Prosecco’s an Italian sparkling* wine, relatively low in alcohol (around 11%), named for the region it’s made in – Prosecco, just North of Venice – and it’s got to be made there, otherwise it can’t be called Prosecco. It’s made from at least 85% Glera grapes (which, confusingly, were also known as Prosecco).
It’s produced by the Charmat method: first, make a still wine, then put it in a tank with sugar and yeast to ferment again under pressure, dissolving CO2 and making bubbly. Bottle and drink within 3 years. Prosecco can be Spumante (fully sparkling) or Frizzante (lightly so).
Although it was once similar to the sometimes cloying sweetness of neighbouring Asti (which we think can be fantastic with cakes and puddings but not much else), the modern Prosecco is much more grown-up and adaptable. For many it’s the perfect aperitif, half the price of champagne, a good level of fruit that makes it interesting and easy to drink but remaining elegantly dry and refreshing.
* Like all things vinous, nothing’s absolute: there is still Prosecco, but not much is made and hardly any of that gets out of Italy.