All you need to know about prosecco
How well do you know one of Italy’s most famous exports? Light, bubbly, and best served chilled, prosecco is a firm favourite at celebrations like engagement parties, birthday dinners and bottomless brunches. Its fruity, floral taste pairs perfectly with lip-smackingly good desserts and is part of several cocktails. The sparkling wine comes from the (surprise surprise) Prosecco region, which is just an hour away from Venice – home of the Aperol Spritz, which borrows a splash of fizz for its summery recipe. Here, wine writer Aleesha Hansel discusses prosecco in all its glorious forms. Cin cin!
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Our love for this light, bubbly wine has inspired the likes of prosecco-scented candles and bubble bath – even prosecco-flavoured crisps. But let’s be honest, there’s no substitute for a glass of the fizz itself. And whether you’re popping the cork for a mate’s birthday or a chilled evening in the park, prosecco’s easy-drinking style means it usually fits the bill. But what makes prosecco prosecco?
This wine is made using the Charmat method, meaning its second fermentation takes place in a stainless-steel tank, without sediment, rather than in bottles. And that’s where the magic happens. The process allows the fruit characteristics to shine through and gives the wine its freshness. It also means there’s less pressure during bottling, resulting in a creamier, softer fizz compared to champagne or cava. Then there’s the geography. The wine might take its name from an Italian village near the city of Trieste, but to be labelled ‘prosecco’ it must hail from the provinces of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in the north – a region sandwiched between the stunning Adriatic Sea and soaring Dolomite Mountains.
The star of the region is the golden-yellow glera grape, used in both DOC and DOCG prosecco. The difference? DOC wines can be made anywhere within the permitted region and often offer great value for money. Produced to be fizzy, fun and uncomplicated, they’ll have flavours of citrus, pear, apple and florals, and are great as pre-dinner aperitifs or as the base of a cocktail under sun-soaked skies – although any weather will do. DOCG wines come from a smaller area with stricter regulations – names to look out for include Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The grapes are often hand-picked, and the prosecco is both richer in texture and more concentrated in flavour – ideal for pairing with food. Between them, these styles offer incredible versatility. Enjoy the fizz just as it is, add a splash of soda water for a long, refreshing spritz, or use it in fruity summer cocktails.
OUR TOP PROSECCO PICKS
Produced from old vines and fermented for an extended period, this full-style wine comes from the acclaimed Valdobbiadene region. It has mineral, crostini and chamomile notes, as well as a hint of sweetness, and pairs perfectly with figs with honey.
Made by a leading producer, this wine is frozen during production for maximum vitality and freshness. Pale straw in colour, it’s all about the flavour, with ripe golden apple and notes of mountain flowers.
Made from organic grapes, checked daily for their quality, this wine has a delicate yet complex nose of peach and green apple, with secondary notes of acacia and lilac. The lightness of the aroma follows through to the palate without skimping on fruitiness.
Make your own Aperol Spritz
A refreshing Italian aperitif with an iconic orange hue, this is summer in a glass. Jumbo ice-cube moulds are ideal here, but normal-sized ice cubes will work too, or use a large freezer-safe container.
Get the recipe >
Fancy learning more about wine? Check out this article for top tips on how to choose the best wines.