This Italian sparkling wine is popular for good reason.

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bottle of prosecco and two flutes with wine on a holiday table
Credit: Courtesy of Mionetto

Looking for a sparkling wine that can delight a crowd without breaking the bank? Pop open a bottle of Prosecco. It's one of the world's most popular and versatile sparklers. Here's what you need to know in order to choose the right Prosecco for your next bubble-worthy occasion.

Hailing from the Valdobbiadene region in Veneto, Italy, Prosecco bubbles have their own signature flair when compared with other sparkling wines like Champagne or Cava. Unique to Prosecco are the grapes used to make this wine. Glera (or the "Prosecco" grape as it used to be called) is known for its subtle floral and fruit characteristics. Wines made from Glera have notes of apple, melon, lemon curd, pear, and honeysuckle. They are more neutral in flavor than a rich—and significantly more expensive—Champagne which gives off toasty notes of brioche. For this reason, Prosecco is prized as a great celebratory sparkler that can be enjoyed in a cocktail, before a meal, or with food.

Not only is Prosecco the versatile secret behind mimosas and Aperol Spritzes, but this sparkling libation has a range of styles from inexpensive and quaffable to artfully crafted and serious. Prosecco can be broken up into two main categories: Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOCG. When Prosecco DOC is listed on a bottle, this typically indicates that this wine is the most affordable and neutral in flavor, making it the ideal wine to mix into cocktails or serve at a big event. These wines can be made from grapes grown anywhere in the Veneto or Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions of Italy. One favorite Prosecco DOC is Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut Sparkling Wine ($13.99, drizly.com). Look out for the split (375ml) bottles of Mionetto, which are the perfect personal-sized bottles for a socially-distanced holiday gathering. For an organic alternative, try Casa di Malia Organic Prosecco ($16.99, wine.com).

The Prosecco DOCG designation indicates the next tier of quality. These wines originate from the subtle slopes of Conegliano Valdobbiadene-Prosecco DOCG. Producers must write the region of origin on the bottle and hand-harvest their grapes. For these reasons, DOCG Prosecco will be slightly more expensive but of higher quality. These wines are great to sip on with salty foods like cheese, marcona almonds, seafood, and cured meats. Prosecco can contain a range in sugar content from brut (0-12g/L of sugar) to dry (up to 32g/L of sugar); wines with greater sugar content will not taste sweet, but instead give the wine more body and allow a perfect balance to saltier dishes.

Le Colture Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze ($35.99, wine.com) is one of the most premium examples of the DOCG tier. Not only is it a DOCG wine but it also is labeled with the term "Superiore di Cartizze," which indicates that it is from Italy's most exclusive Prosecco vineyard, Cartizze. This 264-acre vineyard is considered to produce the best Prosecco in all of Italy. Another favorite is Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco Superiore ($19.99, wine.com). It was named the best wine in the world by Wine Enthusiast in 2019! 

At less than $20 per bottle for 2019's top wine, Prosecco proves to be a beacon of value and quality. Less expensive DOC bottlings can be used for large toasts and fun cocktail concoctions while the more serious bottlings match best with a delicious meal. The varying styles of Prosecco will continue to grow in 2021 as the Prosecco DOC Consortium has approved the first ever Prosecco rosé to release in the new year. With more bubbles to choose from than ever before, it's up to you to decide which to try first.

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