The popularity of Prosecco, the Italian equivalent of Champagne, is booming around the world. In South Africa, the trend is on the rise too as wine lovers discover the pleasures of this Italian sparkler.
"Increasingly, Prosecco is appreciated for its Italian heritage, refreshment, elegance and everyday drinkability," says Giuliana Abrahamse, operations and marketing director for Profumi D'Italia – South African-based importer of the Bottega range of classic Proseccos and sparkling wines. "It is versatile too and is equally good with food, throughout a meal, or on its own."
"Sales have escalated to such an extent in markets including the UK that Prosecco has even pipped Champagne," she adds. "Among the main reasons for this rise is that wine lovers have come to appreciate Prosecco's versatility, lightness, balance and pure fruit expression."
Eight years ago, Franco Vignazia realised South Africa was a growing market for quality Italian Prosecco, sparkling wines and spirits, and began importing them from Bottega. Three generations of the Bottega family have produced some of Italy's finest and most sought-after wines and spirits; their enterprise is situated in the heartland of Prosecco country at Bibano di Godega, near Venice.
Prosecco is an Italian sparkling white wine made predominantly of the Glera grape cultivar. It cannot be called a Prosecco if it is not made with the Glera (Prosecco) grape. Like Champagne and Port, the name Prosecco also enjoys geographic protection under law – its production is limited to the premier winemaking region of DOC Prosecco in north east Italy. Some of the earliest records of the wine date to the 16th century.
Bottega Prosecco Gold is notable for its persistent foam and fine bubble. Expect aromas of fruit and flowers, scents of Golden Delicious apples, Williams pears, and lily of the valley flowers. The Bottega Prosecco Brut has a fruity, floral nose with scents of acacia flowers, apple, white peach and citrus. A new entrant into the South African market, the Bottega Millesimato Brut is a light sparkling wine made from the Glera (Prosecco) grapes. It competes easily with local bubblies from a pricing perspective, but introduces the drinker to the international world of Prosecco.
Bottega also produces other sparkling wines made in the famous Charmat method, which are now available locally in South Africa. The Bottega Diamond is made from 100% Pinot Noir and spends a full year on the lees to produce a dry sparkling wine with fresh yellow fruit and spices on the palate.
The Sparkling Rosé Brut is a combination of Pinot Noir and a grape variety indigenous to the region, called Raboso. This combination creates a flavoursome and spicy blend of redcurrants, Golden Delicious apples and raspberries. It's an ideal match for grilled fish and other summer foods.
Wrapping up the range are two wines that resort under the Vino dell'Amore (wine of love) label and are notable for their lower alcohol levels. The fruity, slightly sweet Petalo Moscato is popular as an Italian dessert sparkling wine. It is straw yellow in colour with a delicate hint of roses and Turkish Delight. The Petalo Pink Moscato is characterised by a distinctive fruity, off dry taste. It has a fresh, intense and delicate nose with hints of rose, raspberry and spice.