Italian prosecco is as popular a choice of fizz as traditional champagne or cava. Read the BBC Good Food review of the best bottles under £25 and find your new favourite sparkling wine…
Aldi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore NV, £7.99
Probably the best value prosecco on the market. Though there’s quite a bit of sweetness, it’s light, clean and not in any way cloying. The creamy slightly yeasty finish gives it a note of sophistication. Buy from Aldi.
The Wine Society Prosecco Brut NV, £10.50
Prosecco is actually a much better drink than champagne to serve at events such as weddings as it is cheaper, lower in alcohol and much less acidic – therefore much easier to drink! This dry refreshing sparkler would be my pick for entertaining. Buy from The Wine Society.
Definition Prosecco Brut NV, £10.99
The village of Valdobbiadene makes some of the best wines in the wider Prosecco region. This is one of the most delicious proseccos on the high street: it’s floral, very dry for a prosecco with an addictive nutty quality. Buy from Majestic Wine.
Taste the Difference Prosecco di Conegliano Brut 2016, £10
Most prosecco is non-vintage but this one comes from a specific year. I loved the mixture of very fresh fruit and floral notes with a finish that was a little sweet and cakey. This is a real crowd-pleaser. Buy from Sainsbury’s.
Sacchetto Prosecco Extra Dry Fili NV, £12.95
There’s lots going on with this one. It initially tastes quite sweet but then finishes dry and refreshing. There’s a nice saline quality with peachy fruit and even a touch of toastiness at the end. Buy from Wine Direct, Strictly Wine or Wineman.
Romeo & Juliet Prosecco di Treviso Brut DOC NV, £9.99
Brut style and you can really taste it. There are pastry notes on the nose, then on the palate it is really dry with some bitter lemon and almonds. Really nice prosecco. I could imagine drinking a lot of this. Buy from Majestic Wine or Direct Wine Shipments.
Trevisiol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry NV, £15.50
Made by a family estate within the Valdobbiadene region. This has 15% chardonnay added to the glera grape which makes the wine richer. The result is fresh and full with a touch of marzipan about it. Buy from Berry Bros & Rudd.
Casa Belfi Prosecco Col Fondo NV, £16.29
This is a very different animal to regular prosecco. The term ‘Col Fondo’ means that it is fermented in the bottle and the yeast is left in the wine which makes it cloudy. It’s totally dry with nutty, bready flavours. Not one to add peach juice to and don’t serve too cold. Buy from Hay Wines or L'Art Du Vin.
Alpha Box & Dice Zaptung Glera, £13.75
A real curiosity: Australian prosecco – though they’re not allowed to call it that. This smells deliciously of fresh pears. There are gentle bubbles and then a tangy quality. This is drier than a proper prosecco with some toasty flavours on the finish. Buy from N.D John, Drinkmonger or Toscanaccio.
What is prosecco?
People often ask me what is the difference between prosecco and champagne. Well, they’re both sparkling wines from specific regions: Champagne in northern France, and Treviso in north-eastern Italy, but there the similarities end. Champagne is dry, highly acidic and usually expensive, whereas its Italian rival is soft, sweetish and affordable – no wonder it is so popular.
Part of the difference in price is down to prosecco’s production method. In champagne, and most sparkling wines, a still wine is fermented a second time in the bottle with added yeast and sugar, which creates carbon dioxide, aka fizz.
In prosecco this secondary fermentation takes place in a tank and then the wines are filtered and bottled under pressure. This method is less labour intensive and unlike champagne, which has to be aged for a minimum of 15 months, prosecco can be sold straight away. Not only is this method cheaper but it preserves fresh fruit flavours. This is the fundamental difference between the two wines: champagne tastes of mature yeasty flavours whereas prosecco should be all about fresh fruit. The term frizzante on the label as opposed to spumante means that the wine is less fizzy.
Only wines from the Prosecco region, not far from Venice, can be called prosecco. The principal grape is called glera, but it used to be called prosecco, before the wily Italians changed the name so that the Australians couldn’t use the magic word prosecco on their bottles. Prosecco tends to be much sweeter than champagne. Confusingly wines labelled dry are actually quite sweet, extra dry is drier though still contains between 12-17g of sugar. If you want a proper dry wine look for the word Brut on the label.
In a good prosecco I tend to find green apple, peach or citrus flavours and often some floral notes, too. With better examples you may notice flavours of almonds and biscuity champagne-like notes. Don’t be afraid to mix it with peach juice to make a Bellini, Aperol or Campari to make a spritz or, most hedonistic of all, lemon ice cream and vodka which is called a sgroppino. Our version, Icy Kir, swaps the ice cream for berry sorbet.
Prosecco recipes and tips
This review was last updated in August 2018. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.