While Franciacorta and Prosecco are both sparkling wines from Italy, their similarities pretty much end there. From the way that they are produced to the grapes used to their taste, everything is different.
Franciacorta is a hand-harvested, bottle-aged sparkling wine from the Franciacorta territory in the Lombardi region south of Lake Iseo. The Franciacorta is a wine with both DOC and DOCG recognition so that the wines with the Franciacorta name have to adhere to particularly stringent regulations and quality standards.
Though a fairly young sparkling wine on the world stage, established as a DOC in 1967 and a DOCG in 1995, the territory is heavy on vintner history, with 115 wineries and wine production dating back to the Middle Ages.
The Production Method: Franciacorta vs. Prosecco
The Franciacorta sparkler is Champagne’s Italian counterpart, being made in the same way as champagne is, using the Method Champenoise or the Traditional Method. In this method, the wine gets its bubbles by allowing secondary fermentation to occur in the bottle. After an initial fermentation like still wine, the wine is bottled and left to rest on lees, a yeast that leads to a second, in-bottle fermentation. During this process, the CO2 created during fermentation gets absorbed into the wine, making the wine drier with a more yeasty and less fruity than Prosecco. The wine is then aged in bottle for at least 18 months to develop a deeper, more complex flavour profile.
Prosecco is made using the Charmat-Martinotti method in which the secondary fermentation of the wine happens in a vat before the wine is bottled. This leads to Prosecco being a younger wine with a lighter, more fruity flavour profile. Prosecco is less expensive because its secondary fermentation happens in a vat.
The Flavor: Franciacorta vs. Prosecco
Franciacorta can be produced only in the specific geographic region of Franciacorta, and with specific grapes: a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc (though up to 10% of Erbamat grapes may be used). It has some of the same classic tasting notes as the champagne - citrus, hints of dried fruit, and toasty flavours of brioche and pastry, though the growing regions add flavour facets to each. Franciacorta doesn’t have the same zest or minerality as Champagne as the region is warmer than Champagne.
Prosecco is produced using Glera, a white grape that has been grown in Veneto and Friuli regions since centuries. Because of Glera’s high acidity, it is perfect for producing prosecco. Prosecco generally has a light, fruity and fresh flavour, and it isn’t aged as much as Franciacorta.