What is Prosecco? For starters, it’s one of our favorite celebratory wines for special occasions. But beyond that, it’s also fantastic to pair alongside food.
Prosecco wine, known for its vibrancy, easy drinkability, and approachable price point, is much more than a cheap alternative to Champagne. With crisp acidity, refreshing effervescence, and low alcohol, one sip instantly brightens the palate and allows any dish paired with it to shine.
This guide will cover everything you need to know to build the perfect Prosecco food pairing. We’ll go over tasting notes, labeling terms, serving recommendations, and of course, tons of awesome recipes!
Characteristics of Prosecco Wine
Prosecco is a light-bodied sparkling white wine made in the Veneto region of Italy, located in its northeastern corner. It’s made from the glera grape, previously known simply as the prosecco grape.
Is Prosecco sweet? The short answer is: sometimes.
Prosecco is typically found brut or dry, though off-dry examples with subtle residual sugar are common. Prosecco has developed a reputation for being sweeter than its counterparts, Champagne and Cava, though this isn’t necessarily accurate. Because Prosecco is more fruit-driven, it often appears sweeter.
One of Prosecco’s more charming aspects is its affordability compared to other sparkling wines. While it is true that most good bottles of Prosecco can be found under $20, this isn’t necessarily because it’s of lower value.
The biggest difference between Prosecco and more expensive sparkling wines, such as Champagne or Cava, comes from the winemaking method.
The Charmat Winemaking Method
Prosecco is made using the Charmat method, also known as the tank method or Prosecco method. This process differs from Champagne and Cava because the secondary fermentation (what makes the bubbles) occurs in airtight sealed tanks instead of in bottles.
This process is more cost-effective and less time-consuming. In addition, since Prosecco is never aged in oak, this also dramatically reduces the cost of making this wine.
The resulting wine usually has bigger bubbles than in Champagne or Cava, though they dissipate more quickly.
While the flavor is more “simple” than expensive sparkling wines, it is nonetheless a great food pairing wine or celebratory beverage that’s sure to satisfy – without breaking the bank.
Prosecco Tasting Notes
Prosecco is a light-bodied sparkling white wine with high acidity and low alcohol, usually around 11-12% ABV.
Prosecco is rarely aged, though some superior examples of Prosecco can develop honey or nutty flavors in bottles. These superior examples will usually be labeled “Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore,” “Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive,” or “Superiore di Cartizze.”
Expect Prosecco to have flavors of green apple, pear, lemon, honeydew melon, and honeysuckle.
How to Serve
Prosecco is best served chilled between 40F-45F in a tulip glass or Champagne flute. Decanting is not necessary.
Prosecco’s Winemaking Region
Similarly to Champagne, Prosecco can only legally be made in one region. In this case, it’s the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions located in northeastern Italy. As mentioned earlier, Prosecco is made from the glera grape, which until the mid-2000s, was named the prosecco grape.
This change occurred when the Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region obtained DOCG status. Producers wanted to avoid confusion between this region – where Prosecco is made – and a town in Italy that was coincidentally also named Prosecco.
Today, Prosecco is an inexpensive sparkling wine that is enjoyed throughout the day all over Italy. It is often combined with white peach juice to make the infamous Italian cocktail, the bellini.
Prosecco Food Pairings
Prosecco has all the makings of an excellent food pairing wine. With its zippy acidity, low alcohol, and refreshing citrus flavor, it’s an ideal wine to pair with rich and fatty dishes like fried snacks or cream sauces. It would be perfect alongside our Fried Goat Cheese Balls or alongside steak and our Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce.
Dry and off-dry Prosecco is just sweet enough to balance out spicy cuisines, so consider pairing it with trickier cuisines, like Indian or Korean. Brut Prosecco is perfect for pairing with fresh seafood, including sushi, ceviche, or crab cakes. For easy dishes to enjoy it with, try our Shrimp Ceviche, Salmon Ceviche, or Crab Cakes!
Avoid pairing Prosecco wine with hearty proteins, herb-focused dishes, or strong cheeses, as these will make Prosecco taste bitter and less fruity when paired.
There’s so much to love about cold, crisp Prosecco wine! Have a favorite food pairing you love to enjoy it with? Be sure to let us know below in the comments!