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The Inside Scoop on the Best Prosecco

When there’s so much Prosecco out there, how do you choose the best?

Vicki Denig By April 15, 2022
Cartizze hills vineyards and caves in Valdobbiadene area with glass of Prosecco
Cartizze hills vineyards and caves in Valdobbiadene area, where Prosecco wines are grown. Background photo by Okfoto/iStock. Prosecco photo by Extradryrain/shutterstock.

When it comes to Italian sparkling wine, Prosecco is what the country is most famous for. Produced in northeastern Italy, specifically within the regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, these fresh, budget-friendly sparklers have become go-to picks for consumers across the United States.

However, not all that’s labeled Prosecco is created equal. Over the past few decades, the region has become flooded with commercial wineries, many of which focus on quantity over quality — though worry not, there is still plenty of delicious, high-quality wine to be found. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look.

Quick Facts

  • Location: Veneto, Italy.
  • Size: 49,400-plus acres — Prosecco DOC.
  • Main grapes: Glera.
  • Benchmark producers: Bisol, Riondo

Where is Prosecco made?

Prosecco is produced in northeastern Italy, specifically within the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions of the country. 

How is Prosecco made?

Most Prosecco is made in the Charmat-Martinotti method, where secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, rather than in bottle, as in traditional method sparkling production.

What are the main grape varieties of Prosecco?

According to appellation laws, Prosecco must be produced from a minimum of 85% Glera, the region’s local white wine grape. 

What are the subregions of Prosecco?

Most Prosecco wines are produced from fruit sourced from a wide range of Veneto- and Friuli-Venezia Giulia-based vineyards, though the cream of the crop expressions are from Conegliano Valdobbiadene — and within said appellation, the hill of Cartizze is the pinnacle for high-quality expressions of Prosecco. 

What are the designations of Prosecco?

The majority of Prosecco wines fall under the general Prosecco DOC designation, but a few very special, higher-end examples bear the coveted Prosecco DOCG label. In terms of sweetness levels, the four designations — from dry to sweet — are Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, and Demi-Sec.

Who are the benchmark producers of Prosecco? 

Bisol is generally regarded as one of the most respected Prosecco producers, due to their high-quality wine expressions produced in Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Cartizze, as well as their pioneering of the region and continued efforts to educate the market on the different levels of quality found within the rather expansive region. 

Major brands include Zonin1821, Villa Sandi, Carpenè-Malvolti, and Mionetto.

5 producers to buy now:

Bisol

Bisol’s impressive history dates back nearly 500 years. The family first began planting grapes in the hills of the Veneto in 1542, and today, the estate still operates under the original family members’ oversight. Bisol crafts a range of wines from organically farmed fruit and is best known for their world-class expressions from the Vadobbiadene Superiore crus — including their famed cuvée from the hill of Cartizze. Expect delicious, high-quality bottles that hold their own amongst the world’s best sparkling wines. 

bottle of Bisol Crede Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2020

Bisol Crede Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2020 (~$21)

This flagship cuvée from Bisol is one of the best bang-for-your-buck bottles of sparkling wine on the market. Crafted mostly from Glera with smatterings of Pinot Bianco and Verdiso, this harmonious bottle of bubbles offers complex layers of flavors, from stone fruit to yeast to white flowers. Prosecco skeptics, this bottle is the perfect game-changer. 

bottle of Bisol Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze Valdobbiadene 2019

Bisol Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze Valdobbiadene 2019 (~$41)

Hailing from the unofficial grand cru of Valdobbiadene, this high-quality wine from Cartizze is one of the finest expressions of Prosecco on the market. This single-vineyard, single-vintage wine shows just how terroir reflective and specific well-made wines from the region can be. Expect flavors of yellow apple, musk, and sweet spice to be offset by about 25 grams of residual sugar per liter — although the wine is labeled as Brut, it finishes with a pleasant touch of balanced sweetness.

Sorelle Bronca

Sorelle Bronca is the brainchild of sisters Antonella and Ersiliana Bronca, who have perfected the Brut and Extra Dry styles of sparkling wine. These artisanal bottles are produced with meticulous attention to detail and exclusively from organically-farmed fruit. At the Bronca estate, low yields, hillside plantings, and control over the entire farming/vinification from start to finish is key to the balanced, tasty results in the bottle.

 

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bottle of Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Extra Dry

Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Extra Dry (~$19)

This Extra Dry cuvée produced at the sisters’ hands is made mostly from Glera, with small amounts of Perera, Verdiso, and Bianchetta grapes peppered in. As with most Prosecco production, the secondary fermentation of this wine takes place in tank, is lees-aged for a few months, and bottled with about 13 grams of residual sugar per liter. The wine is fresh, fruit-driven, and perfect for sipping on its own or popping into a spritz.

bottle of Sorelle Bronca 2020 Particella 68 Prosecco

Sorelle Bronca Particella 68 Prosecco 2020 (~$25)

According to the Bronca sisters, Particella 68 is their best vineyard. The site is located not too far from the Cartizze limit, which is the region’s most prized area for cultivating Glera. The pair makes very small amounts of this wine each year. Expect the pleasantly dry sweetness that comes from Extra Dry bottlings, all of which occurs naturally — nothing is added, nothing is taken away.

Riondo

In terms of larger Prosecco estates, Riondo is a name to seek out. The company farms an impressive 14,800 acres of land in Veneto, and the estate gets its name from the nearby Monte Riondo settlement. Riondo produces a lineup of Glera-based wines in a variety of sparkling styles, from frizzante to spumante. The majority of these bottles are uniquely closed with a screw cap rather than cork, making popping, sealing, and drinking bubbles on the go easier than ever. 

bottle of Riondo Prosecco Frizzante

Riondo Prosecco Frizzante (~$13)

This fresh and frothy flagship wine from Riondo is produced entirely from the Glera grape. Fruit ferments naturally in tanks and undergoes a brief re-fermentation via pressurization. The wines are quickly aged for one month in bottle prior to release, meaning they’re best consumed in their youth. The wine also comes in splits and standard-size bottles, the former of which are perfect for single-serving pours. 

bottle of Riondo Prosecco Collezione Extra Dry Spumante

Riondo Prosecco Collezione Extra Dry Spumante (~$11)

The simple difference between spumante and frizzante wines is that the latter tend to have a fizzier, more gentle mousse whereas spumante wines are full-blown sparkling. Riondo crafts their Prosecco in both styles. This Extra Dry bottling is brisk, bubbly, and packed with flavor. 

Sommariva

Sommariva was founded by Caterino and Urbana Sommariva in 1965. Although their families’ roots in Veneto date back multiple generations, it was this pioneering couple that truly believed in the potential of the Glera grape. Today, the estate is spearheaded by the couple’s forward-thinking daughter Cinzia, who farms all 86 acres of the estate’s vineyards sustainably. The estate’s Brut cuvée is beloved by industry folk and consumers alike, and their Il Rose cuvée is one of the rare, high-quality pink spumantes from the region. 

bottle of Sommariva Prosecco Superiore Brut

Sommariva Prosecco Superiore Brut (~$18)

This historic bottle of Prosecco is crafted from the Balby selection of Glera, which was one of the original clones planted in the region. Local winemakers covet this variety, as it produces low yields of quality fruit with high levels of acidity. Diving into this tasty bottle is like tasting a piece of regional history — Prosecco aficionados, this bottle’s quite special!

bottle of NV Sommariva Rose "Il Rose" Spumante

Sommariva Rose "Il Rose" Spumante NV (~$14)

This unique rosé spumante is crafted mostly from Raboso, an indigenous variety to Conegliano that is very high in acidity. All fruit is hand-harvested, direct pressed, and vinified in steel so as to preserve freshness. The wine finishes with 12 grams of dosage per liter, rendering it the perfect crowd pleaser for lunches, brunches, and happy hours alike. Note: While this pink sparkler is technically not Prosecco, it’s most definitely worth seeking out, while also providing a full comprehensive tasting experience of what Sommariva is all about.

Ca’ dei Zago

Ca’ dei Zago’s roots date back to 1924. Today, the estate is operated by brother-and-sister duo Christian and Marika Zago, who represent the fifth generation at the estate. The estate’s 16 acres of vines are dedicated to the local varieties of Glera, Perera, Verdiso, and Bianchetta Trevigiana. All farming is done using biodynamic principles. Instead of using the usual Charmat method, Ca’ dei Zago crafts all of their wines in the traditional col fondo style, which allows wines to re-ferment spontaneously in bottle. They are released without disgorgement, meaning that the lees — which will look like sediment — from the wine are still present in the bottle upon opening — though not to worry, these miniscule particles are harmless. 

bottle of Ca’ Dei Zago Prosecco Valdobbiadene Col Fondo 2019

Ca’ Dei Zago Prosecco Valdobbiadene Col Fondo 2019 (~$21)

Produced mostly from very old clones of Glera — mostly 50 years on average, though some up to 90 years in age — this one-of-a-kind Prosecco is crafted from hand-harvested fruit and spontaneous fermentation, followed by a natural secondary fermentation in the bottle that gives the wine its signature fizz. For those looking for a low-ABV, naturally-produced Prosecco, this bottle is the answer.

bottle of Ca’ Dei Zago Prosecco Valdobbiadene Metodo Classico Dosaggio Zero NV

Ca’ Dei Zago Prosecco Valdobbiadene Metodo Classico Dosaggio Zero NV (~$29)

Fruit for this zero dosage Prosecco comes from a single-vineyard site located in Valdobbiadene. Similar to the estate’s signature Col Fondo, this wine also ferments spontaneously. However, with this wine, secondary fermentation takes place using a liqueur de tirage. All wines are aged for 14 to 18 months in bottle and are hand riddled prior to disgorgement and bottling. For a lively, bone dry Brut Nature style Prosecco, this bottle over-delivers.