The Battle of the Bubbles
Synonymous with celebrations, everyone enjoys a glass of bubbly on the odd occasion…
Feminine, sophisticated and classy, Prosecco is popular not only in South Africa where sales are up 24%, but globally 325 million bottles of this premium Italian sparkling wine are sold per year: that’s a lot more than the ‘odd occasion’. So why is Prosecco so popular? And how does it differ from MCC? And where do Champagne and Sparkling Wine fit in? Most importantly, what is the best option for your guests to toast the newlyweds?
Here are some pointers from Rowan Leibbrandt, founding owner of Cape Town-based premium drinks company, Truman & Orange:
- Prosecco is crisper, slightly sweeter and more delicate than MCC and both have a subtler fizz and softer bubble than sparkling wine. Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) is essentially the South African version of Champagne. It is made using the French bottle fermentation process and, aside from the grapes being South African and not from the French Champagne region, it is produced using the French ‘methode Champenoise’ where the liquid spends 9 months developing flavour in the bottle.
Recommendation:Try the newly-launched Grace du Roi Cape Gold or Cape Rose MCC for R119.99 a bottle. Made from Chardonnay grapes, the low yields from the dry winelands surrounding Paarl are hugely flavoursome. The grapes are harvested while still firm on the branch and fermented with only the slightest contact with French oak to create a beautifully-structured, elegant wine.
- While MCC, Champagne and Prosecco are all double-fermented to produce their unique fizziness, Prosecco’s second fermentation is according to the “Italian Charmant” method and involves fermenting in tanks. Prosecco is made to be drunk fresh and derives its delicate floral and lively fruity notes from the Glera grapes used to produce it, characteristic of the rolling hills they’re grown on in Northern Italy, in a relatively small area protected by the surrounding Alps, called Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata).
Recommendation:Try Mionetto Prosecco – as the world’s best-selling Prosecco, its R200 a bottle price tag answers the call for a premium, exceptionally-made, genuine Italian Prosecco fit for any occasion. Its price tag makes it possible to enjoy an imported glass of bubbly as an everyday luxury: an after-work aperitif, at a Summer brunch, as a sundowner on the beach or something to sip on while browsing at First Thursdays.
- Sparkling wine is created by carbonating wine, resulting in a large, even bubble and a distinctly different drinking experience. While MCC and Prosecco offer more refined effervescence, many people enjoy the more exciting fizz of sparkling wines and the sweetness created when bubbles pop on the palate.
Recommendation:Using grapes chosen for their balance of sweetness and acidity and harvested at night to maintain their freshness, Grace du Roi sparkling wines offer a lively bubble, and a refreshing green apple and pear character, while the Rose variants offer a hint of raspberry and cream. Naturally cold-fermented, the clean, delicate character of the Grace du Roi sparkling wines is gently fruity as a result of their Chenin Blanc base and the use of the cuvee (first press) of the grapes. The wines in the blend are kept separate to allow flavour to develop first before marrying achieving a ‘state of Grace’: lighter, more delicate flavours. Retailing at only R74.99 a bottle, we’d recommend trying each of the 3 variants: White Gold, Rose Gold and White Sapphire.
Still battling to decide which to choose? This might help: a glass of Prosecco contains only about 80 calories, while a glass of MCC or Champagne contains around 130 calories and a glass of sparkling wine can contain up to 200 calories!