The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Pricey Prosecco

Posted on | February 11, 2010 | Written by Frank Sansotta | 7 Comments

Get ready, America. Prosecco prices are undoubtedly rising soon. But this increase is for good reason: the production zone of Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene has finally received DOCG Status. This superior growing zone is restricted to the hills around the towns of the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in northern Veneto. In these areas, production yields are naturally lower due to vineyards being planted on sloping terraces.

As anyone worth his or her weight in jeroboams knows, low yields assure drinkers higher quality wines than those produced from vineyards with high yields, such as those wines formerly produced under the more relaxed DOC and IGTs of Veneto. These regions churn out enormous amounts of sparkling wine each year, and Prosecco from these areas have become very popular internationally due to their everyday price appeal. While there are certainly many products from these regions that drink well and have their place at the table, now there will be more quality wines.

The theory behind creating a new DOCG is to ensure that a higher quality product makes it to the market and to help reduce the large amount of overproduction in the area. Unquestionably, some concerns arise; many American consumers may balk at the price tag that will accompany these superior Proseccos because most American consumers see Prosecco as an alternative to more expensive champagne.  However, while DOCG will certainly fetch higher prices due smaller production, the installation of a Cru system similar to that of Barolo in Piedmont will also bring about far more exciting, high-quality, artisanal Proseccos. Soon DOCG producers will be able to label wines with a singular “Cru,” which will help bring more attention to the area and develop a profound following of Cru Prosecco.

The most important question is this: are Americans ready to fork over $30, $40, or even $50 for Cru Prosecco? Or will this entire idea backfire? It will be interesting to see. It will certainly be fun as a trade member to taste each Cru and experience what a boutique Prosecco tastes like.

Let me ask you: America, are you ready?

Comments

7 Responses to “Pricey Prosecco”

  1. Keith Hickson
    February 11th, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

    I’m up for the task and will gladly volunteer my time.

  2. Frank Sansotta
    February 12th, 2010 @ 9:53 am

    Keith,
    I will certainly update the public on my favorite cru’s –

  3. Keith Hickson
    February 13th, 2010 @ 8:09 am

    Please do keep us informed. My wife and both like Prosecco but are both very much the novices. We hosted a small Super Bowl party and as our guests arrived I started pouring the Col Vetoraz we purchased from IWM. It was very well received. As a matter of fact, it was so well received that we had several bottles of unopened wine and a 12 pack of Sam Adams left over that our guests had brought but never got around to drinking.

  4. Melissa Sutherland
    February 13th, 2010 @ 11:24 am

    Keith — Love that story. I think it also illustrates how Prosecco plays well with a range of foods and how it undoubtedly pleases a crowd. Your party is definitely a gateway for transforming Prosecco initiates into Prosecco “Cru” enthusiasts.

  5. Scott G
    February 14th, 2010 @ 9:11 am

    I don’t buy the implied claim that the restricted status is in the best interest of the consumer. Let’s be honest: this mostly benefits the landowners and winemakers within the zone. Slapping DOCG on a label doesn’t guarantee quality; a similar argument was made by the long-time Bordeaux houses when the garagistes appeared on the scene.

    Isn’t prosecco supposed to be fun? A nice, simple sparkler to enjoy without having to pay alot of money for it?

  6. Frank Sansotta
    February 15th, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

    Scott,
    I can see where you are coming from on this. I hope this DOCG status elevates the quality as well as creates great small producers out side the DOCG Zones. I think the DOCG status will help develop the area into one of great quality.

  7. Ben Golden
    September 8th, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    Hey Frank –

    Just wondering if you ever had Sciarpa prosecco and what you think about that one? Thanks, Benjamin A. Golden

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