Prosecco is effervescent, delicious, and extremely festive, so it’s great for serving at any party or event. But with so many different bottles on the market today, how do you choose which one to buy?
This guide will take you through everything you need to know about Prosecco, tell you how to choose the perfect bottle for any occasion, and even give you some recommendations for the best brands on the market today.
What is Prosecco?
Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine that is extremely popular all over the world. Prosecco is often seen as the more affordable alternative to Champagne, although they are made with different grapes and different wine-making methods. Prosecco is usually fairly affordable, but there are bottles available for every price range. Prosecco is much more than just Champagne’s cheaper cousin.
Prosecco is made from Prosecco grapes and is made into wine using the Charmat Method, a winemaking technique that involves secondary fermentation in a stainless steel tank. The employment of this method means Prosecco’s bubbles usually last longer than beer’s, but not quite as long as Champagne’s.
There are actually three styles of Prosecco, categorized by the number of bubbles they contain or the amount of gas pressure in the bottle. The first style is Spumante, or sparkling. Spumante is the most popular and has the effervescent bubbles we are used to seeing in a glass of Prosecco. The second style is Frizzante or semi-sparkling. This style is less bubbly, with only a slight amount of fizz. The final style is Tranquillo, or still Prosecco. This style is a still wine that contains no bubbles. Prosecco Tranquillo is rarely seen outside of Italy.
Most Prosecco wines are made in the dry, brut style. However, due to Prosecco’s inherent fruity flavors, it often tastes sweeter than it actually is. While brut is the most popular Prosecco on the market, a few other sweetness levels are available. Proseccos are labeled for sweetness as follows:
- Brut when the residual sugar content is less than 12 g/l.
- Extra Dry when the sugar content varies between 12 and 17 g/l.
- Dry when the sugar content is between 17 and 32 g/l.
- Demi-Sec when the sugar content varies between 32 and 50 g/l.
It’s fairly rare to see a demi-sec Prosecco on the market, but they are out there.
Prosecco quality rankings
While Prosecco is usually more affordable than Champagne (a bottle of Champagne usually starts at around $40, whereas a bottle of Prosecco can be as low as $12), that doesn’t mean all Prosecco is cheap, or that any of it is low quality. Prosecco is categorized by the region it was produced in, and you can usually find this quality-level ranking on the back of the bottle.
- Prosecco DOC: This is the most common quality level of Prosecco. It can hail from nine different provinces, spanning Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions. This is usually the label you’ll see on the most inexpensive bottles. It can still be delicious; it’s just the least refined.
- Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG: The second tier just above Prosecco DOC, wines from this category are made from grapes in a smaller, more focused growing area between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. This category is known for producing some of the most concentrated Prosecco wines.
- Asolo Prosecco DOCG: Made in a smaller hillside region across the river from Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, the wines in this category are excellent and have high-quality standards. Nowadays, you’ll see these bottles labeled with Asolo Prosecco, but some older bottles may still bear the former name Colli Asolani.
- Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive DOCG: Wines in this category are a bit more exclusive and high-quality. To fall into this category, wines can only hail from specific communes or vineyards within Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. There are currently 43 communes that can be labeled as such.
- Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG: The most exclusive of the quality rankings, this is a micro-region containing just 265 acres of land, located just outside Valdobbiadene. This is considered to be the finest territory for Prosecco production in the world.
Best Prosecco wines for any occasion
We’ve broken down our top picks for bottles of Prosecco for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a chill movie night, a Sunday brunch, or a fancy dinner party, you’ll find your perfect bottle on this list.
Best for every day: Adriano Adami Prosecco
We love this bottle because of how versatile it is. It’s wonderful to sip casually, toast with, and makes a fabulous mimosa. Adriano Adami Prosecco is a great bottle to keep around the house for surprise guests. It is fresh and crisp, with peach and melon flavors. Plus, at around $23 a bottle, it’s affordable enough for everyday sipping.
Best for a dinner party: Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG
The Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore is more of a high-end Prosecco that still offers amazing value for the money. It has refreshing bubbles and bright acidity, with delicate pear and apple aromas and a crisp finish.
This is a bottle that will definitely impress your dinner guests, as it pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes and has great complexity and intensity. It won’t get overwhelmed by heavier dishes and would pair wonderfully with any kind of pasta or meat dish you prepare. This bottle retails for about $28.
Best for cocktails: La Marca NV Extra Dry Prosecco
Hailing from the Treviso area of Northern Italy, La Marca Prosecco is a popular, widely available brand that is delicious when sipped on its own but works wonderfully in a cocktail like an Aperol Spritz. It’s easy to drink, slightly sweet, and offers fresh aromas of citrus, stone fruit, and honey. Since it’s going into a mixed drink, you don’t want to spend too much money, but this stuff is perfect at $12 a bottle.
Best for holiday parties: Martini & Rossi Prosecco
When hosting a holiday party, you want a bubbly, festive Prosecco that’s not too expensive, so you can afford to stock up on a few bottles. Martini & Rossi Prosecco is absolutely perfect for hosting a large family gathering, no matter what the occasion or time of year.
It is smooth, dry, and elegant, perfect for sipping on its own or in a cocktail. It has hints of peach and apple and will pair perfectly with whatever food you choose to serve. Plus, it’s a steal at only $16 a bottle, so if your holiday guests come ready to drink, you can be prepared.
Best for brunch: Zonin Prosecco
No brunch is complete without a bottle of Prosecco for mimosas. Zonin Prosecco is the quintessential brunch beverage; it has persistent, strong bubbles, a pleasantly fruity palette, and a refined, elegant bouquet. It is medium-bodied, perfect for sipping, and absolutely delicious when combined with orange juice to make a mimosa, especially because of the abundance of citrus notes present. At only $13 a bottle, it offers a tremendous bang for your buck.
Best for a toast: Villa Sandi Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze DOCG
A special occasion calls for a special bottle. The Villa Sandi Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze DOCG prosecco is refined, elegant, and complex. It’s a bit more of a high-end bottle, perfect for toasting to any number of special events.
The nose opens with an intense and fruity bouquet, with hints of golden apple, exotic fruit, and citrus. It is fresh and dry on the palette while still remaining soft and fruity. It pairs well with various desserts, but it is also perfect for sipping on its own. This bottle retails for about $45. A bit more expensive when it comes to Prosecco, but perfect for a special occasion.
Prosecco is so much more than just Champagne’s inexpensive cousin. It can be high-quality, elegant, and complex, just like Champagne can. Many Proseccos are available on the market today, ranging from inexpensive to high-end, brut to semi-dec. It can be hard to choose which bottle is right for the occasion you’re shopping for. Next time you’re perusing the Prosecco section at your local liquor store, keep this handy guide in mind.
If you prefer to get your Prosecco delivered to your door, Saucey is for you. We offer speedy delivery and no order minimums, and we have thousands of wines, beers, and spirits for you to choose from. Whether you need a six-pack of beer to watch the big game, or a high-end bottle of Prosecco to toast on a special occasion, Saucey has what you’re looking for.