How Prosecco is made
The Prosecco winemaking method is called the Martinotti Method (aka Tank Method) and was invented in the early 1900s.
Prosecco Superiore is the name of the wine made in Conegliano Valdobbiadene. It's made from at least 85% Glera grapes.
Other local grape varieties make up to 15% in the blend.
The following are the grapes of Conegliano Valdobbiadene:
- Glera: Aromatic and high acid with jasmine, ripe peach, grapefruit, and even tropical fruit notes.
- Verdiso: Meaning green, this grape brings salinity and acidity.
- Perera: Gives fruit purity and perfume.
- Bianchetta: Adds spicy aromas and can soften acidity.
- Glera Lunga: the little sister of Glera, this adds herbal and orange peel notes.
Grapes get pressed (maximum 70 liters of wine per 100 kg of grapes) which is similar to Champagne. Then, a still base wine is made.
Next, the base wine then goes into a closed, pressurized tank, where a second fermentation happens. Here, yeast consumes sugar and creates carbon dioxide, making a sparkling wine. This technique is called the Martinotti Method (aka Tank Method).
The technique preserves the freshness in Glera, creating an aromatic style of sparkling wine.
You can find different styles made with the Martinotti Method, which vary not only in sugar content, but in flavor profile.
Where does sweetness in Prosecco Superiore come from?
While other sparkling wines like Champagne add cane or beet sugar to finalize the sweetness level, Prosecco Superiore does not. The sweetness comes from residual grape sugars leftover in the wine. In fact, it’s one of the few sparkling wines that can achieve this due to the process in how it’s made.
Sweetness Levels in Prosecco Superiore Wines
Extra-Brut – (0–6 g/L) The driest style made from the ripest, sweetest grapes because it has no added sweetness. Lean, bone-dry sparkling wines.
Brut – (0–12 g/L) A bone-dry style made from the ripest, sweetest grapes. Lean, aromatically fruity, dry sparkling wines.
Extra-Dry – (12–17 g/L) Fruity Prosecco Superiore wines which can be made with grapes grown in valleys with less sweetness and more acidity. Fruity, peachy, dry sparkling wines.
Dry – (17–32 g/L) An off-dry style. Fruity, highly aromatic, just sweet sparkling wines.