The all-new Prosecco DOC Rosé is set to entrench the iconic sparkling wine’s reputation as a more serious, but still chuggable, wine.

The next time you order a Prosecco, don’t be surprised when it pours pink. As of early 2020, the Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco — the association that oversee the making of Prosecco — officially announced that rosé Prosecco will become reality. The decree effectively allowed Prosecco producers from northeastern Italy, spanning the wine regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, to make a rosé version of Prosecco.

The introduction of Prosecco DOC Rosé marks a remarkable trajectory of growth for Prosecco. Though Prosecco itself has a long and entrenched tradition, Prosecco DOC itself was only established in 2009. Since then demand for Prosecco has skyrocketed across the world. Just consider these numbers: in 2009 just 120 million bottles of Prosecco were produced and sold; last year that figure was 500 million bottles. In Singapore we imported almost 290K bottles of Prosecco in 2014; in 2020 it was over half a million bottles.

Prosecco DOC Rosé

Glera, now with a touch of Pinot Nero

According to the consortium, one of the key reasons for introducing the new Prosecco DOC Rosé appellation was that Pinot Nero – Pinot Noir – was now grown in sufficient quantities in those wine growing regions to allow the making of rosé Prosecco. For those unfamiliar with the making of Prosecco, the sparkling wine is made using a method that introduces carbon dioxide into the wine that’s vastly different from the making of Champagne. The Charmat-Martinotti method (more commonly known as the Charmat method) essentially involves refermenting the wine in stainless steel tanks instead of in bottles, with the bubbles created by yeasts in the tank eating up sugar to create carbon dioxide.

The tank method – as opposed to the traditional method used for making Champagne – is preferred for the making of Prosecco because it helps to retain and enhance the floral and fruit-forward characteristics of Glera, the grape used to make Prosecco. In the making of rosé Prosecco however, a touch of Pinot Nero is added to give the wine its blush. It also changes the complexity of the wine, adding a whole different layer of flavours to the mix.

Another possible contributing reason to the introduction to Prosecco DOC Rosé the consortium might just not be saying? These Prosecco producers must have been looking on in envy across the Mediterranean over the other side of Italy to Provence in France, where demand for their delicate pink-hued wines has exploded across the world.

Prosecco DOC Rosé - Villa Sandi, Lagioiosa, Torresella

A Sparkling Reputation

But a little more about rosé Prosecco. While the Prosecco DOC appellation allows producers to make three types of Prosecco – tranquillo (still), frizzante and rifermentato in bottiglia (semi-sparkling), and spumante (sparkling) – Prosecco DOC Rosé only allows spumante. And while the former has six Prosecco styles ranging from brut nature to demi sec, rosé Prosecco has four – brut nature, extra brut, brut, and extra dry.

Italy started selling Prosecco DOC Rosé in October 2020, and those wines are finally making their way to our shores. You’ll soon find on our shelves shining pink-hued examples from iconic Prosecco producers such as Masottina, Villa Sandi, Viticoltori Ponte, Antonio Facchin & Figli, Zardetto, and many others.

Today you may know Prosecco as an easy-drinking, food-friendly, but generally forgettable, aperitif. The new rosé Prosecco may just help elevate Prosecco’s reputation as a more serious, but yet still eminently drinkable, sparkling wine.

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