One of the biggest names in sparkling wine, Spanish family-owned producer Freixenet, is most known for making its world-famous Cava. But things are changing. Crossing the border into northern Italy, the brand is taking a new direction, launching a premium prosecco set to take over the UK market.
In recent years, prosecco has delivered substantial growth in the sparkling wine category, with volumes increasing by 44% over the past five years. During this time, prosecco figures have tripled, while cava and champagne's figures have remained relatively unchanged. According to statistics at Freixenet, prosecco now accounts for 80% of shared bottles of sparkling wine in the UK on-trade, with Canada a close second at 43%.
Launched in Scandinavia earlier this year, Freixenet's new prosecco experienced huge success, selling out across the region. Moving onto its second market, Freixenet Prosecco is now available in the UK.
So why prosecco, and why now?
'The past few years we've been observing the growth of prosecco, and we realised we needed to be there when the moment for prosecco's dominance comes,' said Freixenet chief marketing officer, Martina Rothe Obregon on why the company branched out.
'Our vision is to make sure Freixenet is there at any moment needed, to be the first choice in sparkling wine, and that is more possible with a prosecco. More people are celebrating, and prosecco is the driver of the sparkling wine category.'
After in-depth research into consumers' 'perfect prosecco', Freixenet concluded there is a huge demand for less bitterness and more ripe fruit flavours. 'More people are drinking prosecco because they like the taste, we couldn't ignore it,' added Freixenet's Gloria Collell. 'We wanted to reduce sourness on the aftertaste and increase sweetness.' A golden straw colour with lively effervescence, the 2016 non vintage serves to do just that, coming in at a sessionable 11% abv, with just 17g/l of dosage.
Packed with delicate aromas of citrus and green apple, the prosecco is lightly floral and set to appeal to customers who dislike even the slightest of bitterness in their bubbly. The palate is clean and fresh, with ripe fruits, tropical notes, lemon zest, green apple and grapefruit, leading to a light and surprisingly long finish.
With a stylish, eye-catching packaging set to stand out from other brands on the market, the prosecco is priced at £12, aiming to be a premium player. 'We're very clear we don't want to be entry level, we want to grow and add value to the category,' insisted Lisa Madrigal, Freixenet's UK marketing director.
Who exactly is making the prosecco outside of Freixenet's Barcelona homeland? 'We looked around northern Italy, and knew we needed to find someone with quality and capacity. So we decided on one of the biggest, La Marca in Treviso,' revealed Obregon. 'They have 11 wineries, so are adapt to keep up with demands, but they also were willing to work with our brief. This is a unique cuvée, nothing like they had done before.'
Available in D.O.C, a D.O.C.G variant will also launch later this year – decked out with a purple label – specifically for the on-trade and duty free.
11% abv, RRP £12, Matthew Clark, 0344 822 3910; Molson Coors, 020 7788 2880
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