The Prošek – Prosecco EU Scandal: The Origins of Prosecco are Croatian!

Total Croatia News

An ironic twist in the Prosek v Prosecco EU scandal – some interesting info on the origins of Prosecco…

A fan of that extra-special sweet prošek, which has a centuries-old tradition in Croatia? Enjoy it while you can – under the current name at least – as the EU has decreed it will be known as prošek no more come July 1, as we reported for Google News earlier

Despite being a completely differnt product, having a different name and being hundreds of years older than prosecco, the EU has decided that to avoid confusion, prošek will have to find another name from July 1. 

And here is the ultimate irony. Many thanks to JT (you know who you are) for sending me these extracts from respected international wine guru Jancis Robinson (with whom I shared a glass of claret in a former life, but that is another story). Not only, it seems, is the name prosecco adopted, but the grape comes from Croatia!

iz Wine Grapes (2012), Jancis Robinson et al., str 853-854:

Prosecco – The dominant, rather neutral grape for prosecco sparkling wine, probably Istrian. Misleadingly named Glera for commercialy protective reasons.

…Comparison of DNA profiles show that Prosecco is identical to Teran Bijeli (bijeli is Croatian for “white”), previously considered to be a rare variety native to the Istra (Istria) region of Croatia (Maletić et. al. 1999), and also identical to Briška Glera annd Števerjana…

As part of the promotion of Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene to DOCG status and the enlargement of Prosecco DOC zone in 2009, the Prosecco Consorzio set in motion an official name change so that this principal grape variety is known as Glera, its supposed Friulian synonym, and Prosecco is reserved for designation of origin, effectively preventing producers from other regions and countries taking advantage of the name Prosecco to designate any old sparkling wine. The enlargement of Prosecco DOC area includes the village of the same name near Trieste, the variety’s alleged birthplace. This amendment is both confusing and misleading: Glera is a generic name applied to several distinct varieties in the province of Trieste, and recent studies have shown that Glera in fact usually refers to PROSECCO LUNGO and much less frequently to Prosecco (Tondo) and other local varieties…

By reconstructing the genetic relationship among Croatian grapes, Maletić et al. (1999) showed that Prosecco (under the name of Teran Bijeli) occupies the key role in relation to all other Croatian grapes, and appears to be related to Žilavka from Bosnia-Herzegovina. This genetic study supports an Istrian origin of Prosecco. As a consequence, it is likely that the village of Prosecco in the province of Trieste was only a stopover of this variety on its way from Istria to Friuli, and that its original name was Teran Bijeli.


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