The difference between prosecco and champagne is that Champagne is named after the location it originated from. Coming from a region named Champagne, in the north-east of France. Other sparkling wines, that originate outside of champagne, will be labelled differently, examples include Prosecco and Cava.
Prosecco and Champagne production methods
Prosecco and champagne have differing production methods that give the drinks their specific tastes.
Champagne Production Method
The champagne production method begins with the picking and pressing of grapes. These grapes are typically hand-picked and go through vigorous quality checks before being pressed and then poured into barrels that have their temperature regulated between 17 and 20 degrees.
This is where the first fermentation process takes place and lasts for several weeks as the natural sugars from the grapes break-down to create still wine. Additional wines may be added to the still wine to also help create different versions of champagne.
The still wine then undertakes a second fermentation. This method is known as ‘champenoise’ which translates to the ‘traditional method’. Sugar and yeast will also be added before the bottles are sealed and placed in a cool cellar horizontally.
When the second fermentation process is over, the wine is then kept in a cellar and dead yeast cells are created.
According to the Champagne guidelines, wine must be aged for at least 15 months before it can be labelled as “non-vintage” champagne. For producers that want to create vintage champagne, they must leave the champagne in a cellar for a minimum of 3 years.
After the ageing process has ended, the bottles of champagne are placed in a rotating holder which is turned gradually every day until the bottles are upside down. This ensures that the dead yeast cells gather in the neck of the bottle.
When the dead yeast cells have gathered in the neck of the bottle, a process named disgorgement takes place. This is where the neck of the bottle is dipped in an ice-salt bath, which freezes the cells so that the cap can be taken off the bottle, and the pressure inside the bottle removes the dead yeast with force.
Through the process of disgorgement, you will lose some champagne, but this is where additional sugar, white wine or brandy are added.
The champagne can now be corked and properly secured. From here it can be aged further or enjoyed straight away.
Prosecco Production Method
The prosecco production method begins with the picking of Glera grapes in the month of September. This is when the Glera grapes are ripe enough to give prosecco, that memorable fizzy flavour. When the grapes have been vetted and made their way to the winery, the grapes are then pressed and the free-run must is collected.
The free-run must is collected and purified. The reason the must is collected is that it is deemed the highest quality part of the grape, as it has not been in contact with the pips of the grape. After it has been purified, it is transported to steel tanks that are left at 14 degrees Celsius, to mimic outside temperatures.
As the rest of the grapes are pressed and delivered to the steel tanks, natural yeast is added, starting the first fermentation process. This process lasts serval weeks and by the end of it, you are left with a base wine.
This is where the wineries will make their adjustments for tastes and vintages!
After the first fermentation is complete, we can begin the second fermentation process. The base wine will be fermented in large, pressurized tanks that have the specified yeasts added, which in turn give the prosecco its froth and bubbly characteristic.
After the second fermentation has been completed, the prosecco can now be bottled and enjoyed!
Prosecco and Champagne taste profiles
Prosecco Taste Profiles
The taste profiles of prosecco tend to be lighter than champagne. Typically leaning to fresher, lighter notes such as apple, peach and pear. This gives prosecco a nice, low-to-medium level of acidity.
Champagne Taste Profiles
The taste profiles of champagne consist of large citrus notes such as cherry and peach. Champagne can be rather dry and acidic, so a high level of acidity is expected, but some types of champagne can have sugar added to them to be sweeter on the palette.
Overall, prosecco and champagne are both special in their own right and bring different qualities to any celebration. With a modest price point of around £10, you can purchase a high-quality bottle of prosecco to toast any occasion.