In 2014 we began to import wine in kegs after a wonderful holiday in Italy with my husband and daughter where I tried “prosecco on tap” as we called it then for the first time.
I knew right away that this was a brilliant idea and perhaps even a huge turning point for the wine trade in the UK and so when we got home, I looked into it further and set up a meeting with a lovely chap called Giovanni. He worked for a traditional wine producer that had been making wine since 1881 in Veneto in north eastern Italy. These people first invented kegged wine about 40 years ago, so why did it take us so long to find out about it?
I scraped together just about enough money (thanks Dad!) to get a pallet of wine and quickly learned as much as I could about, prosecco, sparkling wine, frizzante, spumante, how to import wine and what I needed to do. This is what I found out about prosecco.
Prosecco has become something of a global phenomenon. It’s an Italian wine made in the north east of Italy and in 2009 became protected by law. The laws passed then decided where prosecco could be made, how it could be made, the name of the grapes used in production.
Prosecco used to be the name of the wine and also the grape. This changed with the law – the prosecco grape is now known as glera. Prosecco can also be made with other grapes, perera, bianchetta, verdiso and even chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot noir. Glera however is the main grape and must account for 85% of the final blend.
There are different styles of prosecco with three levels of fizz or “Perlage” if you’re feeling particularly fancy.
FRIZZANTE: This is the original style of prosecco is frizzante, a gently sparkling wine. It goes very well with food, its gentler on the stomach and personally I prefer this style.
SPUMANTE: It is due to demand from the UK consumer that a fizzier version of prosecco was produced. This is called spumante and you can tell it’s spumante because it has the mushroom cork and cage around it. When you drink it, it has far more bubbles.
TRANQUILO: Almost never exported, a still wine with no bubbles at all and purportedly accounts for just 5% of the total prosecco production.
When the consortsio changed the law, one of the things that they insisted on was that to be known as “prosecco” a wine must be served from a bottle. This is why kegged wine cannot be called prosecco; it is actually against the law. Happily though, most people are familiar with “frizzante” and so that’s what we use to describe our sparkling wine.