Prosecco vs. Champagne

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We have major job-jealousy when we talk to Michael about his job as the Sommelier at the Ritz in the Cayman Islands... not only does he live on an island, but wine is his profession and he gets to travel in search of up and coming wine.


Here is our interview with Michael Kennedy...

So when we found out you travel and search for wine we were immediately jealous. What is the best part of your job? 

The best part of my job is being able to interact with people while they are enjoying something that smells good, tastes good and makes them feel good – Who else gets to do that? People are always a little happier with some wine in their glass.  

Agreed.  Tell us about a favorite trip you've been on lately in search of wines?  

My most recent trip in search of wine was to South America. I spent two weeks at our Ritz-Carlton in Santiago, Chile. It was an incredible journey through one of the most diverse winemaking regions in the world. Their shockingly long country creates climates from cool to hot, coastal to inland, high elevation to low, and everything in-between. Before my trip, I thought I was going to come back and tell my wine friends how I discovered some incredibly high-end, unknown gems (which I did), but the most important thing I learned was that wine is for everyone.

I have been in tastings with producers from Burgundy who have told me that their wine is “not for everyone”, which really turns me off. I think Chile has it right: every table, for every meal, should have a bottle of wine on it.

We don't discriminate against any bubbly beverages, but our Summer collection is inspired by Capri, Italy so tell us... what is the difference between Prosecco and Champagne?

Prosecco and Champagne are quite different, though they tend to be referred to interchangeably. Champagne is a sparkling wine made just east of Paris in the Champagne region of France. It is made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.   Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in the Northeastern regions of Italy, between Milan and Venice. It is typically made from a grape called Glera and is light, bright and crisp, with citrusy fruit and refreshing acidity. Also, it usually has a hint of sweetness – just enough to notice. So, what’s the difference? Champagne is fuller in body, deeper in complexity and much, much more expensive. Unlike Champagne, which has a second fermentation in the bottle, Prosecco goes through this process in stainless tanks, making it less yeasty and less expensive to produce. Prosecco is light, fun and easy with lively bubbles and acidity, making it the perfect outdoor summer wine. And since the price tag is likely one fourth that of Champagne, my advice to you is simple: Buy four bottles.

That seems like good advice. If we wanted to taste the best Prosecco in Italy what part should we travel to? 

First of all, I love this idea: Travelling to Italy to drink Prosecco. If you go, please take me with you. The best Prosecco in Italy (in my opinion) comes from the region called Valdobbiadene. Valdobbiadene is just north of Venice, where the hills start rolling into the Alps. It is a pretty cool climate that is capable of growing some incredible grapes. Let’s spend the morning in the escaping fog of the foothills in Valdobbiadene with an old Italian Prosecco producer, then head south to Venice and enjoy some Prosecco on the water while a gondoliere paddles us around the city at sunset…

 If we can't make it to Italy this Summer, how do we go about finding great/reasonably priced Prosecco? 

I would recommend making good friends with your local wine shop clerk. He will have the best options for you, as opposed to the massive brands at the major stores. My two favorites are La Marca Extra Dry Prosecco di Valdobbiadene and Mionetto Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Frizzante. Both of these you can find for under $15 retail.  

What is your favorite food to pair with Prosecco? 

The best pairing with Prosecco is a sailboat on the water. The second best is a patio or pool. The third best is popcorn.

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