It might be November but for once the eagerly anticipated arrival of the first bottles of a new wine has nothing to do with Beaujolais Nouveau. Yes, the just-bottled 2020 Beaujolais will be arriving as usual on Thursday this week. But this year the real competition amongst supermarkets has all been about pink prosecco.
Wine sellers have been talking about it for months and they’re expecting pink prosecco to be big. Pink prosecco is new. At least, it’s technically new. Prosecco is made in north-east Italy and the regulations for its production have always firmly stated that this sparkling wine must be white.
You might feel as if you’ve drunk pink prosecco before – and in a way you could have done. For a while now, winemakers in the region have been making sparkling rosato wines - pink prosecco in all but name - with the aim of pleasing thirsty drinkers who love both rosé and prosecco. As they weren’t allowed to call them prosecco whole host of labels appeared, usually on curvy bottles just like the ones white prosecco is sold in, with names like ‘rosecco’ or simply ‘pink fizz.’ No doubt realising that they were missing out on potential sales, the prosecco authorities recently changed the regulations to officially allow the production of pink prosecco DOC to begin in August this year, with the first bottles going on sale in the UK at the start of this month.
Not all appellations will permit the production of pink sparkling wine. For instance, it’s still not legal to make a rosé version of Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG. Several supermarkets laid claim to be the first in the country to stock the new official pink prosecco but the first bottle to my door – and one of the best I’ve tasted – was M&S Rosé Prosecco 2019 (£10 a normal 75cl bottle; £3.80 for a 20cl mini-bottle and £18 for a magnum, M&S). It wasn’t sickly or too sweet (unlike some…) and it had a gentle smell of red berries coupled with a taste of – well, of prosecco. I also rated the more expensive Villa Sandi Il Fresco Prosecco Rosé Brut 2019 (Selfridges, Amazon and Bella Vita Shop, around £14.99), which had a slightly floral fragrance.