The thing is that Prosecco can be like a Top 40 pop star whose songs all start sounding the same, which isn’t a bad thing – because I will literally dance to 80s Madonna even if it starts to play during a formal speech by the Prime Minister – in the same way that I’d down Prosecco regardless of the occasion. But yes: like Champagne, Prosecco seems to be all in the branding, but unlike the French bubbly, I feel that the Italian counterpart lacks a depth of individualism within its style. Of course, there exists the distinction between the higher-quality Conegliano and Valdobbiadene regions, the former that yields fruitier wines with some bitterness, and the latter being a bit more floral and subtle. And then there are some experimental producers, few and far between, that create more individualistic and quirky versions. But then there’s the argument of whether or not Prosecco even needs much differentiation at all at this point, since they sell like hotcakes anyway.
Regardless, I came with the mission of exploring scope within a perceptibly monochromatic wine, so I tasted literally all (I might’ve missed one or two) of the Prosecco at the 2016 Vancouver International Wine Fest in order to see how, if at all, the style of the wine was being crafted. Also: bubbles. Yes. Bathe me in that Prosecco.
Tenute Piccini NV Prosecco Extra Dry
White peach and pear: all standard and exuberant on the nose. Off-dry with prickly to aggressive mousse. Just enough acid, and then ending in a slightly bitter peach kernel ending that falls off. Quite refreshing, and the pourer told me this was the best Prosecco in the room, since she’s tried them all. Girl, sit down. I just started.
Beato Bartolomeo Breganze NV Prosecco Spumante Extra Dry
More floral; softer, with some green apple and honey. Something lacking just a touch of freshness: a hint of something along the lines of sweaty pears? Sweaty pairs? Sorry I’ll stop.
Bolla NV Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene
Same sort of hint of sweaty pears, but brighter and with more persisting mousse. Not super intense on the palate. 10% Verdiso. 13 g/L RS.
Bottega NV “Il Vino dei Poeti” Prosecco $20
More perfumed white flowers on the nose, and then some white peach on the palate. Definitely a hint of cloy but it’s mostly charming.
Bottega NV “Gold” Prosecco Brut $32
Not super aromatic but certainly a hint more dense and savoury. Otherwise, quite unfussy with its barely-off-dry white peach fruit. The bottle is completely gold(-coloured), which is perhaps a shady attempt to bring in the Ace of Spades crowd?
Giusti NV “Rosalia” Prosecco
Chalky white peach and pear. A real charming sweet peach character on the palate with rather delicate bubbles. A fair amount of personality here which makes up for the bit of shortness. #tinderprofile
Giusti NV Prosecco
A little more fragrant on the nose with the white peach; delicate still but more powerful and chalky on the palate. Slightly more prickly than its sibling.
Mionetto NV “il” Prosecco
Unripe and muted. Maybe a pinch of white pepper? A hint of something medicinal and artificial. Soft and dusty. An unpolished YouTube cover recorded with a bad camera. 16 g/L RS.
Mionetto NV Prosecco $19
More lively and persistent but still a touch artificial with its bubble gum and cotton candy. Simultaneously a bit muted and unremarkable. Don’t get me wrong: I’d still slam this. 12 g/L RS.
Mionetto NV Valdobbiadene Prosecco Millesimatto Brut $23
A sigh of relief for something much better in their lineup. Quite chalky and floral amongst the white peach, and the palate is gently intense and playful without being too intrusive. Hint of yeast and a lemony ending. 8 g/L RS.
Mionetto NV Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Prosecco Dry $40
Gentle; not so loud. Persistent, long, and powerful. Chalky, with a hint of banana, though dominated by white peach. Tasted in the recent past at another seminar focussed on Indigenous Italian white grapes. I refuse to believe that it has 24-26 g/L RS – if it does, it’s supremely balanced and places itself on the riper side of dry.
Villa Sandi “Il Fresco” NV Prosecco
Muted on the nose, and then a gentle fruity peach kernel burst. Soft, but could use either more bubble or refreshment here.
Villa Sandi NV Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Spumante Extra Dry
Moderately intense and elegant nose, with chalky white flowers. Refreshing and powerful; borders on off-dry. Lots of pear and white peach here.
Valdo Spumanti NV “Marca Oro” Prosecco di Valdobbiadene $21
Fresh and ripe with white peach, white flowers, and finer mousse. Very solid stuff.
Valdo Spumanti NV Prosecco Treviso Extra Dry
Really should have tasted this colder, but there’s a fair bit of moderately intense peach and its kernel; off-dry and soft.
Valdo Spumanti 2013 Cuvée del Fondatore Valdobbiadene Prosecco
Some yeasty character, dare I say? Round, floral, a distinctive nuttiness, and some mindless fruit replaced by some savouriness. Softish texture. Ten percent Chardonnay that’s been aged in oak, which explains the character, but it’s not too far out of character. One of the favourites, for sure.
Valdo Spumanti NV Cartizze “Oro Puro” Spumante Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze
Elegant; not so loud on the nose. Definitely a fraction of yeast here as well but without the nuttiness of the last. Savoury mid-palate; ripe, expressive, taut.
Villa Teresa NV Organic Prosecco $18.50
Villa Teresa apparently sells 350% more Prosecco than any other in the market. I wonder how they got there? This one’s barely off-dry, and what differentiates it from the others so far is this sort of unripe pear and green banana sort of thing going on – not in an overwhelmingly gross way or anything. At least it has some of that idiosyncrasy I’ve been looking for, I guess. 14 g/L RS.
Zonin NV “Cuvée 1821” Prosecco
Slightly more aromatic than the average of what’s been had so far. A bit of something either gingery or like burnt hair along with the peachy fruit. Pear, and slightly metallic. Nice and gaudy.
Umberto Cesari “Tenuta Lovia” NV Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
Certainly fragrant and with its pear fruit. Quite soft, refined, and satisfying. Caught the tail end of this, so I probably should retry it at some point. 7.3 g/L RS.