Oh, do you see what they’ve done there? Very clever. Making fizzy wine in Prosecco style by blending Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, smashing the names together and selling for a fiver. Wait, what… £5!? The duty on a bottle of sparkling wine alone is £2.77 – you do the maths…
Commercially though, it makes sense. The Prosecco movement is unprecedented. The UK market alone has grown 34% in the last two years, and it’s the same story all over the world. Up until 2009, the grape was called Prosecco – but the Italians got (rightly) huffy about vineyards across the world planting Prosecco grape and jumping on the bandwagon – therefore they changed the name to Glera and protected the region. Glera is originally from Slovenia – it’s fairly bland with decent acidity, which makes it perfect for Prosecco. So, it’s easy to see how Pinot Grigio, which can be equally vanilla, would function well as a fizz buffer.
Though undeniably popular, Prosecco’s name has been dragged through the mud recently. UK Dentists have even diagnosed people with ‘Prosecco Teeth’ – when tooth enamel is badly worn away from excessive consumption… I’m not the world’s biggest guzzler of Prosecco, but can very much appreciate a good one. Cold, fizzy and uncomplicated, it goes with just about anything and is certainly a crowd pleaser. However, there are plenty of cornershop cheapies which taste like a Year 6 science experiment. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there.
So, I gave a Progrigio a try against a supermarket’s Finest Prosecco. The Prosecco had an attractive mousse, pleasant white peach nose and long fruity finish, it was a little on the dry side (which I like) a very good example of what Prosecco should be. I’d read about Progrigio being described as a ‘bland, innocuous concoction’, mores the pity that it wasn’t. Instead we faced an assault of tinned fruit salad mixed with Kopparberg cider on the nose and Lambriniesque flavours on the palate with a bitter twang. The finish was short (phew!) and acrid with a chemical note. Perhaps ‘Gross-secco’ would have been a more appropriate name, my friend accurately observed. Very little wine gets thrown out in our household, we pride ourselves on our thriftiness, but were left with no other option.
Asda often hits the spot for great value, entry level wines – but not in this case. I’d prefer to save my pennies. My perfectly nice Tesco Finest Prosecco cost £9 – if looking for a change, here’s three alternatives to try: