Prosecco has long been a favorite sparkling wine for many – and indeed it surpassed Champagne as the world’s top sparkling wine in volume in 2018. And the cool thing is this: there’s Prosecco and then there’s Prosecco. I’m talking about Prosecco Superiore DOCG, which is the highest level of quality.
The #Italian Food Wine Travel blogger group – known as #ItalianFWT – partnered with the Consorzio of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG this month to help people learn about the differences between Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOCG. I received three samples bottles (and, full disclosure, I also do work with the Consorzio, but all opinions in this post are my own).
In addition to tasting three amazing expressions of the grape and experimenting with some food pairings, I learned a lot along the way.
Top 5 Things to Know: Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
- The name of grape in Prosecco is Glera, and Conegliano and Valdobbiadene are two towns surrounded by hills stuffed with of vineyards of Glera. The region is about 50 km north of Venice.
- The grapes are grown on steep slopes – which is a key aspect contributing to the quality. Steep hillsides mean excellent drainage and good exposure to sunshine, breezes and other atmospheric elements. The grapes live la dolce vita, as it were!
- The fermentation method is unique. Italy’s first school of winemaking was, in fact, founded in Conegliano in 1876, where the Italian Method of making sparkling wine was being perfected. This calls for the second fermention to happen in large pressurized tanks. This Italian, or Martinotti Method was fine-tuned to such a degree as to become a specific technique for production of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore and it is now called the Charmat Method.
- Prosecco Superiore DOCG is an affordable luxury! While entry level Champagne starts at about $40, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore starts at about $18-$20! Just look for the “DOCG official” seal on the neck of the bottle.
- Prosecco Superiore DOCG is a complex and nuanced wine with a lively, frothy texture and you’ll find varying notes of lemon or lime curd, almond or hazelnuts, apricot, melon, sometimes a little honey. So much going on!
Okay, ready to taste? Let’s pop some bottles!
Adami Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Colbertaldo 2018 (SRP $20) Wow – I have never tasted a Prosecco like this. First of all, it is vintage Prosecco – which is somewhat unusual for the category – and the 2018 vintage was declared “near perfect,” with optimum weather conditions during the entire growing season. Yowza! This wine has a richness – a sexy, velvety mouthfeel – that makes it feel indulgent. It’s bursting with lime curd, lush melon and bright Meyer lemon and then offers a subtle and appealing accent of bitter almond on the finish. This wine is at the Rive level of quality, which I had not tried before. Everything about this wine says quality. I loved it!
Handy tip: I didn’t finish it, so closed it with a Champagne stopper (now known as a Prosecco Superiore stopper) and it was perfectly bubbly and delicious the next day! Hurray!
I had the Adami Prosecco Superiore with a dish I made up, after going on a fridge dive. I must say, I was impressed with my resuscitation of some stale Prosciutto in a skillet to crisp it up, mixed with rigatoni pasta and freshly shelled peas and asparagus from the farmer’s market, unified with a bit of truffle butter and Parmesan cheese. Freaking delicious! If you want more info on this particular wine, check out this Wine Enthusiast piece.
And then you know what I did? I found a piece of leftover almond-lemon pound cake on the counter and I thought to myself, “Self, this might be interesting to taste with this super-freaking delicious Prosecco Superiore.” So I tried it. Shut. the. front door! Seriously – the pairing was kind of mind-blowing, because you had a reunion of lemon and almond happening in the cake and in the wine and then in my mouth and it was so delicious! So consider the flavors of dessert for a bomb-shell pairing with Prosecco Superiore.
For my next trick, I had my friend Flora over before we went out to dinner. She brought a jar of her famous tomato-eggplant tapenade, which we slathered onto slices of seeded bread and it was positively glorious with the San Feletto Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore ($19). This was a more traditional style of Prosecco Superiore, with a delicate texture and intense notes of honeydew melon, lemon and lime curd and a bit of honey.
The thing to know about Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore is this: it is going to be a teensy bit sweeter than Brut Prosecco. Yes, I know – completely counter-intuitive and it was probably a French person who came up with the sequence of dryness levels of sparkling wine, but just pay attention. The wine is not sweet like Moscato (gross) – it just has a tiny bit more sugar in it, so extra good with salty, umami-focused foods, like this tapenade, or also Thai food, sushi and the like
We loved it – easy-drinking, super versatile and food friendly. The umami and saltiness of the tapenade with the fresh acidity of its ingredients seemed to bring this wine to life perfectly.
And then all of a sudden it was time for a birthday dinner for my friend Tera. We paired steamed lobster tails and a bounty of summer sides with the Le Colture Gerardo Prosecco Superiore 2017 Rive de Santa Stefano ($20). Perfection! It was fun to try another Rive wine and this one was beautiful. It had a creamy texture to it, which made it perfect with the richness of lobster dunked in lemon butter. This was another vintage wine – 2017 – a slightly less exalted vintage, but still really beautiful. It sang with bright citrus fruit, a bit of green apple and excellent acidity.
But wait, there’s more! These #ItalianFWT bloggers all have some awesome posts about Prosecco Superiore DOCG , and we’re going to chat it up on Twitter on Sat., July 6 at 10 a.m. CST. Just use #italianfwt or search for #proseccosuperiore #coneglianovaldobbiadene #proseccodocg #proseccoelevated to find us! Cin cin!
- Wendy, of A Day in the Life on the Farm, says Summertime and the Living is Easy with Prosecco DOCG in My Glass.
- Jill, of L’Occasion, asks Looking for Freshness? Check out Prosecco DOCG.
- Rupal, the Syrah Queen, writes Prosecco Elevated – Sipping Prosecco Superiore DOCG.
- Jane, of Always Ravenous, pours Prosecco Superiore Paired with Italian Small Bites.
- Deanna, of Asian Test Kitchen, is Pairing Cartizze Prosecco DOCG Beyond Oysters.
- David, for Cooking Chat, says Prosecco Superiore: The Special Italian Sparkling Lives Up To Its Name.
- Liz, of What’s in That Bottle, is Discovering the Delights of Prosecco Superiore.
- Jeff, of FoodWineClick!, goes Beyond Apertif, Enjoy Prosecco Superiore at the Dinner Table.
- Martin, of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog, writes about Getting to Know Prosecco Superiore.
- Pinny, of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings, is Sipping the Day Away with Prosecco DOCG.
- Gwendolyn, of Wine Predator, shares 3 Prosecco DOCG and Calamari with Lemon Caper Sauce.
- Linda, of My Full Wine Glass, offers Take-aways from a week of glorious Prosecco DOCG.
- Jennifer, of Vino Travels, declares Prosecco DOCG is more than just Prosecco.
- Susannah, of Avvinare, is Taking A Closer Look At Prosecco Superiore DOCG.
- Kevin, of Snarky Wine, declares Vintage Prosecco DOCG: Quality Matters.
- Cindy, of Grape Experiences, posts What a Girl Wants: Gourmet Popcorn and Prosecco DOC and DOCG.
- Li, of The Wining Hour, asks you to Step Up Your Game with Prosecco Superiore.
- Camilla, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, is Climbing the Prosecco Hierarchy: To Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze with Steamed Clams, Smoked Scallops, and Capellini.