Usually more of a Prosecco-no kind of person?
When you think about Prosecco, what comes to mind? Brunches? Cheap plonk? A night on the tiles? With Prosecco DOCG, you might reconsider.
Prosecco is a pale-medium straw colour, (mostly) sparkling wine. Fairly low in alcohol, 11.5% ABV. Prosecco presents itself as fruity, floral, approachable and easy-drinking. It is produced using the Glera grape, grown in the NE of Italy just above Venice in the Veneto region.
The DOCG region lies between the communes of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. They have a cooler microclimate in comparison to surrounding areas, as well as a special topography known as Hogsback hills. This all lends itself to producing a superior product.
Oh and Prosecco also comes in three fizz “strengths”…...
- Spumante (effervescent)
- Frizzante (gently sparkling)
- Tranquilo (still)
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Still with me?
Sarah Abbott MW, founder of Swirl wine group shows us to just how unique the DOCG appellation can be. Only 20% of the Prosecco we drink in the UK comes from this category. The majority of the Prosecco we can purchase here in the UK falls under the DOC appellation, this covers a broader area and has fewer restrictions on how the wine is produced and where the grapes are sourced.
There are further categories within the “DOCG”. Rive and Cartizze producers source grapes from single vineyards or communes so really are considered the best available.
Ok, it’s a lot to take in, right? I know.
Below is the “Prosecco” hierarchy in order of quality, with 1. being the highest.
- Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG.
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive DOCG
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
- Asolo Prosecco DOCG
- Prosecco DOC
So, let’s get tasting:
These are not your sweet, fizzy peach bombs. These wines are nuanced, linear and representative of their terroir and microclimates. Leave your flutes at the back of the cupboard and enjoy your prosecco out of a tulip wine glass, it’s how the Italians drink them.
1.Andreaola, “Col Del Forno” Valdobbiadene, Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Rive di Refrontolo 2019 Brut *1
Full-bodied with peachy notes, likely contributed to by the fact the soils are clay-based. The grapes are grown in vineyards at the extreme Eastern end of the region, in a relatively small area of 4Ha at 240m above sea level. When the residual sugar is low (as per this example); it keeps it fresh and fruity as opposed to sickly and insipid.
2.Spagnol,Col Del Sas, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Rive di Solighetto 2018 Brut
Extremely elegant with a slightly more green characteristic than the Refrontolo. A hint of almond. There is a bouquet of mature and exotic fruit, something a tiny bit savoury with an intense but balanced flavour. In the Valdobbiadene DOCG region, there are only 43 Rive, and for this reason, the Spagnol Valdobbiadene DOCG Rive di Solighetto Brut is widely considered as Spagnol’s absolute Cru.
3.Cuvee del Fondatore Graziano Merotto, Valdobbiadene, Prosecco Superiore DOCG Rive di Col San Martino – Millesimato 2018 Brut
An intensity and persistence to this prosecco, offering up immediate notes of white peach pulp and citrus fruits, with delicate floral undertones alongside a mineral lineage. Silky perlage and a texture of fine bubbles.
4.LE COLTURE Rive Gerardo” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Rive di Santo Stefano 2018 Brut
The most mineral and linear prosecco. Produced from the highest altitude grapes in the region. This is a special wine highlighting the nuances of the terroir. It incorporates a “greener” “fresher” feel. The creamy perlage ensures a long persistence of flavours and a refreshing palate.
The following four Prosecco are all sourced from the DOCG appellation but not from one vineyard or commune site.
5. Santa Margherita Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut NV
A great benchmark example of quality Prosecco DOCG. This sparkling wine has a clean, pleasantly fruity bouquet, reminiscent of rennet apples and peach blossom. Well rounded flavour and balance with a delicate finish.
6. Astoria Corderie” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG NV Extra Dry*2
Immediately this bottle stands out, due to its cut-glass style. Grapes for this Prosecco are sourced in the West of the region. The wine matches the bottle; this is a crisp, clean style Prosecco. With 12g/l of sugar, you might expect this to feel “sweet”, and there is a sweetness to it, but it’s so well integrated it comes through in the texture and works to boost the sensation of fruitiness and elegance.
7.Furlan Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato 2019 Extra Dry*2
Grapes are sourced from a slightly lower altitude from a small site of just 5Ha, where you find growing temperatures to be slightly warmer. With warmer growing conditions, you are going to encounter a more generous alluring character of wine.
This wine expresses an approachability and friendliness. It is aromatic and fruity, with hints of green apple and a clear scent of wisteria and acacia blossom).
8.COLLI DEL SOLIGO, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Rive di Soligo – Millesimato 2018 Dry*3
The sweetest of all the Proseccos tasted. This would be absolutely delicious with warm breakfast pastries. Contained within are notes of wisteria, elderberry, acacia and jasmine, followed by lemon, apple and yellow plum.
It is exceptionally flavourful and bursting with body, whilst being smooth and well balanced with a pleasant acidity,
Thanks to Sarah Abbott MW and Madeleine Waters of Swirl Wine Group for presenting and organising this tasting.
*1 What you and I think of as “dry”, very little residual sugar. (0-12g/l)
*2 Extra dry is the most popular group for UK sales. (12-17g/l)
*3 Dry sweeter than extra dry (I know, it’s a little confusing) (17-32g/l)