What is in a name? Apparently it is everything according to the EU wine police. Croatia has been informed they cannot use the name ‘Porsek’ as it is similar to the Italian word ‘Prosecco’. The EU feels the words are far too much alike and many people will confuse the two. And this would mean that rather than a white sparkling wine they are served a dark amber dessert wine and horrors, the difference would be mind-boggling.
Prosecco is an Italian sparkling white wine, often compared closely to the Asti Spumanti. It is served chilled and the bubbles disappear immediately upon being poured into a glass. I only learned today it has now replaced the use of Champagne when making a Bellini, one of my fondest memories of Venice. It does make me feel so good that I have never been served the lesser expensive version of my beloved Bellini and I do expect I will continue to use Champagne rather than change. The Bellini is my very favorite drink, so why change perfection.
According to my research the name Prosecco has only been around for the last century. It is produced using the Charmat method in which a secondary fermentation happens in stainless steel tanks, thus making it less expensive to produce. Unlike other wines Prosecco does not age well and should be consumed within three years. Check your labels; you would not want to offend the wine police and keep a bottle over the given period.
Prosek pronounced ‘Pro-shek’ is a sweet dessert wine which is produced primarily in Southern Dalmatian. It is made from the vine dried grapes and normally an average of seven times the amount is used for one bottle of Prosek. The Emperor Diocletian made references to the Dalmatian Prosek as early as 303 AD. The tradition of prošek is embedded in Croatian culture, with an ancient tradition of producing the sweet beverage on the occasion of the birth of a child, and then putting the bottles to one side to be opened on the child’s wedding day.
Do you wonder if there is a wine police and how to apply for the position? Do they drive around in their own automobiles, tasting wine or just checking names? Would it not be much safer if they were driven so tasting would become part of the job description? I mean after all, one cannot be part of the wine police if they do not taste the product. Would the cars be unmarked or perhaps a bottle of wine bottle on the side panel, just to make sure that their intent is known from the beginning of arrival at your small family home. Should they also have the ability to speak several languages? I mean how you decide if a wine name is too similar to another without being fluent in many languages. It has been suggested that Croatian change the name to Vino Dalmatio as a replacement. Why then does Italy not consider using Vino Italiano as a replacement?
Personally I know that there are no similarities between the two products, either with the grapes or production methods. And furthermore there is no relation between the origins of the names. The fact that Croatia is the new kid on the block (EU block), we have no chance of our product being allowed to remain on the open market. However the Croatian word ‘Prosek’ is ours and we will NEVER relinquish it or the bottle hidden in the cellar for our children.