All bubbly is sparkling wine and Prosecco DOC is no different, it’s wine with bubbles, and the difference is how it’s made and where it’s from.
What Is Prosecco?
Prosecco is a sparkling wine most well known from Italy. While there are several qualifications to be labeled Prosecco, to be called Prosecco DOC, it’s made in a very specific region of Italy using a specific grape.
Prosecco is made using the tank method and uses primarily Prosecco grapes called glera. You may also find Prosecco using chardonnay, pinot gris, and even pinot noir grapes, but in order for it to be called Prosecco it has to contain at least 85% glera grape.
Prosecco has two different levels of bubbliness: the most bubbly is spumante and a lightly sparkling Prosecco is called frizzante. There’s even a still Prosecco with no bubbles at all but what’s the fun in that?
Thanks for the glera grape, Prosecco tends to have a more citrus or flowery taste than champagne does. Also, because Champagne is aged longer you will get deeper flavors that develop during that time.
How Prosecco is Made
This is a much quicker method with only 4 steps and more economical than the Traditional Method which is definitely an advantage for winemakers.
- Harvest the grapes: which is when they are picked from the vineyard. This timing depends on the conditions of the environment that season. Typically this is done a bit earlier than other grapes to keep the sugar levels low and the acid high. Once harvested they are pressed to extract the juice
- Fermentation: This is done the same way as any wine. If this bubbly is going to be a blend of grapes or a non-vintage bubbly, the other wines are added now.
- Second Fermentation: The wine (or blend of wines) is put into a tank with yeast and sugar. The tank is then sealed so that secondary fermentation can take place.
- Bottling: Once the second fermentation is complete, the dead yeast cells (lees) are removed through filtration, dosage is added to the tank and the Prosecco is bottled under pressure.
Since this method is quicker and more economical, there are wineries that are not located in the specific region in Italy who make a Prosecco using this exact same method.
Prosecco is definitely an affordable bubbly to stock up on especially if you enjoy a sweeter and fruitier bubbly as most Prosecco lends itself to that.
Just because Italy is most well known for Prosecco, not all sparkling wine that comes from Italy can use that word. Prosecco DOC is produced in a very specific area in Northeastern Italy. Prosecco coming out of this particular region is protected and has the geographic designation label of DOC, short for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or “controlled designation of origin.”
Now you might also see a label: Prosecco DOCG which means it’s guaranteed to be a Prosecco from a region that makes a more “superior” Prosecco.
While many don’t care if it’s Prosecco DOC or Prosecco DOCG, you know when you see that label on your bottle of Prosecco that you are about to drink the real deal that has to pass many strict guidelines in order to be allowed to use that classification.
Best Grocery Store Prosecco
There was a big boom in Prosecco purchases mainly because it’s typically cheaper than champagne and many sparkling wines.
We gathered some popular, easy to find grocery store Prosecco and tried them out. Here they are ranked from what we think is the best prosecco to the ones we will not be buying again.
All of the bottles we picked up at the grocery store had the Prosecco DOC label on it, so yes, these all are straight from Italy.
With a crisp taste, this was super enjoyable and since it was very light and refreshing, the bottle was gone in no time.
I drink LaMarca all the time when I travel especially because Alaska Airlines has the splits as do many airport restaurants. Hugely popular because of it’s fresh taste making it very easy to drink.
The cutest bottle award certainly goes to Chloe! We could clearly taste the green apple in this one making it more tart than the first two. You may have heard me talking about being able to taste the earth or the minerals in certain bubblies before and that is the case with Chloe as well.
With a tie for 3rd place, Cupcake Prosecco is an easy to drink and quite refreshing Prosecco. This one definitely lends itself to the fruity flavors of peach and melon with just a little bit of sweetness.
4. Canella Prosecco
We found this one to be overpowering with citrus and green apple flavors making it super tart and a bit harsh. We definitely added some fruit purée to turn this into a bellini to make it enjoyable.
5. Fossetta Prosecco
How cute are these mini Prosecco bottles? However, this was definitely the least favorite of the bunch. The initial aroma made if very hard to enjoy this Prosecco, but we, of course, did try it and that was about it. After all, life is too short to drink bad bubbly, right?
So, if you’re in the grocery store staring at the selection of Prosecco trying to decide which to pick up, I would grab the Josh or LaMarca no question. And if you’re planning on making some Bellinis with it, then I would recommend numbers either of those or the Cupcake or Chloe.
How to Drink Prosecco
As I have said many times before, I am no expert, but I do prefer to drink my bubbly out of a tulip glass and most experts would agree with this. And the recommendation specifically for Prosecco is to drink it from a tulip glass.
We had a virtual brunch where we featured the bellini made, of course, with Prosecco and if you’re looking for more bubbly cocktail recipes, you can get our Bubbly Side of Life recipe guide with recipes that will not be shared anywhere else.