Years ago Prosecco was a bland, mass-produced sparkling wine from northeast Italy consumed primarily within Italy. In less than ten years, Prosecco sales in USA increased from $500,000 to over $4 million and last year it was the fastest growing wine category.
Why the change in fortunes for Italian Prosecco producers?
In 2009 the government elevated a small area of Prosecco zone to DOCG status, an indication of best quality. Coincidentally, this caused other Prosecco producers to improve their quality. They also re-classified Prosecco and just as Champagne is a sparkling wine from specific communes in France, Prosecco MUST now be produced in Veneto region from the varietal Glera (and other specified white grapes).
But the main reason for gaining market share is that EVERYONE LOVES BUBBLES! With the improved quality of Prosecco wine, it became a substitute for champagne. The price-point of under $15 for many Prosecco wines is a stark contrast to the $40 Champagne average. Today, Prosecco unit volume is double Champagne but Champagne dollar sales are greater.
How to buy Prosecco
1. The flavor of Prosecco varies in dryness. Although confusing, Brut is drier than Extra Dry which is drier than Dry.
2. The best Prosecco comes from DOCG villages of Conegliano, Valdobbiadene and Cartizze which appear on the label. The flavor profile of these wines is Brut (dry).
3. Generally, Prosecco under $15 will have less dry (sweet) flavor.
4. Prosecco is a popular mixer with orange juice (Mimosa) or pear nectar (Bellini).
MIONETTI Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG NV $18
Wine Spectator says “Bright and juicy, this creamy Prosecco mixes ripe green melon and white peach fruit with flavors of almond skin, candied lemon zest and honey.”
NINO FRANCO Rustico Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG NV $15
Decanter 90 rating says “From one of Valdobbiadene’s oldest wineries, this tastes vital and fresh. The bright fruit flavours have good intensity and the bubbles are gently persistent, making it a great wine to go with food.”
LAMARCA Extra Dry Prosecco NV $12
Wine Spectator says “savory note of almond-tinged Sherry accents fruit flavors of mandarin orange and peach, while well-meshed acidity keeps this fresh, leading to a moderate, zesty finish.”
Cheers, Bob the WineGuy
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