Q: What are the real differences between Champagne vs. Prosecco and why does one cost so much more than the other?
A: The quick answer is Champagne is from France and Prosecco is from Italy, but there are some other things to know about both wines –especially if you like bubbly wine.
Champagne is a sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France around the city of Reims about 80 miles (130 km) Northeast of Paris.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy around the city of Treviso about 15 miles (24 km) North of Venice.
Champagne Taste Profile
Tasting Notes: Since Champagne is aged longer on the yeast particles (called lees), it will often have a cheese rind like flavor that in finer examples comes across as toasty or biscuity. Since the wines are aged in bottles under high pressure the bubble finesse is fine, persistent and sharp. Vintage-dated Champagnes often have almond-like flavors along with orange-zest and white cherry.
Food Pairing: Since most Champagne is intensely dry and has high acidity it works wonderfully as an aperitif matched with shellfish, raw bar, pickled vegetables and crispy fried appetizers. Sipping Champagne with potato chips may sound low-brow, but it’s an insanely good pairing
Prosecco Taste Profile
Tasting Notes: Prosecco tends to have more present fruit and flower aromas which are a product of the grape. Because the wines are aged in large tanks with less pressure Prosecco bubbles are lighter, frothy and spritzy with less persistence. Finer Prosecco wines often exhibit notes of tropical fruits, banana cream, hazelnut, vanilla and honeycomb.
Food Pairing: Prosecco leans more towards the sweeter end of the spectrum and because of this it’s an ideal match with cured meats and fruit-driven appetizers like prosciutto-wrapped melon and middle-weight Asian dishes such as Thai noodles and sushi.
Why Does Champagne Cost So Much More than Prosecco?
Technically speaking, Champagne is more expensive to make than Prosecco but one of the biggest factors in the big cost discrepancy is market demand. Because Champagne is perceived as a region for luxury wines it can command higher prices. On the other hand, we aren’t used to spending more than $20 for a bottle of Prosecco even though you can find exceptional Prosecco in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG and Colli Asolani DOCG regions.
Champagne is a cooler growing region than Prosecco and thus makes less fruity, minerally wines.
Basic Wine Guide Poster
Supercharge your wine smarts with a beautiful (and useful) poster. Tactile information you can put to use the next time you pop a bottle.
Looking for other great bubbly value regions?
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Learn about French Sparkling Wine
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