The Sparkling Wine Trendsetter of 2017


Back in 2010, less than one million cases of Prosecco were imported to the United States. These days we're looking at about 4 million cases. The holidays are incomplete without Prosecco for so many Americans. But for me, the holidays are incomplete without Prosecco Superiore DOCG. The distinction is terrifically important for a variety of reasons.

Much of the Prosecco Superiore you see is made in Conegliano Valdobbiadene, a region located just north of Venice. It has been synonymous with premier quality Prosecco for many generations. During my first region visit in 2015, I was sold. Vines have been grown here since the beginning of knowable time. The people of this region know their land inside and out. This is why you will see bottles of Prosecco DOCG labeled by specific rive (hillsides) and cru (field). While they are joined together as a single region, Conegliano and Valdobbiadene are two separate towns; you may see one or the other on the label.
What I appreciate most about Prosecco DOCG is the vibrant aromatics in every bottle. The Glera grape, once known as Prosecco, delivers gentle and complex floral and lemon citrus aromas. Still versions of the Glera grape (known as “Tranquilo”) are not widely available, but when I had the chance to taste one I jumped. Still Glera demonstrates the grape’s inherent characteristics, and I was impressed to discover that this essence is preserved in sparkling Prosecco DOCG –  this is not something one can say for all sparkling wines. Prosecco wine is disarming, delicious, and available at fantastic values. Read on for some of my favorites.

Morene Tranquilo Prosecco Conegliano 2016

Clean, light melon and lemon aromas with touches of green apple and soft spice. A bit tart on entry, this fills in around the edges with pear and melon flavors and a silky texture, finishing with an earthy, dry finish with a glimpse of honeysuckle.

Sei Uno Rive di Carpesica Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene 2015

Light melon and peach aromas with notes of honeysuckle and toasted oak. Easy drinking and approachable on the palate with a zesty fruit blend of lemon, peach and kiwi, this is tart and precise, boldly spiced yet somehow delicate on the mid palate with a nicely sustained mineral finish. 90 pts.

Malibran Credamora Col Fondo Prosecco Valdobbiadene 2015

Intriguingly cloudy appearance, creamy and biscuity aromas of mild wet clay with fresh lemon and grapefruit notes. On the palate this is soft and gentle with a smooth mouthfeel of delicate bubbles, warm floral spice and creamy oak on the mid palate and tart grapefruit and lemon zest adding a lively freshness towards the finish.

Ruggeri Vecchie Viti Prosecco Superiore Brut Valdobbiadene 2016

Floral melon and lemon aromas with candied peach and vanilla biscotti on the nose. Smooth, delicate and refreshing on the palate with citrus notes of lemon zest and light grapefruit, a tart mid palate with hints of watermelon candy and a finish of almonds, cream and fresh golden berries.

Masottina Le Rive di Ogliano Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene 2016

Floral and light with notes of green apple, Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit and powdered sugar on the nose. On the palate this starts off energetic and tart with melon and lemon fruit and bold acidity, eventually revealing a creamy texture with fine balance and smooth nutty caramel and toast notes alongside dried peach. Approachable and refreshing with lots here to like.

Biancariva Rive de Collalto Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene NV

Yeasty and floral aromas of green apple and melon with a touch of tropical fruit. This is tart and zesty on the palate with lemon pith and creamy texture, notes of buttery brioche and crisp winter pear and green apple, frothy carbonation and a long leesy finish of aged cheese and grapefruit skin.

Silvano Follador Prosecco Superiore Brut Nature Valdobbiadene 2016

Lightly and pleasantly spiced peach, pear and green apple aromas with some white blossom and vanilla frosting notes. Bold, zesty on the palate with more of a citrus focus, lemon and grapefruit notes with a green note of lemongrass and dried herb, finishing with a bit of apple and light cream. Clean and fresh.

La Tordera Otreval Rive di Guia Brut Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene 2017

Creamy almond aromas with a yeasty note and hints of lime zest and green apple. On the palate this is very dry, refreshing and full of zesty citrus notes of lime and grapefruit, green apple and tart lemon pith, finishing creamy and delicate with a nutty, toasted note of buttery brioche with a touch of melon.

Val D’Oca Rive de Santo Stefano Brut Nature Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene 2016

Mandarin orange, lemon and dried herbs on the nose, crisp and light with a light floral note. Pure fruited and floral on the palate with creamy honey butter notes to start, green apple, pear and lemon on the mid palate and tangerine and croissant notes on the finish, zesty and refreshing with tart, stinging bubbles and a nutty dessert quality on the finish. 91 pts.

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