It’s official: On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Italy’s National Wine Committee approved changes to the Prosecco DOC that will allow for the production of Prosecco Rosé made with Glera and Pinot Nero grapes.
According to the new appellation regulations:
– The wines must be made with a min. of 85 percent Glera grapes and 10-15 percent Pinot Nero.
– The Martinotti/Charmat method must be used for the second fermentation and the wines must be aged on their lees for a minimum of 60 days.
– The wines will be classified as brut nature, brut, and extra dry.
– The color must be a “brilliant, more or less intense, rose hue” and the wines must have a lingering effervescence.
– The wines must be vintage dated.
– Wineries will be allowed to sell their wines on January 1 of the year following the harvest.
Some wineries, like Villa Sandi, will be able to begin selling their wines as early as this fall.
“We already have Glera and Pinot Nero must from the 2019 harvest that we have reserved by refrigerating it,” said Giancarlo Moretti Polegato, owner of Villa Sandi.
“On Wednesday, May 20, Italy’s National Wine Committee approved the changes to the appellation regulations. And they will be published in Italy’s official legislative bulletin on June 15. From that point, a minimum of two months are required for the second fermentation and aging of the wines. If everything goes well, we will be able to sell our Prosecco DOC Rosé in Italy in September. And then in October we will be able to ship the wines throughout the world. The now historic date of May 20 now gives us a real timeline.”
A board member of the Prosecco DOC consortium, Polegato was the first winemaker to propose a Prosecco Rosé when the DOC was created in 2009.
“I told the consortium that we should have the opportunity to make a Prosecco DOC Rosé as well,” he remembered.
“But I was the only one at the time who wanted to add it to the DOC. But other producers weren’t ready at the time. Now, 11 years later, everyone wants a Prosecco DOC Rosé and everyone is waiting for one. All the great sparkling wine appellations of the world have a rosé and we should have one, too. And our clients have been waiting for it as well. So it’s a big moment for me personally.”
Polegato said that even though the new DOC was delayed because of the current health crisis, it will represent an opportunity for Prosecco producers in otherwise challenging times.
“Prosecco Rosé will most definitely represent an opportunity,” he noted, “especially in this particular moment. It will make it possible to win over new clients and obtain new listings with distributors all over the world. It’s a new product that our clients have been waiting for this product for a while now. The interest in sparkling rosé continues to grow across the world. The interest in Prosecco has continued to grow as well. I believe that this will translate into growth of a minimum of roughly 10-15 percent with respect to what we sell now. So it’s a big slice of the market.”
Villa Sandi has been making classic method wines using Pinot Nero for four decades and it is uniquely positioned as one of the appellation’s leading Pinot Nero growers. The new appellation regulations require that the wines be made with Pinot Nero that has been grown within the DOC.
“We’re very excited about how the new category will raise the visibility of the entire Prosecco appellation and territory,” said Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto. “Here at the Villa Sandi winery, we believe that we aren’t just ambassadors for our own wines but for the appellation at large. The new rosé represents an enormous opportunity for us to share our rich culture with the world.”
“Prosecco pairs well with every cuisine across the world,” added Polegato. “But it’s generally paired with seafood and white meat dishes. The new Prosecco DOC rosé, thanks to the Pinot Nero, will also be great with steak, for example. Prosecco is so versatile. The rosé only expands the range of dishes it can be served with.”