December rolled in on Tuesday and I was a bit shocked not so much in the “How can it already be December?” type of meme but more in the “I didn’t realize we were still using a calendar” in this now nine-month new normal. While for many, the last month of the year is characterized by the growing anticipation of the holiday that occurs in the final week.
For me, I more focused on the celebration surrounding the coming New Year. Don’t get me wrong, I am rarely still awake by the time the ball comes tumbling down in Times Square, but by the time I hit the hay, I will have consumed more than my fair share of sparkling libations.
In recent years, the weeks leading up to that final crescendo have been marked by tasting through dozens of samples of sparkling wines from several different countries. It is tough work, but someone has to do it.
This is the first such post, a handful of bottles of Prosecco DOC, which, generally speaking, one of several rather large areas of production in Northern Italy. Most of these wines fall within the $10-20 dollar price range and while there are a ton of them, here are five that I have found to be particularly good.
NV La Gioiosa Prosecco di Treviso, Italy: Retail $15. 100% Glera. La Gioiosa is a fairly big producer of Prosecco, with multiple offerings ranging from this DOC wine from the valley floor to DOCG wines up in the hills of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. This wine is of the former, but I would place it above, even well above, some of its peers. Quite light in color with barely a hint of straw, with pear, dried apricot, and a touch of citrus on the nose. The palate is bright and bubbly, both literally and in personality, with fruit, a tad of sweetness (just a tad) and even a touch of verve. For the price? Giddy-up. Very Good. 88 Points.
NV Pasqua Prosecco DOC Romeo & Juliet Passione e Sentimento, Italy: Retail $15. 100% Glera. After having tasted a few iterations of this Pasqua Prosecco, I can say without much hesitation that this is my preferred DOC Prosecco. While this does not reach the heights that one finds in the DOCG bubbles from the region, this is more than solid for the price. Day brilliant straw in the glass with faint fruit aromas of pear and yellow apple. The palate is tart and focused with good fruit initially followed by minerality and slate. Excellent. 90 Points.
NV Piera Martellozzo Prosecco 075 Carati, Italy: Retail $15. 100% Glera. Another DOC Prosecco (as opposed to DOCG) and this is again, fairly clear in the glass with a slight star-bright straw color. Tree and tropical fruit notes on the nose, with a flinty minerality. The palate is bright, fruity, tart, refreshing, and, well, fun (wow, that is a lot of commas). No, this Prosecco will not change the trajectory of anyone’s life, but it might alter the direction of an evening. Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Piera Martellozzo Prosecco Blu Giovello, Italy: Retail $15. 100% Glera. Under screwcap. OK, it’s a blue bottle and I am not sure how I feel about that. And it has a screwcap–normally, I *love* the screw, but on a sparkling wine (that is not a Moscato)? I might need to talk about that with my therapist… Clear and pale straw in the glass with aromas of sweet white flower and peach. The palate is tart and fruity, and neither overly sweet nor too nutty. There are a ton of DOC Prosecco out there and many are, well, regrettable, this is not one of those. Tart and eminently quaffable. Good. 86 Points.
NV Villa Sandi Prosecco Brut Il Fresco, Italy: Retail $18. 85% Glera, 15% Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. I have a love-hate relationship with Prosecco–I tend to love *good* Prosecco and *hate* the rather lackluster (and usually overly sweet) wines. This is decidedly in the former camp. Sure, this might not have the finesse and sophistication as the more renowned DOCG bottlings, but there is a nice green apple, plenty of minerality, and a lovely, delicate sparkle. Very Good. 88 Points.