14 best proseccos that will get you in the festive spirit

No longer a cheaper substitute for champagne, this Italian sparkler has come into its own

Joanne Gould
Friday 13 November 2020 10:24
<p>This is aslo the first time a rose alternative of the sparkling drink has been made and sold</p>

This is aslo the first time a rose alternative of the sparkling drink has been made and sold

Prosecco’s sparkle never seems to dull, and our love of the crowd-pleasing fizz continues to grow every year. This Christmas, prosecco sales are expected to soar with more of us stocking up on bubbles to enjoy at home as our festive parties and plans remain uncertain. 

With its relatively low alcohol content (usually around 11 per cent ABV), gentle fizz and easy-drinking character, prosecco remains the perfect all-occasion sparkling wine. Whatever restrictions may be in place, make sure your celebrations go off with a bang by ordering in a few bottles of the good stuff to enjoy the festive spirit.

But what should you look for in a good bottle of prosecco? Its popularity means it is ubiquitous, so picking out a prosecco that will deliver an appropriate amount of Christmas cheer can be a challenge. 

Neil Philips, UK Ambassador for Prosecco DOC – the consortium that manage the Denomination of Controlled Origin and ensure prosecco standards are upheld – directs us towards a few key points to look for in a great bottle. Aside from making sure the bottle carries the Prosecco DOC label, he says: "Prosecco is best enjoyed young at around one to two years old, as you’re looking for freshness and softness. 

“While all producers will have their own styles, there should be a fruit character with lots of citrus and green or red apples, plus some floral notes. Then, remember that the driest style of prosecco is brut – extra dry is sweeter, then dry sweeter still – and start exploring from there. Expect to spend around £10.”

With those pointers in mind, we tested upwards of 35 bottles of prosecco from different producers and at a range of price points, looking for that important youthful freshness, pleasant and persistent fizz and plenty of fruity, floral character. 

We were overwhelmed with the quality from the bottles we tested: from small, artisanal producers right up to the supermarket bottles we found reliable, budget-friendly bottles bubbling with fun. 

Bonus points were awarded for prosecco made in an organic and/or environmentally sustainable manner, and we have tried to include a range of styles from brut, extra dry, frizzante, spumante and – controversially – even a new rosé number in order to tick as many people’s prosecco boxes as possible. 

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Alberto Nani organic prosecco DOC

We were blown away by the quality of this prosecco. An extra dry spumante that still manages to be extremely crisp and mineral with no over-sweetness, this was an instant hit with our testers who liked how well structured, creamy and fresh it was – they estimated it cost twice the price. A straw-coloured yellow with the desired apple, peach and pear notes coming through easily, this great value wine is fabulous on its own, or with many kinds of canapes. We’ll be stocking up on this one.

Sea Change prosecco DOC

Sea Change produce a small range of ethically-sourced, eco-friendly wines that help to fight plastic pollution: the bottles don’t use plastic wrap around the cork as most wine packaging does, they use paper labels from sustainable forests and grape waste and sales also support ocean conservation projects worldwide. A good start and things get even better when you taste the prosecco which comes from Veneto. Made solely from glera grapes, Sea Change prosecco is a silver medal-winning extra dry wine that evokes orchard fruit flavours alongside a fine, luxurious mousse that makes drinking a glass or two very easy indeed. It’s so light and fresh that it matches well with food or on its own – so enjoy with anything from seafood up to desserts. Cute label, too.

Molmenti & Celot extra dry prosecco

Wanderlust Wine is a small business specialising in searching out independent winemakers producing low-intervention wines and this example from Molmenti & Celot is a prime example. Made by an Italian gold medal-winning Olympian (for the kayak slalom!) and his cousin, this prosecco was born of a desire to produce a high quality fizz in direct contrast to the over-sweet, mass-produced wine being produced for commercial export. This then is a top notch prosecco showcasing the terroir of their Fruili vineyard and traditional winemaking methods: the result is a deliciously pronounced minerality, light florals and an elegant greenness from apples and pear notes. They say it is a prosecco for Champagne lovers, thanks to its fresh, dry and light style and we’d agree; no wonder this prosecco is Wanderlust Wine’s best-selling wine. If you like this, it’s worth checking out Wanderlust Wine’s brilliant membership packages for more of the same.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Conegliano prosecco superiore DOCG

Not all supermarket proseccos are made equal in this world. We love this Taste the Difference Conegliano prosecco from Sainsbury’s, which has been a reliable go-to of ours for years now. Neil thinks that a lot of supermarkets are now doing great things with their own-label proseccos and we’d venture this is one of them. A bone-dry brut example of a typical Veneto prosecco, this wine has tons of zippy, zesty lemons and a welcome scent of toasted apricot brioche making it a perfect aperitif choice – especially when paired with salty antipasti. This prosecco sports the DOCG certification (even stricter than the DOC) therefore has enjoyed longer barrel ageing – which imparts complexity and flavour – and had to pass muster with a committee of independent tasting experts. They clearly enjoyed it and so do we. 

Tesco Finest Valdobbiadene prosecco superiore DOCG

Another brilliant supermarket prosecco here, which  once again comes sporting the desirable DOCG label. Made using grapes from a selection of the best vineyards surrounding the Valdobbiadene Hill, this young prosecco is bursting with expressive juicy pears, scents of white peach and has citrus in its bucketloads. Made in the brut style, we loved how refreshing and almost sherbert-like this prosecco was – it is calling out for a party and some canapes: aren’t we all?  

Giol prosecco frizzante 2017 organic

Here is something a bit different. Order up this Giol prosecco along with a bounty of organic goodies from Abel & Cole and you won’t be disappointed. A rustic looking bottle with the traditional cork and string closure, the family estate at San Polo di Pave in Veneto has been making wines since 1427 and this pretty prosecco is a classic example. Made from 100 per cent glera grapes, the aromas here are subtle apples and peach, giving way to more pronounced apple and honeysuckle on the palate, with a clean finish and good acidity leaving you ready for more. This is a frizzante, semi-sparkling prosecco, made for immediate drinking and very versatile for it.

The Emissary Asolo prosecco superiore DOCG

This is the priciest bottle we sampled, but we decided it was so delicious, it was worth it. A brut style from a new-ish British brand, The Emissary, who create modern and elegant versions of traditional prosecco from a family-run small-yield environmentally friendly vineyard in the Asolo region, this prosecco is DOCG labelled and feels – and tastes – really luxurious. Made from 85 per cent glera grapes for that characteristic green fruit and florals, this prosecco also benefits from the round, creaminess of 15 per cent chardonnay, making this pale-yellow fizz longer and more complex than others. We loved how tiny and persistent the bubbles were, and the low sugar content makes it crisp and vibrant. One to savour.

Wild Thing organic prosecco

Vintage Roots stock a well-curated selection of organic, biodynamic, ethical and sustainable wines and this Wild Thing organic prosecco is one we particularly like. A frizzante example from Treviso, this is a softly sparkling, super easy-drinking prosecco with lovely sweet pear notes and a floral bouquet with lots of signature citrus freshness to finish – though not as dry as many of the other bottles in this list. We love the flip-top closure which means there’s no need to finish the bottle, as once resealed the bubbles stay gently fizzy for a day or two more. Even better, every bottle sold means a donation is made to the Born Free Foundation, funding animal welfare and conservation projects around the world.

Costellore prosecco rose DOC

In May the Italian government decreed that rose prosecco could be produced and this, from Aldi’s Castellore range of prosecco is the first to hit UK shelves – at a bargain price, too. Like standard prosecco DOC, the new pink variety must be made primarily with glera grapes but achieves its pretty pale berry hue from the addition of pinot noir grapes. The result is an extremely pleasant wine with fine long lasting bubbles giving huge amounts of strawberry mousse and more summer fruits that you can shake a stick at. There’s also that distinctive floral peachiness we know and love, so this is recognisably a prosecco and is sure to be a huge hit. Try the mini for just £2.29 if you don’t believe us.

Asolo prosecco DOCG

Prosecco may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Adnams, known as they are for its Southwold brewery and tasty ciders, but it is very worth checking out the wines too. It carries a few proseccos, and this Asolo prosecco is our favourite: soft, fruity cxtra dry with an elegant and fine fizz, this is a bottle you could drink with absolutely anything, though we’d be tempted to take up Adnams’ suggestion and pair it with fish and chips on the beach (weather permitting). This is a very ripe and juicy prosecco, with plenty of sun-drenched fruits thanks to the vineyard’s sunny spot on the southern side of the Venetian Alps. A DOCG labelled wine, with green melon and zest for days. Adnams sell this by the bottle in stores, or by the case online.

Luminoso Leggero prosecco NV

One of the things many of us like about prosecco is that the low-ish alcohol content (around 11 per cent) makes it such an easy-going, fun drink. Well, this Luminoso Leggero prosecco from Laithwaite’s takes the easy-drinking even further with a mere 8.5 per cent ABV, making it noticeably lower in alcohol without taking away any of the enjoyment; you would not immediately think this was a lower-alcohol wine. Off-dry and the sweetest bottle we tried of them all, this wine still managed to express plenty of lemony fizz and freshness, with a hint of almond and sherbet – a testament to the family’s 1500 years of winemaking experience in the Veneto region. 

Azienda Agricola Colsaliz prosecco Treviso Millesimato extra dry Barbamento

Specialist wine merchants Champagnes & Chateaux put any allegiances to the beloved French fizz aside to bring its customers this stellar example of prosecco. Hailing from the hilly heart of Treviso, this winemaking family has been producing traditionally-made prosecco since 1889, set apart from the crowd thanks to the slowly maturing grapes, allowing for more developed flavours. Using the characteristic glera grapes, the farm uses modern technology and classic methodology to achieve the intensely complex blend of heady peach aromas and refreshing acidity in this delicious extra dry prosecco. We enjoyed the youthful greenness of this wine which burst with zest and a pleasant nuttiness. A fantastic fizz worthy of any celebration – and it’s vegan too.

Campo del Passo prosecco spumante

The Northern Wine & Beer Co. has one of the most refreshing and interesting collections of wine available online – delivered anywhere in the UK – we’ve seen for a while. With a very down to earth, unstuffy attitude, it has handpicked a wide range of intriguing wines from around the world taking any guesswork away. We like its pick of proseccos and this Campo Del Passo extra dry is everything you want from a good Italian fizz: good value for money, a suitably lively and fine bubble, and the right balance of florals, fruit and sweetness from the full glera grape profile. Put simply, it goes with everything. It mentions starters and risotto as ideal pairings, and we’d agree, though it could take you from aperitivo right up to pudding if you’d like.

Morrisons The Best Valdobbiadene prosecco DOCG

This Prosecco from Morrisons’ The Best range is consistently good and its £8 price tag is even better. Made using grapes from both Conegliano and Valdobbiadene regions, which come together to achieve a absolutely superb value wine and a DOCG tag to boot. We’re getting apples on the palate and the nose for a double hit of orchard delight, and some subtle white florals linger on the palate too. The colour is very pale, which belies its youth, and the extra dry profile makes this a crowd-pleasing bottle that you could get out for any situation. Interestingly, Morrisons suggest pairing with Chinese dishes – the sweetness and usual versatility means this holds up well as long as you steer clear of too much spice, so think more won ton and spring roll canapes, less Szechuan pepper. Very nice.

The verdict: Proseccos

The Alberto Nani prosecco had to be our outright winner as it is such a quintessentially perfect prosecco. We can’t get enough of those rounded, creamy flavours balanced as they are with juicy apples and tart lemon and lime zest – and the price tag really made us do a double take. 

Brut fans, we’d point you towards the dreamy Asolo from The Emissary, who really are doing wonderful things with Prosecco. The Giol Frizzante from Abel & Cole proved rather too easy-drinking too – so do pop one in your basket along with your veg box for a touch of much needed Christmas cheer. Cin cin!   

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