May 31: While the Pink Prosecco DOC became a reality last year with several producers announcing the launch of the moniker with 10-15% Pinot Noir, it is already proving to be an unprecedented success with producers predicting a shortage due to the lack of availability of eligible Pinot Noir grapes, writes Subhash Arora who has found so far, a lukewarm interest from Indian importers who are reeling under the back-breaking Covid Crisis, despite the immense popularity of the Brut and Extra-Dry styles of Prosecco
Pinot Noir is the only red grape variety that can be legally blended with Glera (Prosecco) to produce the rosé version according to the appellation rules, and since there have been young vineyards planted with Pinot Noir across the nine production zones of Prosecco, many of which are still not giving enough yields and with the new ruling in effect since the harvest of 2019, a shortage is already expected this year and the production may be less than the expected requirement of 50-75 million bottles.
The availability of Pinot Noir grapes in 2020 was not substantial, and yet nobody expected the style to become such a huge success in the UK and US (delWine has been predicting a big success with an extra market share of over 50 million bottles, despite the expected reduction of 20-25 million bottles of Rose Spumante being already sold). The bottleneck is expected also because according to the regulations, growers cultivating vineyards in their second year of production are allowed to harvest only 50% of the possible total yield for that variety.
There was a deadline of 31 July 2020 for planting Pinot Noir eligible for Pink Prosecco and the new vineyards will only become productive in 2021 and 2022, according to The Drinks Business. Moreover, there is a restricted production area of Pinot Noir within the Prosecco production zone. Thus, an increase in Price in the new category cannot be ruled out.
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Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC had given the expected permission last May and exports were also allowed from November 2020. 16.8 million bottles of pink Prosecco were made across the appellation.
Introduction of the new variant Pink Prosecco has been good news for the producers who had been enjoying an unprecedented success and an unstoppable growth in sales which was expected to touch 1 billion bottles during the next few years. But they had to suffer a drop in Sales last year due to Covid. Even the production was capped at 15 tons/hA for Prosecco DOC (as compared to the allowed 18 tons/hA) and 12 tons/hA for Prosecco Superiore DOCG.
Pink Prosecco shortage on the cards this year (thedrinksbusiness.com)
Regulations for Pink Prosecco
According to regulations Pink Prosecco must use 85-90% Glera grapes blended with 10%-15% Pinot Nero (Noir). In terms of style, the sweetness may range from Brut Nature (0-3 gms) to Brut (1-12 gms) and Extra Dry (12-17 gms) only; the Dry (much sweeter) version of Prosecco doc is not allowed). The maximum yield for rosé Prosecco is 18 tons/ hA for Glera, and 13.5 tons/hA for Pinot Noir. The fermented bubbly must spend at least 60 days in a pressurised tank during the second fermentation to stabilise the colour.
Also Read : Pink Prosecco will hit Market by Christmas 2019
The wines may be sold earliest on 1 January following the harvest, and labels must mention the vintage (unlike Prosecco doc) with a minimum of 85% of the grapes from the vintage stated on the label.
Stefano Zanette, president of the Prosecco DOC Consorzio, reportedly says, “we have to do what the market is expecting and everyone loves pale rosés. Our goal is to make a fruity Prosecco, but not jammy.’ Sparkling rosé can often be very heavy, making one feel tired after a few glasses. But good producers aim to keep it very fresh- the secret of success of white Prosecco.
According to The Drinks Business, the Australian Pop Princess Kylie Minogue has added a rosé Prosecco to her list of wines which sold over a million bottles since its Launch a year ago. Produced by Zonin from a blend of 85% Glera and 15% Pinot Noir, the vegan-friendly pale Pink Prosecco is a refreshing drink with notes of fresh strawberries, raspberries and blossom and the colour is modelled after Provenance.
For the uninitiated, Kylie Minogue performed at the wedding of the daughter of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, 17 years ago in June 2004 in France where the guests emptied 5,000 bottles of Mouton-Rothschild 1990, with the wine tab estimated to be US$1.5 million in June 2004
Pink Prosecco in India
An enquiry with some of the importers in India shows that they are reeling under the Covid menace and are in no mood to add the variant except Hema Connoisseurs who imports the popular San Simone Prosecco doc as well as the Rose Spumante. He has placed the order for the Pink Prosecco on the recommendation of delWine but the product is awaiting shipment as the shipping lines have drastically cut down on India as the destination. Aman Dhall of Brindco has also confirmed that they will soon have the Pink variant in their Sartori Ti Amo label.
Zonin was amongst the first producers from Veneto that betted heavily on the success of Pink Prosecco. Not only did it actively support the Consortium for many years to allow introducing Pink Prosecco, sensing a new market of 75 million bottles, he had the vision to have the variant ready for the new Appellation. Aspri Spirits, the importer of Zonin wines including Prosecco, has however confirmed it is not importing the Pink Prosecco for the moment, as informed by Arun Kumar the Director of Aspri to delWine.
Also Read : Authentic Pink Prosecco may be a Reality Soon
GI Registration in Singapore
There is another minor reason for the Italian Prosecco makers to celebrate with a glass or two of their frothy bubbly. The Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco has recently succeeded in registering “Prosecco” as a geographical indication (GI) despite a strong opposition from the Prosecco producers in Australia, who have already won their case against Prosecco in their own country, the case was recently decided in their favour after 4 years.
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