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Prosecco/Glera

Glera is a long standing synonym of northern Italy's Prosecco grape, and the name by which it is now officially known. This green skinned variety has been grown for hundreds of years in the Veneto and Friuli regions, most famously to produce sparkling Prosecco wines.

The Prosecco-Glera name change happened in 2009, when Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene was promoted to full DOCG status (the highest level of Italian wine quality). In light of this promotion, it was decided that the name Prosecco should be reserved exclusively for wines covered by Italy's official Prosecco appellation titles, and should not be used for the grape variety. The European Union ratified this, effectively making it illegal for wine producers anywhere outside northeastern Italy to label their wines as "Prosecco". There are striking similarities between this story and that of Tocai Friulano and Tokay Pinot Gris.

To complicate Prosecco/Glera matters further, the Prosecco/Glera variety is in fact several varieties, rather than a single one. Although some authorities claim there are tens of sub-varieties and biotypes, in practice these are boiled down into three key forms: Prosecco Lungo, Prosecco Tondo and Prosecco Nostrano (replace "Prosecco" with "Glera" as appropriate). And just when you thought it couldn't get any more complex, in the Colli Euganei, the variety/varieties go by their local synonym Serprina.

The origins of these varieties are as unclear and controversial as their various names. The most obvious and easily believed story is that Prosecco originated in the town of Prosecco, located near the Italian-Slovenian border.

Italian wine produced from Glera is almost always either frizzante (fizzy) or spumante (fully sparkling). A few still wines are also made from Glera, but on nowhere near the same scale as the sparkling wines that are so widely exported around the globe. The worldwide popularity of Prosecco has resulted in many imitations of the style – one of the key reasons that the Italian authorities sought international legal protection for the name "Prosecco" back in 2009.

Glera is a highly productive grape that ripens late in the season. It has high acidity and a fairly neutral palate, making it ideal for sparkling wine production. Glera’s aromatic profile is characterised by white peaches, with an occasional floral note. The wine is light bodied and low in alcohol (8.5% is the minimum permitted ABV for Prosecco wines), suggesting it as a refreshing summer beverage or as an aperitif.

Outside Italy, Glera is grown in Slovenia and Australia, particularly in the King Valley.
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