We love sparkling wine — so much so, in fact, that we want to drink it right away. And while Champagne is best with some age on it, Prosecco actually benefits from immediate bubbly consumption. Whether you drink it straight, mix it with some juice at brunch or use it to top off a cocktail, Prosecco is meant to be drunk straightaway — and we can’t wait.
So why is it that Prosecco is better for immediate consumption? While Champagne often presents yeasty, bread-like notes, the flavor profile of Prosecco is fresh, fizzy and fruit-forward. The reason behind these flavor differences stems from the production methods of the wines. Both Champagne and Prosecco undergo a secondary fermentation, though while Champagne’s takes place in bottle via the méthode traditionelle, Prosecco’s takes place in stainless steel vats via the Charmat method. This results in a wine that can be spumante, frizzante or even tranquillo (still.) For bubbly producers, the Charmat method is much less expensive than the méthode traditionelle and a much faster way to produce wine. Champagne spends quite a bit of time aging on its lees, imparting savory characteristics of toast and brioche. This is a necessary, time-consuming component in Champagne production, shifting the flavor of the wine from fresh to savory. Since this step isn’t required in Prosecco production, the wine is good to go in a matter of months, finishing with a refreshing, fruity profile.
Another reason Prosecco is meant to be drunk young is the acidity to sugar ratio in the wine. In Champagne production, grapes are harvested young while their acidity is still very high. This creates a high-acid base wine, which is the key to age-worthy sparkling. Prosecco generally has a higher sugar to acid ratio than Champagne, making its aging potential much lower. The crisp flavors of Prosecco are meant to be enjoyed as young as possible, while the acidity and fruit-forwardness are still fresh. Hang onto your bottle for too long and the wine can actually go stale. Consuming a bottle of Prosecco within a year of its vintage is ideal. So, when your next immediate sparkling craving strikes, pop that Prosecco and let those youthful bubbles flow!