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Bubbly prosecco is now one of the UK’s most popular alcoholic drinks. Not all varieties deliver profound flavour and the bubbles may disappear quickly, but this sparkling white wine is cheaper than champagne because it's bulk-fermented in large tanks, rather than in individual bottles, meaning its production costs are much less. At about 11-12% ABV, prosecco is also lower in alcohol content than champagne.
Drink chilled as a stand-alone aperitif, or paired with something equally light in flavour.
In a cocktail, prosecco’s flavours and sparkle are easily overpowered. It's famously used in bellinis, where it's mixed with puréed white peaches.
To make a dessert reminiscent of the cocktail, fill tall glasses about halfway with sliced peaches, just cover with prosecco, and leave to infuse in the fridge for 2 hrs, then for another 1 hr at room temperature. Just before serving, top up with very cold prosecco. Eat the prosecco-laced peaches with long forks, then enjoy the infused prosecco.
See our prosecco recipes for more inspiration.
Prosecco is light, fresh and lively, so it should ideally be enjoyed within three years of bottling. It slowly deteriorates in the bottle, unlike champagne and wine, which can improve over time.
Almost everywhere that sells alcohol.
Genuine prosecco will have a DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) rating clearly visible on the label, but this guarantees only its correct geographical origin and not the quality, variety of grapes used or how long ago it was bottled. Most proseccos are made with the glera grape, but other varieties may be used.
There are two styles of prosecco. A spumante will usually be more expensive, possibly because it has undergone a secondary fermentation in the bottle that offers heightened flavours and longer-lasting bubbles. A frizzante or gentile will have far fewer bubbles, as would a cremant from France. Prosecco is traditionally quite sweet, but is now available in brut, dry and extra dry varieties.
See our prosecco review for the best options.