Top 10 defining drinks trends of this century so far

7. Italian appeal: Prosecco’s rapid rise

The world’s largest region for sparkling wine by volume, it is amazing to think that when db launched, Prosecco was barely on the wine trade’s radar. With production growing tenfold in the past decade, this tank method fizz from northeast Italy has outgrown all other sparkling wine appellations, yielding the equivalent of almost 600m bottles in the last harvest (almost double the output from Champagne), when it was making fewer than 60m in 2008. As db reported at the end of last year, Prosecco could be on course to hit the one-billion bottle mark soon, that is, if the DOC becomes fully planted, and conditions, as well as regulations on yields, allow.

Such an output may be excessive, as demand for the fizz in its biggest markets, led by the UK, is starting to show signs of stagnation. But in spring 2015 db broke news that such was the thirst for the aromatic, slightly sweet fizz in the UK, there might not be enough to go round. Having predicted a Prosecco shortage by the summer, within days every newspaper, wire and channel had picked up on the story, prompting panic buying among UK consumers. We had already been at the forefront of Prosecco reporting, and the previous year, had become the first publication to hold a blind tasting for this product, launching the Prosecco Masters at the start of 2014. Testing the theory by some in the trade that ‘all Prosecco tastes the same’, we held a sampling for every style and price band, taking in established brands and supermarket own-labels.

The result showed this was a diverse category, with plenty of variation in style and quality, connected to production technique, but also grape sourcing. Having run this competition every year since – while retaining our position as the only comprehensive blind tasting for Prosecco – we have learnt where the quality lies. In general, the hillsides of DOCG regions Conegliano, Valdobbiadene and Asolo yield the most characterful Proseccos, especially in distinctive sub-zones, dubbed Rive, while the sweet spot for the fizz seems to be the extra-dry classification, which is, much to the confusion of most consumers, sweeter than Brut. Notably, over the course of this century, Prosecco seems to have taken over as Italy’s ‘new Pinot Grigio’, which was once the country’s most voluminous product, but, with a 300m-bottle output, is now half the size of Prosecco. It has also proved the nation’s leader in fizz, even though a decade ago it was thought that Moscato – which is sweeter and lighter – would become the next global sparkling phenomenon.

Toast: Val D’Oca, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Brut, Rive di Colbertaldo (Medal-winner, Prosecco Masters)

One Response to “Top 10 defining drinks trends of this century so far”

  1. Greg Fischer says:

    With green drinks in mind – The most sustainable wine on Earth is Mead. Craft Mead has developed not to be that off tasting syrupy overly sweet wine. With the different varietals of honey we are seeing craft meadmakers make fine mead both dry and sweet. Our Meadery Wild Blossom in Chicago produces the most locally wine made in the city.

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