Sep 06: The rigid laws of DOC Prosecco do not allow making of Pink Prosecco, the way rose bubbly is known in the Prosecco making region but that is about to change with the Consortium indicating that the new category in the popular variant might be announced soon, but it will allow up to 15% of only Pinot Noir grown in the Prosecco region, the balance 85% will have to continue to be the already specified grape Glera, this step giving further boost to the 600 million bottle sale of the ubiquitous fizz
Ask any importer in India, or even a hotel/restaurant and certainly most consumers-they have been happily sipping away Pink Prosecco for several years now- almost as long as the Prosecco Brut was introduced over a decade ago and took off, taking the sparkling wine market by the storm. Whether it is Mionetto Vivo Rose (imported by Sanjeev Gupta of Hi Spirits) or San Simone Rose (imported by Amit Agarwal of Hema Connoisseurs), the story is the same.
The fact is that there is no such thing as Pink Prosecco. Cashing on the popularity of the fizzy Prosecco, first the Consortium was formed in 2009 separately for DOC Prosecco which changed the name of the Prosecco grape to the earlier, less popular Glera. A significant number of producers started making the pink version as well because of the demand. Made from local red grapes, it was known as Spumante or Sparkling wine, never mind if the importer or the distributor in India or elsewhere chose to call it Pink Prosecco or Rose Spumante- which means higher pressure in the bottle as in Brut but any local grape variety would do. The earlier DOC region was of course upgraded to DOCG at the same time in 2009.
India is not alone in calling it Pink Prosecco- it is still fashionable to call it pink champagne which is also ‘illegal’. Calling Italian Rose made within the Prosecco country is already being sold as Pink Prosecco by some producers. Check out the website of totalwine and look for Riondo Pink Prosecco Rabosco!
Freixenet brought out the label Freixenet Italian Rose this Spring and ‘The Sun’ described, ‘Freixenet now makes ROSE ‘Prosecco’ and it could be our new favourite tipple’. It is sold at Tesco for £12 while the regular Cava Brut sells for £8.50. The news report qualifies though that technically it's not Prosecco-‘the fizz watchdogs will only allow booze made purely from white grapes from the correct region to be called Prosecco, but it is made with the same grapes and in the same region by the prosecco experts’.
The current laws allow the use of other white grapes only to the extent of 15%, that may include Bianchetta Trevigiana, Chardonnay, Glera lunga, Perera, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Verdiso, with the exception of red Pinot Noir which may also be added to the extent of 15%. Glera has to be the predominant grape with a minimum of 85%.
Following perhaps the popularity of the Rose champagne and even Cava which allows Rose Cava by using Pinot Noir and the local variety Trapat, the Consorzio is veering around the idea of Pink Prosecco but (for the moment) with only Pinot Noir. The Prosecco producers are happy but foxed as to why the local grapes like Refosco from the same soil would not be allowed.
Stefano Zanette, President of Prosecco DOC Consortium elected for the third time for the 3-year term in May, 2018, had said earlier this year that he believed it was appropriate time now to propose that Prosecco Rosé be officially introduced into Prosecco DOC Appellation. The new rules of DOC could allow the addition of a proportion of red wine to the white wine, before the second fermentation in the tank to produce sparkling rosé and call it pink Prosecco. It is also recommended that the Pink Prosecco (Rosato) would be made in the spumante style, which means the wine is at a higher pressure than the frizzante wines also made in the DOC appellation.
When asked whether the addition of pink fizz to the Prosecco would be a good move for the DOC, Francesco Zonin , Vice- President of one of the biggest Prosecco producers and represented in India by Aspri Spirits, says he would support such a decision, and that Zonin 1821 will probably make a Prosecco rosé from this year’s harvest, but added that such a change must be incorporated using strict guidelines. “If you blend 5-10% red wine made with grapes from the same area and produce something that is similar in taste and style to Prosecco, then why not?,” he says. Besides Refosco, Merlot and Corvina are other popular grapes in the Veneto region.
‘If you look at the trend of rosé right now, you see rosés coming from all over Italy,’ he says, wondering if it was wrong to make beautiful rosé from Sangiovese in Tuscany.
There has been a reason for the Consortium following the rigid rule earlier and allowing only Brut. Some traditionalists believe that the concept of pink Prosecco may be seen as a dilution of the regional brand which has been built over a long period because of the simplicity and singularity of the product. Most people agree however, that the commercial potential of pink Prosecco outweighs the possible risk to the image of Prosecco which is now the highest selling sparkling wine variant in the world, having overtaken first Cava and then Champagne in sales. This year will see a production of over 600 million bottles of Prosecco DOC and DOCG and the people are already eying the one- billion mark, last year the combined sale was over 550 million bottles- perhaps more than Champagne and Cava combined.
Meanwhile, according to the report in dB there is no suggestion that the Consortium of DOCG wines made in the inner, hilly areas of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Asolo will follow the lead.
So after the current harvest, you might be drinking in India what is an authentic Prosecco Rosato DOC, although Arun Kumar, Director of Aspri Spirits and the Zonin Distributor in India, is not sure if India will be one of the countries that would get the pink Prosecco soon. ‘They will first try it out in other countries like the US and UK where it is popular’. Ditto for Freixenet Italian Rose- Freixenet label is also imported by Aspri.
If you liked this Article, or if you are a fan of Prosecco,
you might like the following earlier Articles:
View Point: Italy-Australia Prosecco Debate hits Press
Bubble Trouble for Prosecco still not over in Australia
Italian Producers may Challenge Oz rights to produce Prosecco
Blog : Prosecco 1754 or Frizzante 1593-or Fynes 1593
Blog : Prosecco Van in the London Land
Italians Upset about Unfair Tirade against Proseccox
Jacob’s Creek introduces Prosecco Spritz in Australia
Prosecco Producers Apply for GI Status in India
Say ‘Chak de Phatte’ with Prosecco This Festive Season
Wine Travels: Passing through Prosecco land
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