Even though Prosecco is made exclusively in northern Italy, it is wildly popular with Italians in each of the country’s 20 regions. It’s not hard to understand why!
In today’s world of wine, we tend to focus on the hyperlocal when it comes to the wines we drink and the foods we pair those wines with.
If drinking wines made from Barbera grapes, we look to Piedmont for our food pairing model. As the old and often repeated story goes, if it grows with it, it goes with it.
Similarly, if we are reaching for a Greco di Tufo, we look to Neapolitan cuisine for our pairing guide. After all, if the Neapolitans are drinking it, they must know something we do not.
But what if the wine in question were a wine that people across Italy, from Sicily to the Valle d’Aosta, drink on a regular basis?
Prosecco is made in Veneto in northeast Italy. That’s the only place you can make the Prosecco DOCG. And even though you can grow Prosecco outside of Veneto, everyone agrees that the best Prosecco comes from the official DOC and DOCG areas.
Italians are known for their local pride. And when it comes to eating and drinking, it’s not hard to make a faux pas by ordering a non-local wine in a place — nearly every place — where Italians are extremely proud and protective of their hometown foods and wines.
But Prosecco is possibly the only Italian wine that is regularly enjoyed in every part of Italy.
It’s understandable that people who live on the coast would love Prosecco. After all, the Venetians figured out a long time ago that Prosecco and salty seafood — especially fried seafood and crudo — are one of the greatest wine pairings of all time. It’s only natural that even the Neapolitans, with their abundance of fresh seafood, would reach for Prosecco like the Venetians do.
But what about the Italians who don’t live near the seaside? They drink a lot of Prosecco as well. And the answer to this conundrum is actually extremely simple: Italians love Prosecco because its characteristic freshness and — most importantly — low alcohol content make it one of the most food-friendly wines on the planet.
Wines with too much alcohol tend to overpower the foods they are paired with. (Oaky, concentrated Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with super charged alcohol is great with a charred steak. But that’s pretty much the only thing you can pair it with!)
Thanks to its restrained alcohol, Prosecco is nimbly versatile at the dinner (or lunch) table. And speaking of lunch, Prosecco is a great wine to pour midday because its low alcohol makes it possible to enjoy without feeling the unwanted effects of alcohol in the wine.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Prosecco is the (un)official wine of Venice (where it is consumed liberally). But if we were pressed to single out one wine that Italians of all stripes like to drink, it would have to be — yes, you guessed it! — Prosecco!