Prosecco is a late ripening white wine grape variety. It is native to northeastern Italy. Prosecco is commonly made into lightly sparkling wine, reaching its zenith in the cooler elevated vineyards of the Veneto's Valdobbiadene DOCG. Given the insatiable thirst for sparkling wine around the world, Prosecco's wines have found a comfortable niche as easy-drinking aperitifs. In some markets, including Japan and the United States where all things Italian appear to be perpetually fashionable, better quality Prosecco is perceived as a reasonably priced substitute for Champagne. Plantings are increasing rapidly.
While the commercial appeal of sparkling wines of European origin cannot be denied, especially in restaurants and wine bars, Prosecco is very different to Champagne due to its frothy texture, slightly astringent texture, and its relatively simple aromas of apple and pear. This is because Prosecco does not undergo a secondary fermentation in bottle, nor is it aged extensively on lees. Rather, Prosecco is fermented in tank before eminent bottling with low atmospheric pressure and a light fizz, to preserve the wine's spritely and fresh fruit.
Prosecco is also planted extensively in Argentina, although superior examples are increasingly found in Australia's King Valley, in northeastern Victoria. Here, Italian emigres, many from Italy's north, have turned to commercial viticulture following the demise of the region's tobacco industry; ravaged by stringent regulations and low returns. The Prosecco here tends to be fruitier, rounder and more concentrated. Indeed, many examples such as Dal Zotto and Pizzini offer the thirst-slaking freshness of Italy's finest.