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When Prosecco is not Prosecco

First there was Sparkling Saumur, then there was Cava.  Blanquette de Limoux was in there somewhere as well, but the fashionable non-Champagne sparkler of the moment seems to be Prosecco.  Clean, refreshing fizz from Northern Italy, in either “spumante” (fully sparkling) or frizzante (semi-sparkling) and made from the Prosecco grape.  Simple eh? Except it isn’t.  Oh, it’s still fashionable alright, and it’s still fizzy, and it’s still made from the same grape variety, it’s just that some of it isn’t Prosecco anymore despite being precisely the same wine.
Prosecco, it seems, has been such a success that rather than run with its current popularity, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture took something of an alternative view.  It seems that somebody, somewhere, woke up one morning and decided that Prosecco was not the name of the grape variety, but was in fact the area of defined production; like Champagne.  They also decided that Prosecco can only make white white and can be made only from the grape formerly known as Prosecco (though they have since had a change of mind and up to 15% of other local varieties are permitted).  The grape formerly know as Prosecco has been renamed Glera.  I have no idea whether the Gypsy Lane East Residents Association in Norwich (until recently the top google result for “Glera”) are planning a legal challenge to this, but I do hope so…
The redefined area for Prosecco and the traditional area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene have now both been granted DOCG status with an outer area classified as DOC.  There is, however, a glaring omission from the decisions of the Italian beureaucrats because in specifying that Prosecco is now a region and not a grape, no-one thought to invent a name for what used to be called Pink Prosecco or Prosecco Rosato.  Our supplier has settled on the name Silvola which, as far as I can tell, is a village in southern Finland.
The Silvola on our list is what used to be pink Prosecco, it’s a blend of 85% Prosecco (sorry, Glera) and 15% Marzemino (which sounds like it ought to be a small pouched squirrel from Madagascar, but sadly isn’t).  It’s still delicious, and it still has a white brother which can still call itself Prosecco.
So, just to make sure that’s all entirely clear; Prosecco is now a region and not a grape, but it’s still a fizzy wine either way, though only white.  Glera is the name of the grape that used to be called Prosecco (unless you live in a particular area of Norwich) Silvola is what used to be called pink Prosecco (unless you live in southern Finland).  No doubt you can think of your own name for the Italian beureaucrats that thought all this through so well before changing anything.


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