FW’s Guide to Prosecco and our selection of the best Prosecco available in the UK

Prosecco is a sparkling white wine made in North-East Italy, traditionally from the Glera grape. It’s hugely popular in the UK (outselling both Champagne and Cava), making it Britain’s favourite fizz. Its popularity is pretty much down to the fact that it’s of increasingly good quality whilst not being that expensive. Think Athletico Madrid/Everton.

prosecco map

The small dark green area represents the original (and highly protected) Prosecco producing region. The yellow surrounding area is also allowed to legally produce wine called ‘Prosecco’ but it will be marked ‘DOC’ rather than the top status ‘DOCG’ stamp.

The more people try Prosecco, the more people seem to like it. That’s possibly because it’s a bit sweeter than Champagne. Standard Prosecco has around 14-16g of sugar per litre compared to 9-10g for champagne. Prosecco is also often less fizzy and has less alcohol than its French rival (around 11% as opposed to 12 or 12.5%). Add that all up and you can see why it goes down a treat at parties, especially in the Summer when its fresh zingy flavours come into their own.

But the real secret of Prosecco’s success is down to its Q.P.R. (i.e. Quality Price Ratio – we’re not referring to Shepherd’s Bush’s finest). Often coming in at less than £10 a bottle Prosecco’s seen as an ‘affordable treat’ – that marketer’s dream of a recession-proof commodity.

But why is the best Prosecco able to be cheaper than as the lest expensive Champagne? Firstly it’s down to the way it’s made. Champagne is produced using a traditional, time-consuming (and therefore more expensive) method of bottle fermentation. Prosecco on the other hand is fermented more quickly –  partly in metal tanks. Further explanation comes by way of the wine’s previously flawed image. Up until the 60’s Prosecco was a very sweet drink, and was therefore seen as unsophisticated (it was best known as one half of the Venetian cocktail ‘Bellini‘). It’s taken almost 50 years to shake that reputation (imagine Millwall getting to the Champions League) and become associated with a more Champagne-like, dry, experience. To help keep sales of Prosecco strong during this battle, prices have been kept low.

Here’s a guy who looks like he played for Milan in the 90s and has subsequently eaten too much pasta explaining what to look out for in the best Prosecco.

Some terms that you might see on a Prosecco label
  • Brut –  Sparkling wines produced in the EU must show the sweetness on the label. Brut means the wine has less than 12g of added sugar per litre, so is on the dry side. (There’s also ‘Extra-Brut’ and ‘Brut-Natural’ ratings for even drier wines)
  • DOCG – This stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita which is Italian for ‘controlled designation of origin guaranteed’. The Italian government have decided to protect the status of the Prosecco produced in the original small region around Valdobbiadene. Any bottle with DOCG on it is quality controlled by government officers (sounds like a good civil service job!) who also ensure it is made in the specified geographic location. If DOCG is on the label you know you’re in with a chance of getting some of the best Prosecco available.
  • Frizzante – The wine’s bubbles are dialled down a little, making it less fizzy (and often less alcoholic).
  • Spumante – The wine’s bubbles are more fizzy – like champagne.
  • Superiore – The wine is more concentrated and has a higher alcohol content
  • Valdobbiadene – The town in NE Italy where Prosecco is traditionally made.

So with that in mind here (in no particular order) is Footballers’ Wines First XI selection for the best Prosecco on the UK market.

1)  Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante – £7.49

best prosecco

This refreshing Prosecco is cleaning up the awards, Bayern Munich style. The price is pretty refreshing too. Available from Aldi

 

 

2)  Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico – £14

best prosecco

 

A common critics’ choice as the best Prosecco. It’s made by a third generation Prosecco producer and the experience shows. Generally accepted to be the Lionel Messi of Prosecco. Available via Sommelier’s Choice.

 

 3)  Perlage Animae Prosecco Spumante Brut  – £16.67

best prosecco

 

The first of a new breed of organic Proseccos that’s produced with no added sulphites. Delicious, dry, balanced, and organic. It’s a middle class dream! Available via realfoods.com

 

 

4)  La Farra Prosecco Superiore – £13.99

italian prosecco

 

With flavours of Apples, peaches and a distinctive hint of fennel and herbs we’re keen on this fine example of a Superiore Prosecco. Available via the ‘Footballers Wines Collection’ at Red Squirrel Wines.

5)  Conte Priuli Prosecco – £9.99

best prosecco

An off-dry prosecco that has critical praise for its depth of flavour and value for money. Has been on sale for as low as £6.99 (around christmas time) and particularly at that price is an absolute steal. Available from M&S.

6)  Fillipo Sansovino – £8.25

fillipo sansovino

For the money this is another great wine. Like Southampton’s midfield it’s refreshing, enjoyable and nicely balanced. Available from Asda.

 

 

 

7)  Tesco Finest Bisol – £8.99

bisol prosecco

A creamy, light fruity Prosecco made by the well established producer Bisol. Not produced in the inner sanctum of Prosecco production, so only gets a ‘DOC’ label. But just because it’s come through the lower leagues rather than the academy it’s still a lovely wine. Available from Tesco

 

 

8)  Taste the Difference Conegliano DOCG – £7.50

taste the difference conteThis is produced within the traditional boundaries of the Prosecco region (hence DOCG on the label) and especially at its current rate of £7.50 reduced from £10, is a Premiership product at Championship prices. It Available from Sainsbury’s. N.B Watch out for the now-in-store 2013 vintage which has just won the prestigious International Wine Challenge Great Value Sparkling award.

 9)  Canti Prosecco – £9.99

canti-prosecco

A little lighter, dryer and paler in colour than a lot of Proseccos, this wine stands out from the crowd. Available from Morrisons.

 

10)  Torri La Marca Treviso, NV Extra Dry – £12.99

Prosecco la marca treviso

Citrusy with a touch of sweetness, this Prosecco is a great all rounder. ‘NV’ stands for non-vintage – but don’t let that put you off. It normally means that several years’ wines from a particular vineyard have been blended together to produce a better wine. Available from Majestic.

 

11)  Botter Prosecco Frizzante – £8.45

Botter-ProseccoA lovely looking, great value Prosecco. It’s ‘Frizzante’ – so isn’t as fizzy as other Proseccos. That makes it great as a glass-charger at parties or end of season awards dinners. Available from the Good Wine Shop.

Aromas of white blossom with hints of orange peel, melon and white chocolate.
Very fine-textured palate. Good concentration and a long, sweet, floral finish with a return of peach and orange zest. 18.5pts/20
Price: £16.20–16.99 Free Run Juice, Seckford Wine Agency, The Old Vicarage
Drink: 2012
Alc: 11.5%
Read more at http://www.decanter.com/wine/labels/34021/slideshow/0/top-10-proseccos#QWbDQ4YuQudSpJyC.99
Aromas of white blossom with hints of orange peel, melon and white chocolate.
Very fine-textured palate. Good concentration and a long, sweet, floral finish with a return of peach and orange zest. 18.5pts/20
Price: £16.20–16.99 Free Run Juice, Seckford Wine Agency, The Old Vicarage
Drink: 2012
Alc: 11.5%
Read more at http://www.decanter.com/wine/labels/34021/slideshow/0/top-10-proseccos#QWbDQ4YuQudSpJyC.99
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