Have you ever heard the word Spumante? This Italian word means ‘sparkling wine’ in English. This is a general term used to describe an Italian sparkling white wine. There is no specific region of Italy or grape from which this particular sparkling white wine has to be produced. The only requirements are that it has been produced in Italy and that it is bubbly.
But just because Spumante means Italian sparkling wine, does not mean it is always Prosecco. There is a big difference between Spumante and Prosecco. The main point is this: all Prosecco is Spumante, but not all Spumante is Prosecco. As we have explained to you many times, Italian law has very specific requirements for a sparkling wine to be able to legally be labeled as Prosecco. It must be produced in certain regions of Italy, and it must be made from at least 85% Glera grape, and there can be a maximum of 15% blend of local grapes.
Some people may hear the word and automatically think it means sweet sparkling wine, but Spumante can be brut, dry, extra dry, sweet… It really can be anything, as long as it’s sparkling. These descriptive words are what to look out for when you want to know whether or not your sparkling wine is going to be sweet, or if you are curious about the amount of sugar content in your sparkling wine.
There are seven main levels of sweetness when it comes to sparkling wines. The most common to find is a Brut, which means there is 0-12 g/l of residual sugar and the taste is more on the dryer side. SYLTBAR Mr Premium Prosecco and Mrs Sparkling Rosé are both labeled as Brut, to give you an idea of what this kind of dryness tastes like. But there are two levels that are even more dry: Brut Nature, which has 0-3 g/l of residual sugar, and Extra Brut, which has 0-6 g/l of residual sugar. Both of these are very, very dry — sometimes too dry to enjoy. Technically, SYLTBAR’s sparkling wines do fall into that Brut Nature category of being within 0-3 g/l of residual sugar, but we would not consider its taste to be that dry.
The next most popular styles of sparkling wine that you will find are Dry and Extra Dry. Believe it or not, a sparkling wine that is labeled either of these is actually going to be sweeter than a Brut. Extra Dry has 12-17 g/l of residual sugar, and Dry has 17-32 g/l of residual sugar. That is a huge difference compared to the amount of sugar that SYLTBAR contains! You may also see the words Extra Sec or Extra Seco for an Extra Dry sparkling wine, and Sec or Secco for a Dry sparkling wine.
Dessert sparkling wines are labeled as Demi-Sec and Dolce, and these are the absolute sweetest of Spumante wines. Demi-Sec, also sometimes called a Semi-Secco, has 32-50 g/l of residual sugar. Dolce, or Doux, has over 50 g/l of residual sugar. While there are some sparkling wines out there that are this sweet, Prosecco is not one of them. It is very rare to find a Demi-Sec Prosecco, and a Dolce Prosecco does not even exist.
Aside from the difference in styles of sparkling wines, there is also a difference in flavor and tasting profiles. You may often see the word fruity to describe a spumante, but don’t confuse this with sweet. The amount of sweetness in a wine is influenced by the winemaker’s production technique — how long the fermentation lasts, if there are added sugars or sweeteners to the wine, etc.
Labeling a wine as fruity is entirely different. This is what’s known as a “tasting profile.” Wine experts will allocate descriptive words and phrases to wines based on the flavors and aromas they get during their tasting experience. Although some fruits are very sweet, a wine can still be technically dry (having very low residual sugar content), even if it does have fruit flavors. Citrus fruits are more tart than sweet, and some fruit can even be more earthy and robust.
Wine in general is complex, and sparkling wine is even more so. We love being able to educate you about wine and Prosecco through our blogs. That’s why we live by the motto that knowledge is power!