It’s new for this Xmas. So here’s our pick of… the pink prosecco that’s worth popping
- The UK consumes around 36 per cent of the world’s total prosecco production
- Helen McGinn explains producers can now label their pink prosecco as rosé
- Drinks expert gives her verdict on a selection of the newest pink beverages
Whether it’s the pop of the cork or the fun, frothy fizz inside, prosecco has taken the nation’s taste buds by storm this past decade.
Sales have risen more than tenfold during that time, with official figures showing the UK consumes around 36 per cent of the world’s total production. That’s a staggering 131 million bottles a year.
But if you think we Brits have reached a prosecco peak, think again. Or rather, think pink.
For the first ever rosé prosecco will hit the supermarket shelves just in time to rescue what threatens to be a rather party-deprived Christmas.
Until now, only white sparkling wines from the Prosecco region in the north-east of Italy have been legally entitled to the name. Any pink stuff made in the same area, typically gaining its colour from the addition of the red raboso grape, has been saddled with the less elegant name rosato spumante.
Drinks expert Helen McGinn, gives her verdict on a selection of the newest pink beverages, as producers are given the ability to label their pink prosecco as rosé
However, there has long been a call by certain producers to change that — and create a blend of arguably the two biggest drinks trends of the decade: prosecco and rosé.
Recent changes to the law mean producers can now label their pink prosecco as rosé so long as they adhere to official guidelines set out by the Consorzio di Tutela, a regulatory body for prosecco.
Firstly, the wine must be made from the glera grape. Secondly, and crucially, the pinot noir (pinot nero) grape must make up 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the blend — this is what will give the wine its pink colour.
In addition, to produce a vintage wine the grapes must come from a single harvest and undergo 60 days of slow fermentation to increase complexity, compared with 30 days for normal prosecco.
This should make the bubbles ‘softer and creamier’ says David Gleave of Liberty Wines, an Italian wine specialist. ‘There is no doubt that the use of 15 per cent pinot nero will result in a better wine,’ he adds.
Dror Nativ, wine buyer for Marks & Spencer, is thrilled to be selling prosecco in pink form. ‘Prosecco is our customers’ favourite sparkling wine — we sell 5.4 million bottles of it every year — so we’re delighted to get this in stores ahead of Christmas,’ he says.
But which versions should you pop in your shopping basket — and which are better left on the shelf?
We put the newest pinks through their paces.
Tesco Finest Prosecco Rosé, £8, tesco.com
Helen said Tesco Finest Prosecco Rosé (pictured) has lots of fresh red berry fruit flavours and a twist of citrus
Having sold a staggering four million bottles in the month leading up to Christmas last year, no doubt Tesco is hoping this new addition to its selection will leave customers tickled pink.
Made for Tesco by Cantine Maschio, one of the biggest co-operative wineries in the Prosecco region, this is a real cracker with lots of fresh red berry fruit flavours, a twist of citrus and a pleasingly soft mousse (better known as bubbles). It’s brut, which means it’s drier than those marked ‘extra dry’. Refreshingly good quality and value. 5/5
FRESH . . . EXCITING
Taste The Difference Prosecco Rosé, £10, sainsburys.com
Helen said Taste The Difference Prosecco Rosé (pictured) has lovely, light strawberry aromas and plenty of summer pudding flavours on the palate
Sainsbury’s is one of many retailers claiming to be the first to have pink prosecco on their shelves — and it’s expecting it to be a big hit, accounting for 20 per cent of its prosecco sales before long.
This offering has lovely, light strawberry aromas and plenty of summer pudding flavours on the palate. Crucially, it has lots of freshness, too. 4/5
SUBTLE BUT SUBLIME
M&S Rosé Prosecco 2019, £10, marksandspencer.com
Helen said M&S Rosé Prosecco 2019 (pictured) leaves the taste buds wanting more, with lots of juicy flavours
The buyer at M&S says this is the only supermarket rosé prosecco from a family-run winery. Winemaker Adriano Dal Bianco of Masottina has done a sterling job with this one, so fresh and light on its feet.
It smells of subtle red fruits — strawberries, a touch of raspberry — with lots of juicy flavours. It’s not too sweet either, leaving the taste buds wanting more. 5/5
FROTHY AND FUN
Costellore Prosecco Rosé Extra Dry 2019, £6.49, aldi.co.uk
Helen said Costellore Prosecco Rosé Extra Dry 2019 (pictured) has a decent whack of white peach and a touch of florals
I’ve drunk my fair share of this retailer’s normal prosecco (I blame lockdown) so I was looking forward to tasting it in pink form. The aromas are a little disappointing — there’s not much going on — but there’s a decent whack of white peach and a touch of the florals about it on the palate, which kind of makes up for it.
Fresh and frothy, it is a little sweeter than those labelled as brut. Really great value. 3/5
WORTH THE WAIT
Pink Prosecco 2019 Brut, £30 for three bottles, pinkprosecco.com
Helen said Pink Prosecco 2019 Brut (pictured) is drier than most and has lots of fresh, light red fruits on the palate
This one’s not yet available in shops but already boasts an enormous following on Facebook. Made from 88 per cent glera and 12 per cent pinot noir grapes, it’s drier than most, with lots of fresh, light red fruits on the palate. The aromas are a little muted but it’s very quaffable. 4/5
FLAVOUR FIZZLES OUT
Rosé Prosecco 2019, £6.49, Lidl
Helen said Rosé Prosecco 2019 (pictured) has disappointing aromas and lacks any freshness
In a beauty contest, this bottle would win easily. The patterned glass is eye-catching and the pale pink liquid inside equally appealing.
Sadly, the aromas are disappointing, lacking any freshness. Flavours on the palate are slightly better, with some light strawberry fruits. But the fizz dissipates pretty quickly, leaving a fair bit of sweetness. 1/5
Corte Molino Prosecco Rosé 2019, £8.50, coop.co.uk
Helen said Corte Molino Prosecco Rosé 2019 (pictured) is light and fresh with something of strawberry shortbread about it
Co-op is launching a second pink prosecco under its Irresistible label in December, but this one will definitely do for now. It’s light and fresh with something of strawberry shortbread about it. Fabulously frothy, it’s like sucking a lemon sherbet. Suitable for vegans, too. 4/5
Villa Sandi Prosecco 2019, £12.90, bellavitashop.co.uk
Helen said Villa Sandi Prosecco 2019 (pictured) tastes of delicate red fruits and a twist of lemon, making it one of the smartest pink proseccos she’s tasted
This really lights up the taste buds. It’s crisp on the nose with delicate red fruits and a twist of lemon. On the palate it has fresh berry flavours atop a plump cushion of soft bubbles.
The Villa Sandi estate lies in the heart of the Cartizze region, where some of the best prosecco vineyards are found. One of the smartest pink proseccos I’ve tasted. 5/5
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