As the countdown to Christmas begins, it’s wise to ensure you always have a bottle of fizz on hand. Prosecco is our go-to tipple during the party season. It's significantly more affordable than champagne (all of these come in at under £20 a bottle, with many a lot less) and has a light, refreshing taste.
We’re not alone. Brits now spend over £350m a year on the Italian sparkler, over £100m more than is spent on champagne.
When buying, be sure to look out for the DOC mark (The Controlled Designation of Origin) – which spans nine provinces in northern Italy. Anything without this cannot legally be called prosecco.
Its flowery, fruity nature means prosecco is best enjoyed young, ideally just one year after its harvest. Glass specialists Riedel recommend a tulip-shaped glass to drink it from, in order to retain the bubbles – no one wants a semi-flat fizz. But the most important rule of all is to make sure it’s chilled.
The Crummbs team has quaffed its way through a wide selection of bottles to bring you their favourites.
1. Dal Bello Don Gallo Prosecco, 11%: £12.40, Honest Grapes
Featuring in some of London’s top Italian restaurants, the Dal Bello is online wine retailer Honest Grape’s star prosecco. Dry, elegant and weighty, it’s a refreshing aperitivo and pleasant accompaniment to light lunches. Fully sparkling with a fine mousse, or froth, this is a real cut above. Produced in the picturesque hills of Asolo, Northern Italy for many years, it’s said to be enjoyed by Venetian builders at 11am. Quite frankly, when it’s this delicious, we don’t blame them.
2. Trevisiol L. e Figli Italy Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, 11.5%: £13.95, Berry Bros & Rudd
The Valdobbiadene region, just north of Venice, is regarded as one of the best sources of prosecco grapes, coming from vineyards 300 metres above sea level. This small, family-owned producer was among the first prosecco winemaker and Berry Bros & Rudd has been working with it for over 15 years. White, peachy fruit and stony minerality combine to make this a delightful apéritif which goes perfectly with salty prosciutto and almonds. Although you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the special-looking gold and orange label also makes it a top choice to gift a host.
3. Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco, 11%: £17.99, Selfridges
Thomson & Scott specialises in low and no-sugar booze and has now turned its attention to prosecco. With only 0.7g of sugar per 100ml glass (less than 50 per cent of the usual sugar content added in the production process), this is also certified organic and vegan. With a dry yet refreshing taste, this is a guilt-free treat. It proved a hit and sold out in the first week it was launched, but it is now back in stock. As well as the 75cl bottle, there are also mini and magnum sizes.
4. Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, 11%: £7.49, Aldi
This light and refreshing prosecco is a quality option at a fantastic price, which is delicious on its own or when added to cocktails. Crisp and dry, with autumn fruit flavours and delicate floral touches, this little Italian sparkler is a real party popper. We’ll be adding peach purée to ours to create a classic Bellini.
5. Terra Serena Prosecco Frizzante, 11%: £10, Borough Wines
The Serena family has been producing sparkling wines in the hills north of Venice for more than 100 years. Today, Gerardo and Giorgio Serena are at the helm, producing delicate-tasting prosecco that leaves you wanting another glass. Made in a “frizzante” style, this has a light sparkle rather than a full-on fizz. You get fine bubbles, lively peach and apricot fruit flavours, followed by a crisp, frothy finish. It’s great as a party bottle or for using as a base for cocktails.
6. Monticella Prosecco Superiore DOCG, 11.5%: £15, Marks & Spencer
M&S winemaker Jeneve Williams searched high and low for a Prosecco Superiore (the most premium variety, produced in the central prosecco region) and it was this exceptional example from the Dal Bianco family that really stood out. Made with grapes from the Rive di Ogliano vineyard in Northern Italy which is unique for its steeply sloped terroir, this special single-vineyard prosecco is fresh, elegant and complex.
7. Daylesford Valdobbiadene Prosecco: £13.50, Daylesford
Produced from organically grown grapes, this sparkling Italian wine is light, as complementary to a continental breakfast as it is to antipasti. It has a clean straw colour, small bubbles and a touch of pear and melon in its aroma. The unusual cork can be opened in the same way as a traditional wine bottle, rather than being popped, and the signature low-key Daylesford branding make this an elegant option for a present.
8. San Leo Brut NV Glera Italian Prosecco, 11%: £7.79, Waitrose
This is one of Waitrose’s best-sellers and we can see why. Light and fresh bubbles give way to an aromatic scent and finish with a gentle mousse. This is another good choice when creating a classic bellini, but also an ideal accompaniment to antipasti.
9. Allini Prosseco Treviso Frizzante, 10.5%: £4.99, Lidl
We found the light sparkle in this frizzante lifted the crisp, dry pear flavour. It’s particularly good with strawberries, so why not try garnishing your glass with one? The screw top comes in very useful if you’re travelling too (train picnic anyone?) or if you know you won’t finish a bottle in one sitting.
The Verdict: Proseccos
If you’re just looking for a bellini base, Lidl and Aldi have some great-value options. However, when prosecco needs to be the star of the show, it’s worth splashing out a little more for the sophisticated Dal Bello Prosecco from Honest Grapes. Wanting to impress the in-laws? Take a bottle of Berry Bros & Rudd’s Prosecco di Valdobbiadene along with you for maximum brownie points.
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