Prosecco’s USP is its light, fruity character and affordable pricing – it’s not attempting to copy Champagne and as a result has carved out its own (significant) corner of the sparkling wine market.
Below, we recommend the best Prosseco under £20, including top picks from supermarkets Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer, as well as independents and high street chains such as Decanter’s National Wine Retailer of the Year, Majestic Wine.
Peter Mitchell MW, wine director for Decanter’s London Multi-Store of the Year, Jeroboams says, ‘As a category, Prosecco sales have been around 10% up this year compared to last. The more expensive wine has performed better than the cheaper wine. Retail sales are above pre-pandemic levels; wholesale is recovering with sales in the last quarter above those of 2019, but they will still be down on 2019 sales overall owing to restrictions earlier this year.’
However Ben Robson from Bat & Bottle, Decanter’s Italy Specialist Retailer of the Year, says, ‘2021 did not quite enjoy the glorious sunshine of 2020 and we saw our sales slip a bit,’ adding that, ‘The on-trade seems to like Extra Dry best, and our customers are drinking Brut at home.’
Not all Prosecco is equal: Prosecco DOC and Prosecco Treviso DOC tend to be the most affordable, perfect for a lunchtime quaffer or aperitif.
For the best Prosecco options, step up to the DOCGs of Asolo, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive and Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze. These give you sparkling wines made from better fruit from the best hillside sites, and can challenge some of the best sparkling wines from other regions in terms of complexity and quality.
Although the quality is there, Elvira Dmitrieva from Independent Wine notes that, ‘at the premium end of the market, Prosecco is facing real competition as more and more customers discover Franciacorta and other Italian metodo classico [traditional method] wines.’
Prosecco is predominantly made from the Glera grape, formerly known also as ‘Prosecco’, but other grape varieties may be included. Up to 15% of the blend can be made up from Bianchetta Trevigiana, Chardonnay, Perera, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Verdiso and Pinot Noir, all fermented off the skins. Rosé Prosecco (see below) can contain up to 15% of Pinot Noir fermented on the skins.
A new Prosecco category – launched in November 2020 – is rosé Prosecco. Blending Pinot Noir with Glera, it gives pink Prosecco with subtle red fruit characteristics, perfect for summer sipping as well as pairing with food in the winter.
Majestic’s Jack Merrylees, head of communications & PR, says, ‘The most pleasant surprise has been Prosecco Rosé, which now comprises over 20% of [Prosecco] sales and is growing.’
But don’t expect to see rosé Prosecco at the DOCG level just yet – this is a new development at DOC level only.