It's quickly becoming the nation's favourite fizz. 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.
Prosecco now accounts for 80% of shared bottles of sparkling wine in the UK on-trade, but with its very floral, fruity notes with little depth, it's sometimes not to everyone's liking.
This is where Martini & Rossi step in, launching Martini Collezione Speciale Vintage Prosecco 2016 (DOC) to the UK market. Based in the hills of Piedmont, Martini has been making vermouths and sparkling wines for over 150 years, and has harnessed its generations of wine knowledge to create a prosecco that doesn't actually taste much like prosecco at all (in a good way).
The launch couldn't come at a better time for the northern Italian producer, often struggling with an image problem and discounted prices of its flagship sparkling, Asti, with sales down by almost 50% since the mid-80s. Under new winemaker Livio Prandi, Martini has been diversifying its range, expanding to a vintage prosecco and is ready to shake up the market.
Made with Glera grapes grown by specially picked producers in the region of Veneto, Collezione Speciale 2016 is the first release for Martini's vintage prosecco, with 50g/l of sugar. Delicate floral and green fruit aromas are apparent, but these lead to that of cedar, eucalyptus and freshly baked bread.
On the palate, the prosecco once again surprises, with green fruit flavours of apple, lime and elderflower giving way to a more biscuitty, brioche flavour, with a complex palate and long-lasting finish. It's not cloying, thin, or excessively fruity and we're predicting it will be a favourite tipple for the festive season.
Encased in an embossed and detailed bottle with chic gold foil, the bottle retails for £14-15, which puts it at a premium price point, but for a vintage prosecco that emanates the complex flavours and aromas of champagne, it's a small price to pay.
What's next? A Collezione Speciale Asti is also set to launch, using different yeast to its predecessor, and with the same complex twist as Collezione Speciale Vintage Prosecco.