Tuesday 28 February 2017

Wine: Add some sparkle to Mothers Day

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

It's time to advise all you Prosecco lovers of a new word for your wine vocabulary, although Prosecco purists will never have to utter its name. Producers of the much-adored Italian bubbly have displayed a territorial streak akin to that shown in Champagne in France, which successfully fought to protect its brand by ensuring that the use of the name is confined to sparkling wine produced in that region.

Prosecco has its origins in an area north east of Venice, where it was named after a native grape, Prosecco, in turn named after a local village.

The problem for producers was that winemakers elsewhere could legitimately cash in on Prosecco's popularity by producing a wine from the same grape and labelling it so.

But it's not the real thing if it hasn't been grown and produced in our hills, said the proud Prosecco producers.

The Italians called in the EU, which decreed that from the 2009 vintage the use of the word Prosecco must be confined to wines produced from the Prosecco grape grown in specific zones.

So, what of a similar-style bubbly made from the Prosecco grape grown outside the demarcated zone? Champagne-style sparklers made elsewhere in France are called Crémant, and something similar from around the world may only claim to be something like 'Champagne method'.

The Italians pulled out an old name for the grape, Glera, to distinguish the fruit from the fizz. So, from now on, Prosecco can be used only to describe a wine from the demarcated zones and not for the grape variety.

One of the first to fall foul of the new regulations was Marks & Spencer, which had 14,400 bottles of its pink, sparkling Prosecco-style wine, Rosecco, seized by the Italian authorities.

The clever play on the Prosecco name did not amuse, while Rosecco's pink hue -- from the addition of the red grape Raboso -- also breaches the rules. There is no such thing as pink Prosecco, and while up to 15pc other grapes may be used along with Glera, they must me white.

Another early target of the Prosecco police is something called Prosecco Capriola, produced in Germany for Tesco.

So, hello Glera and long live Prosecco.

W

Irish Independent

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