New Year’s Sparkling Celebration Taste-Off Part 1: Prosecco!

31 12 2010

Anticipation of the Bubbles

As the close of the past year is upon us and promise of the new year is hours away, we toast to all that has come before and that lie ahead.

As I have mentioned in the Valentine’s Day post earlier this year, my favorite wine is sparkling, so this day is always special when it comes to my preferred choice(s). Many countries and wine regions produce various styles of sparkling wine (see the Valentines blog for more detail) from bone dry to downright cavity inducing sweetness, and everything in between!

Of course we all would love to be drinking Dom, Crystal or  my favorite higher end Champagne – Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, but for many of us, we need to find the best quality and taste for our hard-earned dollars. So spending between $8 and $15 USD is our sweet spot. No, we won’t be able to compare any of the 8 bottles in this 2 part blog with anything that resembles a classic and true French Champagne, but let’s find what is the best of the value priced sparkling wines. Also note, these are priced for everyday drinking – so if you do try and like some of these, make them your go to wine. Many of these will be great appertiefs and some will work with some fried foods or light cheeses. The more acidic the wine, the fattier the food to pair. I always love tuna or especially salmon with my sparklers. Potato pancakes, egg rolls, Tempura and other fried foods work well too – try KFC and french fries!

Prosecco on the Sill

3 Prosecco

I have broken the tasting up into two categories: Prosecco (from Italy) and Sparkling wine from the USA and France. I would have loved to include Spanish Cava, but will need to return to you with another global sparkling tasting report another time. The Prosecco tasting was done blind, meaning that I had no idea which of the 3 producers I was sampling – until the reveal at the end.

Prosecco is a lighter style of sparkling wine, from the Veneto region of Italy. There are also several South American countries that are producing Prosecco like Argentina and Brazil.

Prosecco is created using the Charmat method, where there is a secondary fermentation that takes occurs in stainless steel tanks. This is a less costly method than the French “Method Champenois” where the secondary fermentation occurs inside the bottle itself to create the carbonation.Less cost make for bargain alternatives!

One thing to note and understand, and this also holds true for most sparkling wines, is the level of sweetness/dryness.

“Brut” style has up to 15 g of residual sugar and is typically the most dry, though some producers have started to make zero percent dosage (added sugar after the secondary fermentation) sparklers that would be the driest of all, but those are not a large share of the market.

“Extra Dry” does not mean it is drier, it means it may be sweeter than the Brut with anywhere from 12–20 g.

“Dry” designation means it is actually the sweetest with 20–35 g. In France, there are other styles such as Cremant and Demi-Sec, which will have to be discussed on a post closer to Valentines Day.

Ok, enough about the nomenclature, let’s get into it!

Rionolo Prosecco, First Place

Rionolo Prosecco, First Place

My first place choice ended up being my favorite go to Prosecco from Riondo. It had nice random bubbles but was not as sparkling as the other 2. Color was very pale yellow with floral scents and flavors of apricot and lemon/citrus. The finish is nice and smooth, but with enough acidity to keep it interesting. It was clean and pure tasting. It sells in the Tri-State area for around $10 to $15.

CupCake Vineyards Prosecco

CupCake Vineyards Prosecco

My second place choice was CupCake Vineyard Prosecco. This brand has made a big splash making different varietals around the world sourcing grapes from the correct regions. In this case, they made this Prosecco from 100% Prosecco grapes from Veneto. I found that it was a bit more dark in color, more effervescent than the others, and resembled a california sparkling wine with its nose, body and crispness. There was a bit of a sharp chalk/minerality on the finish. I like this very much, though the other 2 seemed to be more in line with a typical Prosecco profile. This can work really well with fattier foods as the acidity will help cut that fat and refresh your mouth. For $7.99 on sale, it is a steal.

Mionetto Prosecco

Mionetto Brut Prosecco

Third place went to Mionetto, though I would consider it a tie for second. Similar in profile to Rionolo, but with apple and lemon/lime aromas and flavors. The finish is faster than the other 2, but it is smooth and easy drinking. This is a nice light style sparkler that many will love. Priced at around $9.99 – $12.99.

In conclusion, any of these 3 are great value priced Sparkling Wines and you won’t go wrong here.

Look for part 2 of the Sparkling Wines for New Years coming soon!

We tasted 5 more Sparkling bottles including Woodbridge by Mondavi from California, Domaine Ste. Michelle from Washington, Charles de Fére from France, Barefoot Cuvée from California, and Yellow Tail Bubbles from Australia.

Best and Happy New Year! Thank you all for reading and following Tales From the Trellis.

Steve from the Trellis

©, 2010



2 responses

31 12 2011
2011 Top Value Priced Wines Under $15 USD and Best Sparkling Wines for New Years Eve « talesfromthetrellis

[…] 3: Bitch Bubbly: This one is sweeter than the other 2 above, and is made from Chardonnay, Shiraz and Grenache from the Riverland, Barossa and McLaren Vale districts of Australia. Created by Chris Ringland – the winemaker that also created Bitch Grenache and 3 Rings Shiraz (I like those as well). This made the list to represent a good buy on a rosé sparkling wine.  Nose of strawberries, cranberries and dark berries, and taste of the same, with a bit of a creamy yet medicinal finish – though fairly long and interesting. Women do like it more than men, perhaps based on color and the candy-like aspects of this sparkling blush. It is not for everyone, but represents a good value at around $10 USD. Hurry, R Wines produced this wine and is now bankrupt! Click here for my previous sparkling wine reviews and previous New Years Eve Prosecco reviews. […]

13 02 2012
Value Priced Sparkling Rosé for Valentine’s Day: The 3 bottle taste-off! A Chandon, a Banfi and a Bitch (oh my)! « talesfromthetrellis

[…] De Fere Rosé ($10 USD from A true value. Alternately, check my earlier posts on Prosecco and Sparkling wines for Valentines’s Day. Rionolo Prosecco is delicious and a bargain. As is […]

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