December rolled in a little over a week ago and I took a look at the floor of my office and realized that I have a boatload of sparkling wine samples. I also realized that all the folks who sent me those wines would probably prefer that I review them before the holidays than after (I believe it is close to 50% of all sparkling wine sales occur in November and December).
Thus, this is the third (?) article so far this month that celebrates my favorite style of wine (I have written before that my personal motto is: “If it doesn’t sparkle, it doesn’t matter”). I counted at the beginning of the month and I had somewhere north of 50 bottles to pop and taste before the ball drops.
Yeah, I know. Tough problem to have.
Thus, here is another handful of bottles of Prosecco DOC, which, generally speaking, come from one of several rather large areas of production in Northeastern Italy. Most of these wines fall within the $10-20 dollar price range and while there is a ton of Prosecco on the market, these six I found to be particularly good. Sure, they are not life-changers or world-beaters, but they are affordable and can scratch that sparkling itch on a cold December weeknight.
NV Da Luca Prosecco, Italy: Retail $14. 100% Glera. 15 g/l dosage, classified as Extra Dry. Again, Extra Dry has more residual sugar than Brut (which means “dry”–yeah, it’s confusing). One of the nuttier Proseccos in this tasting, with little fruit evident on the nose, but some noticeable sweetness. Nutty and a tad astringent on the palate, but, surprisingly, this does not come off as all that sweet (sure, it is there, but not as prominent as one would think). A solid DOC Prosecco. Very Good. 87 Points.
NV Da Luca Vino Spumante Rosé Extra Dry, Italy: Retail $15. 50% Merlot, 50% Raboso. While not a Prosecco, it does come from the Veneto, home of Prosecco. Why does that matter? Well, Rosé Prosecco was only just approved, and it will be interesting to see what happens with this wine. If Da Luca wants it to become a Prosecco, it will have to be mostly Glera (with a bit of Pinot Nero). Nutty and a bit funky on the nose of this light salmon-colored wine, with tart strawberry and cherry on the palate. I could not find the amount of sugar in this wine, but given that it is classified as an Extra Dry, I would imagine it is around the 15 g/l range. This is not my favorite sparkling from the region, but it is fun and tasty. Very Good. 88 Points.
2019 La Gioiosa Et Amorosa Prosecco Rosé Millesimato, Italy: Retail $15. Glera, Pinot Noir. This is from the first vintage of Prosecco Rosé, and it is a solid effort. Faint pink in the glass with a subtle, yet persistent sparkle, aromas of sweet, ripe strawberry and cherry, and a hint of flintiness in the glass. Quite fruity and more than a tad sweet on the palate (12 g/l), there is some nice acidity and flavors, but this is certainly on the sweet side. Cut that sugar in half and let’s talk. Very Good. 87 Points.
NV Val D’Oca Prosecco di Treviso Extra Dry, Italy: Retail $15. 100% Glera. Perhaps the classical style of Prosecco DOC as this is Extra Dry in style (which means *less* dry than “Brut”–here 15 g/l of sugar added). And it works. Sure it is a bit on the sweet side, but it serves to balance out the fairly poignant acidity. Pear, peach, and a bit of citrus on the nose, all on the ripe side, with a healthy dose of roasted almond. As mentioned, the palate comes off fairly well-balanced (if slightly sweet). Still, for the price? Another solid DOC Prosecco. Very Good. 87 Points.
NV Zardetto Prosecco Brut Organic Grapes, Italy: Retail $15. 85% Glera, 15% Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay. Zardetto is everywhere–one of the more recognizable Prosecco brands, it also has a ton of different bottlings. As far as I have been able to ascertain, this sparkler from organic grapes is a relatively new offering from the winery. At 12 g/l of dosage, it falls into the “Brut” category (at least for Prosecco), has aromas of ripe Asian pear, and comes off a hair sweet on the palate, but only a hair. Great fruity flavors (tart green apple), zingy acidity, and an above-average finish. I know Zardetto is huge and ubiquitous, but this is quite good. Excellent. 90 Points.
NV Zonin Prosecco Cuvée 1821, Italy: Retail $14. 100% Glera. 13.5 g/l Residual Sugar. Zonin, with a handful of other producers, seems to be ubiquitous–if you can’t find a bottle, you simply have your eyes closed. Having said that, while the wines are not world-beaters, they are fairly good representations of the DOC Prosecco “brand.” Ripe, sweet peach on the nose with an initial wave of sugar on the palate. The acidity eventually comes in and tries to make its presence known, but it battles with the sweetness from the jump. Some issues to resolve, but what do you want for $13? Very Good. 87 Points.