene is known for its lively elegance, pale-straw colour, light body and its unique, fruity/floral nose. It is made in sparkling, semi-sparkling and still versions. The flagship version is the sparkling (spumante) wine, whose sophisticated, informal personality ushered in a new style of drinking. It has successfully maintained its unique identity over the years thanks to its natural characteristics, which make it so pleasant for any occasion, and the fact that it has a strong tradition which nonetheless proved itself capable of adapting to change.
CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE DOCG PROSECCO SUPERIORE. This sparkling wine displays a vibrant character. Three versions are made: Brut, Extra Dry and Dry, which are distinguished by the quantity of residual sugar in each.
Brut. This is the most modern version of the Prosecco wines, the one that best suits international taste. It has a rich nose of citrus and vegetal notes and an attractive hint of crusty bread, plus a highly attractive, vibrant palate. The delicate bead ensures a lingering taste and a clean mouthfeel. It is best served at 6-8° C, with simple or elaborate fish or vegetable starters, seafood first courses and baked fish dishes, or, as is the custom in the production zone, enjoyed throughout the meal.
Residual sugar: 0 to 12 g/l.
Extra dry. This is the traditional version, which combines various flavours with the bubbles' elating, zesty flavour. A bright straw colour to which the bead adds extra sparkle. This fresh, elegant wine has a rich, fruity nose of apple and pear, with a hint of citrus fruit that fades into a floral undertone.
The wine has a smooth mouthfeel to which a lively acid content gives the right touch of dryness. Great as an aperitif, it is ideal served at 6°- 8°C with vegetable soups or seafood, pasta dishes with delicate meat sauces, fresh cheeses and white meat, especially poultry.
Residual sugar: 12 to 17 g/l.
Dry. This is the least widespread version of the Prosecco wines and sets off the grape's floral/fruity qualities to best effect. Pale straw-yellow appearance with a subtle fruity nose full of citrus fruit, white peach and green apple tones. The palate is flavour-packed, fresh and smooth with an elegant medium-dry mouthfeel. Best served at 6-8° C. Dry Prosecco is the best suited to more unusual pairings, such as with petit fours or hot, spicy food. Residual sugar: 17 to 32 g/l.
CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE DOCG SEMI-SPARKLING PROSECCO is the most informal, easy-drinking wine. It is simple, dry and light. The version that undergoes second fermentation in the bottle (prise de mousse) is the true ambassador of the winemaking tradition. In fact, in the past bubbles were obtained using this method and nowadays many producers are reviving this tradition.
In most cases, however, the semi-sparkling is made according to the Italian method. It has the characteristic straw colour. The nose is heavy with fruit and flowers, while the palate is outstandingly fresh.
It is best served at 8° C and is ideal as an aperitif, with starters or simple first courses.
CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE DOCG STILL PROSECCO is the least well-known version. It is obtained from the most densely-planted, low-yield vineyards, where the grapes are picked when very ripe. It has a delicate straw-yellow colour, with a nose of apple, pear, almond and multifloral honey. It is best served at 8°- 10°C with seafood, meat and vegetable starters.