Perhaps because I can not travel to Italy right now, (I was scheduled to travel to Venice in April) all things Italian feel very precious to me. I revel in looking at photos of past trips, and dream of the day I can once again experience la dolce vita.
Meanwhile, I honor my Italian-flavored wanderlust with a glass (or three) of prosecco. And since next week is National Prosecco Week, it’s the perfect time to share with you some of the prosecco wines I’ve been drinking and feel confident about recommending. We may not be able to have an Italian experience now, but we can travel to Italy through a glass of prosecco!
By the way, if you’re interested I wrote an entire article on wine holidays. Really.
Travel to Italy Through a Glass of Prosecco
If you’ve ever been to Venice you’ve been very close to the prosecco wine production region. All prosecco comes from the Veneto and Friuli regions of northeast Italy. In fact, you could easily visit Venice and include a side trip to the Prosecco hills. In 2019, the Prosecco HIlls between the towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano became a recognized UNESCO World Heritage landscape of cultural significance.
What is Prosecco?
Prosecco is Italy’s most famous sparkling wine. It must be made of 85% Glera grapes and can be 15% other local white wine grapes. All prosecco is produced in the northeast in the region between the Veneto and Friuli-Giulia, while the best prosecco is from a sub-region called Valdobbiadene
How Is Prosecco Made?
Prosecco is fermented in a large pasteurization tank. This is called the tank method or Metodo Italiano. After the second fermentation in a pasteurization tank, it is bottled. Prosecco is a wine meant to be fruity and fresh, and drunk young. Read more about sparkling wines in my article: Sparkling Wines Around The World
However, just as you can not label French sparkling wine champagne unless the grapes are actually grown in the Champagne region of France, you can’t label Italian sparkling wine prosecco unless the grapes are grown in the Veneto region of Italy.
If you want to drink good prosecco, know your DOCG and DOC…
All prosecco is produced under strict guidelines designated to ensure quality and authenticity. The two main designations are as follows:
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, in English, Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin. DOCG is the highest and most strict qualification an Italian wine may receive. In fact, no wine can be DOCG without first being DOC. There will be a stamp of guarantee on the neck of the bottle. DOCG wines are slightly more expensive but worth it.
DOCG Prosecco superior is produced in the Valdobbiadene region of the Veneto.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata means, Denomination of Controlled Origin. Even though the DOC designation lacks the word guarantee, you can be sure you’re still getting Italian Prosecco made in the country’s Veneto or Friuli region.
You will see a stamp on the neck of the bottle. Eighteen percent of all wines made in the Veneto, including Prosecco, fall into this category. 80% of the prosecco region is DOC.
In honor of National Prosecco Week and Italy, I thought I’d share with you a few of the proseccos I’ve tried lately. They are all very quaffable and reasonably priced.
I will add to this list periodically–so if you too love prosecco, do check back and tell your friends.
Pasqua Prosecco Treviso DOC Brut
The Pasqua prosecco is very quaffable and has a really fun story. The winemaker is from the Veneto region–specifically from Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet. Each label on the bottle is a photograph of the love notes people leave in Juliet’s courtyard in Verona by Giò Martorana.
The Prosecoo Treviso DOC is 100% Glera grapes from the Treviso region of the Veneto. It’s a bright straw-yellow color and very aromatic. On the nose, it is fruity, with some notes of pear and honey. It’s has a nice finish with just a bit of tanginess to it.
We drank this wine sitting outside on a sweltering Texas summer day. It was truly refreshing!
Val d’ Oca Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza Prosecco Superiore DOCG
This prosecco is a superior DOCG quality. It’s from the Valdobbiadene, a sub-region of the Veneto known for producing the best prosecco. The Val d’ Oca Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza Prosecco Brut has aromas of ripe pear, stone fruit, and white flowers. This is a delicate wine with small and persistent bubbles and a nice finish.
We paired it with appetizers but this wine would also go well with a meal of fish, light chicken dishes, even pork, or more casual foods. It’s not uncommon in Italy for prosecco to be served with the main course. MSRP: $32
Valdo Marca Oro Prosecco Brut DOC
Valdo takes its name from the hills of the Valdobbiadene region. The family has been making wine in this region for over 100 years. The Marca Oro label is a relatively new one created for the US and North American markets.
This prosecco is brut meaning it’s the lowest in sugar. The flavors and aromas are of lemon zest and green apples. The bubbles are fine and the wine is crisp and smooth. I tried this wine for the first time while hosting a chat all about prosecco with a small group on Zoom. You can listen to it on Apple podcasts.
You can buy this on wine.com or at your local wine shop or many supermarkets. In the Dallas area you can find it at Spec’s and Whole Foods.
Torresella Prosecoo DOC
Torresella Prosecco DOC is from the region of the same name near Venice. This wine is slightly sweet with aromas of green apple, candied lemon, and ripe fruit. It would pair well with Sunday brunch, or you could make a delicious mimosa with it.
Prosecco cocktail and apertivos
Prosecco is also a great wine for mixing to create fun and refreshing drinks, especially in summer. One of the most well-known is the Aperol spritz, made with Aperol (an Italian apertivo that’s bittersweet and lovely red-orange color).
Light and refreshing the Aperol spritz is one of my go-to summer drinks. You can find the recipe on the bottle and it’s quite simple: over ice add Aperol, prosecco, and sparkling water, a slice of orange and enjoy! In my mind it will always be synonymous with cobblestone streets, handsome Italians, and birthdays.
But the spritz is not the only way to mix up some prosecco. For example, be reative and mix it with watermelon juice and fresh mint, or pour it into a popsicle mold and create prosecco pops. Cin! Cin!