Prosecco is made in a big tank which doesn’t sound very glamourous does it? It is also known as the charmat method, which I think makes it sound slightly more appealing.
First of all, a still wine is made – it goes in the tank which is then tightly sealed and then more yeast and sugar is added to bring on the second fermentation. One of the things that happens during the secondary fermentation is that CO2 is produced and because the tank is tightly sealed, none of the CO2 can escape so it is trapped in the wine in the form of bubbles.
Making wine in this way means the wines taste very intense and fresh. There is no contact with the lees, it’s a simple, fresh flavour that makes the wine so appealing. When the wine has completed the secondary fermentation, it goes through the clarifying process and is then bottled under pressure with a bit of extra sugar added and this is known as the dosage. The dosage is what will determine how sweet or dry the finished wine will be.
Brut: this is the driest of the prosecco levels and therefore has the lowest sugar level.
Extra Dry: I know it sounds a bit odd, but “extra dry” is in fact a bit sweeter than brut. This is the classic style of prosecco and the perfect choice for an aparetif.
Dry: Sweeter still than the extra dry, it is ideal as an after dinner drink when you might choose to eat something with a touch of sweetness such as a biscuit or some fruit or dark chocolate that aren’t super sweet.
Demi-sec: You don’t see many demi-sec prosecco’s on the UK market, but if you do, try it with a rich, sweet dessert. Delicious.
Remember, the level of sweetness in a prosecco is not an indication of how good the wine is. That is a personal preference. Drink what you like. Try all of the different ones and find the style that suits you.