SOME WINES are triumphs of winemaking talent applied to terroir, and some wines are masterpieces of marketing and sales. In the second category, there may be no more perfect paradigm than Prosecco rosé.
It’s hard to believe that Prosecco and rosé—two incredibly popular wines—weren’t officially joined until October 2020, when the Prosecco rosé category was approved by the EU. Some Prosecco rosés arrived in the U.S. late last year; others, in just the past few months.
‘We know Prosecco and rosé have been trending for years, and it’s fun to have something new to talk about.’
There weren’t a huge number of Prosecco rosés in any of the stores where I went shopping, though most of the retailers I spoke with told me they expected more soon. These wine merchants were excited, on the whole, to have a new category of wines to promote. But from a consumer’s perspective, is this new category any kind of guarantee of a greater quality wine? Among the 14 Prosecco rosés I purchased for my tasting, many of the bottles exhibited better marketing than winemaking, though there were some bright spots.
Although Prosecco rosé is technically new, Prosecco producers have been making sparkling rosé wines for years. Pink was so popular that a full 57% of the region’s 348 Prosecco producers were already making a sparkling rosé wine of some kind before the official category was introduced. (You’ll still find these wines in the market, though many of their producers are phasing them out.) Some Prosecco producers labeled their wines Prosecco rosé wines before the official declaration was made; those are the 2019 Prosecco rosés on shelves now. The 2020 Prosecco rosés were shipped to the U.S. in the first few months of this year.
Many of the producers who have already been producing high-quality wines are excited about the new designation and the stricter quality standards it implies. For example, Gianluca Bisol, whose family has been cultivating grapes since the 16th century and is often credited with the creation of Prosecco, is an enthusiastic proponent of the new category. “The DNA of Bisol is about embracing change over 21 generations in the pursuit of excellence,” he wrote in an email. The 2020 Bisol1542 Jeio Brut Prosecco Rosé ($20), lithe and lively in a dry and savory style, was my favorite of all of the Prosecco rosés I tasted.
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