The best prosecco taste tested 2023
Italian prosecco is as popular a choice of fizz as traditional champagne or cava. Read the BBC Good Food review of the best prosecco bottles to find your new favourite sparkling wine
Prosecco is a phenomenally popular drink in the UK. It's somewhat sweet and soft in flavour and more affordable than other sparkling wines, such as champagne. Prosecco is great to bring along when visiting a friend for dinner, heading to a party or having an impromptu celebration. Pink or rosé prosecco is a staple of boozy brunches, and prosecco's affordability means it can be transformed into refreshing spritzes or decadent cocktails without worrying about the cost.
People often ask what the difference is between prosecco and champagne. There are several factors that differentiate the two. The first is that champagne is dry and highly acidic, while Italian rival is soft and much sweeter. Even prosecco that is labelled as being 'dry' is actually quite sweet; even extra-dry contains between 12-17g of sugar. Brut is the driest style.
Price is also very different between the two. This is largely down to prosecco’s production method. The bubbles come from fermentation in a tank rather than bottle. This method is less labour-intensive than champagne, cheaper and preserves the fruitiness of the grape.
Most proseccos are simple wines. Don’t be afraid to mix them with peach juice to make a bellini, turn it into a spritz or add lemon sorbet and vodka for a sgroppino.
But, what makes a good prosecco? We've rounded-up the top bottles to find a prosecco to suit everybody, from the best budget proseccos, to pink prosecco or bottles that are perfect for cocktails. All the bottles below have been taste tested by wine writer Henry Jeffreys. Henry is a drinks and wine writer who writes for Master of Malt, and his work has appeared in the The Guardian, The Spectator and The Financial Times. He is the author of Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass, which won best debut drink book at the Fortnum & Mason 2017 Awards. He also curates the wine choices for the BBC Good Food Wine Club in association with Laithwaites, and has previously written drinks guides for BBC Good Food, covering all forms of fizz, including the best cava, best English sparkling wines and best champagne. Read on to discover which prosecco is best.
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Jump to link:
- Best prosecco at a glance
- How we tasted prosecco
- What is the best prosecco?
- What is prosecco?
- How to open prosecco
- Best prosecco glasses
- Prosecco cocktail recipes
Best prosecco at a glance:
- Best with afternoon tea: La Gioiosa Et Amorosa, £13.99
- Best everyday rosé prosecco: Tesco's Finest Prosecco Rosé 2020, £8.50
- Best for cocktails: Definition Prosecco DOC, £11.99
- Best for parties: Tesco Finest Prosecco Superiore, £10
- Best prosecco for showing off: The Emmisary Prosecco Rosé Brut, £18.55
- Best prosecco for entertaining: The Wine Society prosecco brut NV, £10.95
- Best crowd-pleasing prosecco: Sainsbury's Taste the Difference prosecco di Conegliano brut 2016, £10
- Best prosecco for complexity of flavour: Sacchetto prosecco extra dry Fili NV, £17.99
- Best easy drinking prosecco: Romeo & Juliet prosecco di Treviso brut DOC NV, £12.99
- Best prosecco with a twist: Casa Belfi prosecco colfondo frizzante NV, £16.99
How we tasted prosecco
Our prosecco taste test covered over 15 bottles, aiming to find the best example of a good prosecco. In a good prosecco, we’re looking for clean, fresh fruit flavours like green apple, peach or citrus, and often some floral notes, too. With very top-quality prosecco, you might also notice flavours of almonds and biscuity, champagne-like notes. A lower-quality or poor example of a prosecco may taste sugary or artificial, so these were marked down and not included. Prosecco is naturally sweeter, but there should be enough acidity to balance the sugar.
What is the best prosecco?
La Gioiosa Et Amorosa
Best with afternoon tea
Star rating: 3/5
Some prosecco can be syrupy-sweet, but this one has a lovely balance, with grape-y fruit, floral notes and a fresh acidity. This would be a delicious accompaniment to a decadent afternoon tea spread, or bring it out for birthdays with cake.
More like this
Tesco's Finest Prosecco Rosé 2020
Best everyday rosé prosecco
- Available from Tesco (£8.50)
Star rating: 3/5
It was only recently that pink prosecco was allowed by the Italian wine authorities. The colour comes from adding a little pinot noir to the native glera grape. There’s a lot of bad pink prosecco, but this one really impressed – it’s more than just pretty to look at! It has a bitter cherry and orange edge and pleasant floral finish.
Definition Prosecco DOC
Best for cocktails
- Available from Majestic Wines (£11.99)
Star rating: 3/5
Prosecco is the best fizz to choose when making cocktails – it really comes into its own when mixing. With a little bit of sweetness combined with oranges and almonds, this would be particularly good combined in a spritz, but it’s also still good to drink on its own.
Majestic Wines (£11.99)
Tesco Finest Prosecco Superiore
Best for parties
- Available from Tesco (£10)
Star rating: 3/5
Prosecco Superiore is a cut above the ordinary stuff, as the name suggests. This is grape-y and lemony – just the thing to get in bulk for parties. It has a refreshing quality that's lacking in most supermarket proseccos, which will have everyone reaching for another glass.
The Emmissary Prosecco Rosé Brut
Best prosecco for showing off
Star rating: 4/5
With its clear glass bottle and gold label, this prosecco will appeal to those looking to show off (or post their bottle on Instagram). Happily, the contents within live up to the glitzy packaging. This has a delicious orange sherbet quality, combined with ripe strawberries and a creamy texture.
The Wine Society prosecco brut NV
Best prosecco for entertaining
- Available from The Wine Society (£10.95)
Prosecco is actually a much better drink than champagne to serve at events such as weddings, as it's cheaper, lower in alcohol and much less acidic, so it's easier to drink. This dry, refreshing sparkler would be our pick for entertaining.
The Wine Society (£10.95)
Taste the Difference prosecco di Conegliano brut 2016
Best crowd-pleasing prosecco
- Available from Sainsbury’s (£10)
Most prosecco is non-vintage, but this one comes from a specific year. We loved the mixture of very fresh fruit and floral notes with a finish that was a little sweet and cakey.
Sacchetto prosecco extra dry Fili NV
Best prosecco for complexity of flavour
- Available from Laithwaites (£17.99), VINVM (£15.20)
There’s lots going on with this one. It initially tastes quite sweet but finishes with a dry and refreshing flavour. There’s a nice saline quality with peachy fruit and even a touch of toastiness at the end.
Romeo & Juliet prosecco di Treviso brut DOC NV
Best easy drinking prosecco
- Available from Majestic Wine (£12.99)
Brut-style, and you can really taste it. There are pastry notes on the nose, then on the palate it's really dry with some bitter lemon and almonds. It's a really nice prosecco that's easy to drink.
Majestic Wine (£12.99)
Casa Belfi prosecco colfondo frizzante NV
Best prosecco with a twist
- Available from Hay Wines (£16.99)
This is a very different to regular prosecco. The term ‘colfondo’ means that it's 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.
Hay Wines (£16.99)
What is prosecco?
People often ask what the difference is 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's so popular.
Part of the difference in price is down to prosecco’s production method. To make champagne and most sparkling wines, a still wine is fermented for 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, then the wines are filtered and bottled under pressure. This method is less labour intensive – unlike champagne, which has to be aged for a minimum of 15 months – so prosecco can be sold straight away. Not only is this method cheaper, it preserves fresh fruit flavours, too. 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 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 it 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, you'll often 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.
How to open prosecco
When opening a bottle of prosecco, remember it will behave far better and more predictably if it has been left to sit and chill for a few hours. Warmth and/or rough handling both make for an explosive cork situation, meaning more mess and waste. Fizz should go into glasses, not onto ceilings.
- Make sure you have your glasses ready and within easy reach. Then, take your bottle and remove the foil; there should be a tag or perforation line to make this easy and neat.
- Once this is done, grip the neck of the bottle in one hand with your thumb over the top of the caged cork.
- From here on in, keep the bottle pointed away from yourself and anyone present, especially people's faces – about a 45 degree angle is good.
- With your other hand, untwirl the cage fastening. Uncover your thumb, lift off the cage and replace your thumb over the cork.
- If you can feel the cork pushing to leave the bottle already, get a glass ready. Otherwise, with the bottle gripped in one hand, slowly pull up the cork with the other. It may be quite stiff at first – if so, alternate pulling and twisting motions – but as you go you'll start to feel the pressure from within helping you out.
- Ease it up, always with your hand over the cork in a firm grip and, as you hear a pop, you know you've opened it.
If everything went smoothly, you have a bottle at 45 degrees, with a touch of vapour wafting out. Let that excess gas escape for a few seconds, then in smooth, gentle motions, pour a small amount – just a splash – into each glass in turn.
Now return to the first glass and, tilting it also at around 45 degrees, top up slowly, until no more than two-thirds full.
If the champagne is very lively and the mousse is rising to the top of the glass despite a slow pour, just move onto the next one and come back to it. That mousse is the fizz escaping, and in excess, leaves you with a flat drink, and nobody wants that.
Don't overfill the glass, as it will warm up far faster there than in the bottle, and warm prosecco is a shame.
If you have a bottle where the cork is straining to be free as soon as the cage is removed, then you will have to move fast.
Once the cork is out, it will be followed by froth, which should go straight into that readied glass. Keep pouring off the excess into your glasses one by one until it subsides, then top up as before.
Best prosecco glasses
Prosecco Crystal Flutes, £16.95
These prosecco glasses are a combination between a flute and wine glass, with an almost diamond-shape that allows the sweet aromas of the prosecco to reach your nose, but with a tapered top that means all of the bubbles won't escape. These are made from sturdy crystal glass, but can only be washed by hand.
Available from Wayfair (£16.95)
Wilko wine glasses, £8
Wine glasses may seem like an odd way to serve prosecco, but this is a common Italian choice. The wide glasses give the prosecco more room to breathe and lets you smell the sweet, fruity notes. These affordable wine glasses have a volume of 45cl, so you can keep a good amount of prosecco at hand.
VonShef grey tinted champagne glasses, £22.99
These glasses have a classic fluted design that allows the bubbles and aroma to fully develop. They also have a smoked, grey tinted finish that adds a modern touch to their more traditional look. These glasses are lightweight and come in a gift box, making them a thoughtful wedding or house-warming gift.
Luigi Bormioli Optica champagne coupe glasses, £38
Made in Italy, these champagne glasses have pinstripe indentations, creating a retro, art deco look, with long stems that will keep your prosecco cooler for longer. As they have a more rounded bowl shape, they can also be used to serve desserts, and are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Available from John Lewis & Partners (£38)
Maison du Monde glass champagne flutes, £28
These handmade champagne flutes have a unique gold geometric design to bring a touch of fun to your table, plus a more rounded rim for delicate sips – this will keep the prosecco fizzy for longer, as there's less surface area for the bubbles to escape.
Available from Maison du Monde (£28)
Prosecco cocktail recipes
A bottle of prosecco is celebratory enough to drink on its own, but it’s also a versatile addition to cocktails. Classic prosecco cocktail recipes include an Aperol spritz or passion fruit martini. Make a jug of apple prosecco punch to feed a crowd, try a sweet peach & rose fizz in summer or pair with coconut and rum in a tropical coco fizz. There are more than just cocktails, too: a box of homemade prosecco truffles make a great edible gift, while this showstopping prosecco cake recipe is the perfect birthday party centrepiece for a prosecco fan.
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