Champagne vs Prosecco vs MCC

Who cares what you call it, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet they say, right? Perhaps, but when it comes to bubbly, you’d better get the name correct. For starters, there’s no point in looking uninformed when you can help it. But, more importantly, the correct name pays respect to centuries-old traditions – in fact, the homes of both Champagne and Prosecco are recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.

It’s important to remember that no one can tell you which is better, in comparison to one another, because it’s subjective. Start by understanding the differences and then let your palate decide.

In terms of differences, first things first: Champagne must be grown and made in the Champagne region in France; Prosecco from Northern Italy; and MCC (or méthode cap classique) in South Africa. Champagne and MCC both typically use Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while Prosecco is made from the Glera varietal.

The other key is how bubbles are introduced into the drink. Regardless of region, all three undergo a second fermentation. This creates CO2 which gives the wine its sparkling quality. Champagne is made using the method Champenoise, which essentially means that this stage happens while the wine is already in the bottle. The champagne is then left to age for a minimum of 18 months for non-vintage, and 3 years for vintage.

MCC follows this traditional method, essentially having copied it from the French and mastering it in South African vineyards. On the other hand, the second fermentation for Prosecco takes place in a large tank, before it is bottled. It is also important to understand the difference between MCC and an average sparkling wine, which are tank-fermented (like Prosecco) or simply injected with carbon dioxide.

However you prefer your bubbles, make sure you know what to call them!