Glera

Origin: Believed to be of Slovenian origin but the grape is mainly known for its use in the popular Prosecco wine from north-eastern Italy.
The grape used to be called Prosecco, but the name was officially changed in 2009 so that Prosecco could strive to attain geographically protected status. This protection is official now, but many countries, like Australia, refuses to abide by it and still call their wines for Prosecco.

Grown: Northern Italy, Slovenia, Australia (King Valley)

Climate: Need heat and mild autumns

Soil: Susceptible to water stress so need soils with high water retention

Viticulture: Technically, Glera is not one grape, it is many different varieties. Of which all are allowed in the making of Prosecco, and generally blended. Most famous are Prosecco Lungo, Prosecco Tondo and Prosecco Nostrano. The region of Prosecco allows for extremely high yields (18 tonnes per hectare). Glera is a semi-aromatic grape and can be very flavour intense if grown with low yields. Glera ripens late and is susceptible to fungal diseases

Vinification: Charmat Method (tank method) is the key behind Proseccos success, it makes fruity, easy drinking wines either spumante or frizzante. Some regions (like Prosecco Col Fondo) produces some Pêtillant Naturel wines flavoured with some other indigenous varieties, that are truly unique and wort a try

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG
  • Asolo Prosecco DOCG

General Personality:

  • Colour: Pale straw
  • Aromas: White peaches, lemon, pear, white flowers, apple
  • Taste and Texture: High in acidity, generally low in alcohol (minimum 8,5% for Prosecco). Generally made in Brut (<12g/l), Extra Dry (12-17g/l) and Dry (17-32g/l)
  • Conclusion: Glera is a surprisingly versatile grape, with many interesting aromas to offer. But it is mainly used for mass production of Prosecco style wines, which means it never really gets a true chance to show of its potential. There are a few producers in northern Italy that do make it as a still wine, but those you will not easily find outside of the region, leaving us with mass-produced, mainly flavourless Prosecco
  • Future: Drink now! Other than the very rare Pêtillant Naturel (which will happily develop in the bottle for a couple of years) Prosecco style wines do not benefit from aging

Food pairings:

  • General: With the continued rise of Glera based Prosecco Style wines (I cannot with a good conscience call the ones grown outside of the Region of Prosecco, for Prosecco, ergo the use of the term “Prosecco style”), this is a relevant subject to bring up. Many wine snobs will look down their noses at all wines that are not made according to the traditional method (Méthode Traditionnelle) but I strongly believe that there is a place for both sides. Yes, if you bring me Prosecco for my birthday breakfast, you will not be there to celebrate next year, but as an everyday sort of picnic wine, it can be surprisingly fun to play with, and an interesting pairing with food…
  • Obvious pairing: Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry
    Maybe not so obvious, but amazing together all the same. Since Prosecco style wines generally are low in alcohol, and high in sugar, that makes them the perfect wine to pair with Spicy Dishes. Furthermore, the bubbles help to cool the pallet and refresh, making you want to keep on eating. Go for slightly sweet versions of Prosecco next time you buy some Chinese take away and be surprised by this fun and refreshing combo, especially if you liked your food fried
  • On the wild side: Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce
    Salty food together with low alcohol, sweet wines like Prosecco are a given (there is a reason for why salty nuts and prosecco are a perfect beginning for any mingling event). Here we take it a bit further with this Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce, and it might sound a bit crazy, but with the sweet and spicy combination, prosecco works beautifully. And the salt helps to bring down the sweetness a bit and bring out the floral flavours of the wine. Unexpected and great combo!