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“Karen, What is the difference between Franciacorta and Prosecco?” —Bruce O. (Charlotte, North Carolina)

Bruce, Franciacorta is a region in Lombardy in northern Italy, famous for its sparkling wines. These dry sparkling wines are made by the traditional Champagne method from chardonnay and pinot noir (and sometimes pinot blanc). They are austerely elegant with a fine, creamy mousse of bubbles. Franciacortas come as non-vintage wines as well as vintage-dated (known as Franciacorta millesimato) and they spend a relatively long time on lees―18 months for non-vintage to 60 months for Franciacorta riserva. Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy. It’s made from glera grapes. It’s not made by the Champagne method, but rather by a process known as Charmat whereby the second fermentation takes place in large tanks. The top Proseccos are known as Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. Prosecco wine is the traditional sparkler (along with white peach juice) in the Italian cocktail, the bellini.

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