Move over, classic rosé, there's a new wine category in town. Prosecco rosé was baptized Italy's newest DOC category (Denomination of Controlled Origin) launching in November, 2020 and appearing on American shelves in early 2021, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Building on the widespread and growing popularity of both categories, combining Prosecco and Rosé is set to be a consumer success story, even though some critics may call it a marriage of marketing. While the UK buys nearly a third of all Prosecco exports, the U.S. is its second largest export market worldwide, "accounting for 24 percent, with sales totaling around $150 million," a year, according to the New York Times. Rosè on the other hand, has been increasing in popularity in recent years, thanks to marketing, celebrity endorsement and improved quality and packaging deemed Instagrammable.
Pink Prosecco is made from a minimum of 85% Glera grapes (maximum 90%), Prosecco's heart and soul, with up to a maximum of 15% Pinot Noir (minimum 10%). Production standards state that the second fermentation occurs using the Charmat (Martinotti) method, in tanks or autoclaves for a minimum of 60 days. The pink hue is thanks to a short period of contact with the red skin of the Pinot Noir grapes during maceration. Levels of residual sugar are generally around 6 to 8 grams/liter, but can range from Zero Dosaggio (no residual sugar) to Extra Dry.
The color can be found from a blush pink to a more intense light magenta. On the palate, a spectrum of flavors, determined by each producer, includes hints of white flowers, apple and pear thanks to the Glera grapes, and red fruits, ranging from wild strawberry to violet, red currant and raspberry thanks to its red counterpart.
While nearly 486 million bottles of Prosecco DOC were produced last year, the Prosecco Consortium says it predicts wineries aim to produce 30 million bottles of Prosecco Rosé DOC a year. As bars and restaurants are permitted to loosen Covid-19 restrictions this spring and summer, consumers will have a chance to try out this soon-to-be summer-favorite wine.