Champagne vs Prosecco: The Real Differences


March 11, 2015 Blog » Learn About Wine » Champagne vs Prosecco: The Real Differences

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-bottle-gold-label-illustration

Champagne

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.

  • Made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes
  • Produced using a costly method called the ‘Traditional Method’
  • A standard pour of Brut Champagne has ~128 Calories (12% ABV)
  • $40 for a good entry-level Champagne
prosecco-blue-label-bottle-illustration

Prosecco

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.

  • Made with Prosecco (a.k.a. Glera) grapes
  • Produced using an affordable method called the ‘Tank Method’
  • A standard pour of Prosecco has ~121 Calories (11% ABV)
  • $12-14 for a good entry-level Prosecco

Champagne taste notes by Wine Folly
Citrus Fruits, White Peach, White Cherry, Almond, Toast

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 notes by Wine Folly
Green Apple, Honeydew Melon, Pear, Honeysuckle, Fresh Cream

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.


champagne-vs-prosecco

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-vs-prosecco-europe-mapChampagne is a cooler growing region than Prosecco and thus makes less fruity, minerally wines.
 

Basic Wine Guide

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.

Basic Wine Guide

 
Looking for other great bubbly value regions?

The 23 Sparkling Wines of France

sparkling-wines-of-france-map
All told, there are 23 regions of France that make sparkling wine. Outside of Champagne, ‘Traditional Method’ sparkling wines are typically called Cremant.
Learn about French Sparkling Wine

Spanish Sparkling Wine: Cava

cava-wine-blend
In Spain, the top ‘Traditional Method’ sparkling wine is called Cava, which is produced primarily around Barcelona. Olé!
Spanish Cava: Bubbles on the Cheap

 


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By Madeline Puckette
I'm a certified wine geek with a passion for meeting people, travel, and delicious food. You often find me crawling around dank cellars or frolicking through vineyards. Find me at @WineFolly