If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably stood aimlessly in the middle of the sparkling wine aisle at the liquor store on too many occasions. Whenever I’m in that situation, I’m usually debating between champagne and prosecco. I mean, what’s the difference between champagne and prosecco, anyway? Both are bubbly, both are delicious, and both are (somewhat) affordable. After 10 minutes of weighing the pros and cons of each bottle, I usually end up opting for whatever is the cheapest. Isn’t that always the case?
Anyway, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to understand the differences between the two so I can make a quick and educated decision during my next bubbly run. Before doing research, I knew one thing from experience: Champagne was almost always more expensive than prosecco. Therefore, I usually opted for the latter during my liquor store runs. Still, I wanted to know more about what caused that price difference, and why people choose one over the other. Did it have to do with the grapes that were used to make each bottle? Or, did it have to do with the wine-making process? Believe it or not, both factors are involved, and they help differentiate one from the other.
Let’s start with my personal favorite, prosecco. According to WineFolly.com, prosecco is made from glera grapes in the Veneto region of Italy (that’s one characteristic that sets it apart from champagne). Because of those grapes, prosecco usually features sweet, fruity flavors like green apple, honeydew melon, cream, and pear.
So, why it typically cheaper than champagne? Apparently, you can thank its production method. Per WineFolly.com, prosecco is made by using the "Tank Method," which is simpler and more affordable than champagne’s production process (which I’ll get into soon). In case you haven’t already scoured your liquor store for a bottle, you can usually find prosecco for $12 to $14 a pop — no pun intended.
OK, let’s get into champagne. It’s classic, it’s bubbly, and it’s delicious — but how is it different from prosecco? According to WineFolly.com, champagne is made from pinot meunier, pinot noir, and chardonnay grapes in the Champagne region of France (go figure!). Because of those grapes, champagne has a "sharper" taste and features aromas like citrus, peach, toast, and white cherry.
Apparently, the process behind making champagne is different than prosecco, which reportedly affects its cost. According to WineFolly.com, champagne is made using the "Traditional Method" — aka the Classic Method — which brings the wine through an extensive process of fermentation, aging, consolidation, and more. Per WineFolly, you can grab a standard bottle for $40 — so maybe you can save the champagne for a special occasion.
As you can see, the major differences between prosecco and champagne have to do with four factors: the grapes that are used, the wine-making processes, the regions where they’re made, and, of course, their tastes. If you prefer a sweet bubbly drink that won’t break the bank, opt for prosecco. If you want to splurge on a classic bottle that has a bitter taste, opt for champagne.
Hopefully this article comes in handy next time you’re standing aimlessly in the bubbly aisle at the liquor store. Cheers!
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