The Best Bottle of Prosecco for Every Occasion
Usually touted for its affordability, Prosecco is commonly referred to as Champagne’s cheaper cousin. And while that's true overall, thanks to how it's made, Prosecco has a lot more to offer besides good value, especially as an option when the occasion calls for something bright and bubbly. Prosecco’s short fermentation time (one to three months vs. Champagne’s one to three years) allows the grapes to maintain their freshness and floral and fruit compounds, making for a livelier, sweeter drink.
Still, not all Proseccos are created equal. Some can be high end, and the proof is right on the label. The most basic and common designation, Prosecco DOC means the wine is made from Glera grapes grown from nine different provinces in the Prosecco region of northern Italy. But if a label reads DOCG, that means the grapes are blended from a smaller, more focused growing area in Prosecco. “The G means there is guaranteed (garantita) wine quality in each bottle due to the area’s special climatic and soil features, plus more strict rules in the vineyard and cellar [versus a Prosecco of DOC quality],” explains Kristina Sazama, wine educator at Santa Margherita winery, located in Veneto, Italy.
Within DOCG are two narrower subcategories: Superiore, which indicates the grapes were grown in a smaller subzone between the towns of Conegliano Valdobbiadene in Prosecco's historical heartland. As Sazama explains, Prosecco Superiore DOCG accounts for only 25 percent of all Prosecco production.
Rive, on the other hand, refers to wine from the steepest hills in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area, where the grapes are grown in one of 43 villages. Rive grapes are harvested by hand, and the vintage is listed on the label.
With all that in mind, Prosecco has a wide variety of tastes, textures and price points that make it ideal for a diverse list of situations. Whether it's a casual picnic or a midnight toast, these are the bottles you should pick up.
For a Picnic in the Park
If you’re having wine and cheese in the park, a fruity bottle of Prosecco that’s on the sweeter side will be a nice complement. “Prosecco DOC makes an ideal aperitif or can pair well with more simple cuisines and casual occasions,” Sazama says. And you probably don’t want to spend a ton either, so a DOC bottle of Serafini & Vidotto’s Bollicine di Prosecco ($15) will do the trick. For something a little less sweet, try Prosecco Masottina Brut ($15) or Banfi Maschio Prosecco Extra Dry Treviso DOC ($17).
For Cooking Dinner for Your In-Laws
In a situation where you’re looking to impress, it’s worth splurging on a more refined bottle. Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG ($28) has refreshing bubbles and bright acidity, making it work throughout the entire meal. “I think it would perfectly highlight the occasion and show off that you can spot great value,” Sazama says.
For When You're Hosting Vegan Guests
We know you’re wondering, “Isn’t all wine vegan?” Short answer: Many wines are filtered through fining agents, which are often made from casein (milk protein), egg albumin or gelatin. Perlage Sgajo Prosecco DOC Treviso Vegan Extra Dry ($15) is made from organic Glera grapes and is lightly fruity with notes of apple, apricot and peach. It goes great with vegetables and spicy food.
For an Afternoon Spritz
Aside from gifting the world with Prosecco, Italians also gave us the perfect cocktail to make with it: the Aperol Spritz. Since you don’t want to waste the good stuff in a mixed drink, it’s not worth getting spendy. You’ll also want one that’s brut (less sugar added) to avoid the drink being overly sweet. For that, Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut ($12) is a great option. If you prefer a sweeter spritz, try a bottle of La Marca Prosecco DOC Extra Dry ($12).
For a Toast
A special occasion calls for a special bottle of bubbly. We like Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG Spumante Brut Vigna La Rivetta ($45) for a more complex and sophisticated sparkler.
Devorah Lev-Tov is a contributing writer for Tasting Table who travels the globe—and traverses NYC block by block—in search of her next amazing meal. See her latest adventures on her Instagram at @devoltv.
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