The leading product of Italian wine exports worldwide, Prosecco has experienced (and is still experiencing) global growth in recent years. In addition to being the most exported wine to date, in 2014 it surpassed Champagne for the first time in terms of the number of bottles sold worldwide.
Undisputed king of aperitifs and fresh companion of countless summer evenings, Prosecco certainly enjoys such a reputation that many consider themselves to be experts in the product: in our perennial work of research in the world of wine, however, we have encountered two peculiarities related to the world of Prosecco that (perhaps) even the most passionate do not know.
The Prosecco DOC of... Piedmont
Prosecco is a synonym for northeastern Italy for any enthusiast, with particular reference to Veneto and Friuli: in order to protect the important cultural and entrepreneurial heritage represented by Prosecco, in fact, in 2009 the Controlled Denomination of Origin (DOC) was introduced, which defines the production in Friuli Venezia Giulia and in five provinces of Veneto. Areas such as Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Asolo (the only two to have received the DOCG designation and to be able to boast of the mention of Prosecco Superiore) as well as the hill of Cartizze (included in the area of Valdobbiadene) have given their names to the most famous and probably the best Italian prosciutto.
However, when in 2009 the National Committee for the Protection of Wines met in Rome to vote in favour of the proposal for the recognition of DOC Prosecco, it was decided to safeguard the possibility of making sparkling and semi-sparkling wines even in areas other than those where the grapes were produced. For this reason, an important production of Prosecco takes place in Piedmont, especially in Monferrato: in the year of recognition there was talk of over 20 million bottles, which represented about 25% of Italian production. In this way, the efforts and investments of numerous Piedmontese companies, which have contributed to the development, production and marketing of this wine, were recognized and protected.
Be wary of imitations
Sometimes, even for operators in the sector, it is not easy to distinguish between multiple acronyms, such as IGT, DOC and DOCG: all passages to which the same Prosecco has been subjected, in order to protect its name. Today, thanks to the work of protection carried out by the competent bodies, there are rules in force that limit the possibility of using the term Prosecco by producers not registered in the specification: for this reason, for example, the producers of the traditional sweet Dalmatian wine called Prošek had to adapt and change name.
However, the fame of this Italian product in the world has led many producers (even in decidedly exotic locations) to adopt this name, without anyone being able to prevent it, in the case of wineries far from the European territory. For this reason, in Brazil Garibaldi Prosecco is produced and marketed, in Australia they appreciate Vintage Prosecco and Redbank Prosecco. Whether behind these names there are Italian emigrants who so express their nostalgia for their land, or whether they are found merely for commercial purposes, the differences in know-how and especially in terroir between north-eastern Italy and the rest of the world mean that the real Prosecco can only be produced in the land where it was born.
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