Up Your Bubbles Game

Twenty years ago when I was in college, day drinking wasn’t what it is now. This was before Sunday Brunch became a “thing” and before Vegas started doing “day parties”. In my 20s, it was a simpler time. Binge drinking only occurred at night (much easier to manage!). Weekend days were spent recovering, eating Taco Bell, and watching bad TV. Nowadays millennials partake in all sorts of day drinking that I can’t keep up with! I’m convinced that had $15 bottomless Mimosas been a thing when I was young, that I would not have graduated college and would still be on my couch popping Advil like it’s going out of style! How kids do it, drinking 4 or 5 drinks before noon, I will never know!

Mimosa O’Clock?

Many mimosas are made with Prosecco as the sparkling base. Sure, there are many other options: Cava, domestic sparkling, Cremant, and even Champagne. But who wants to taint a glorious, toasty Champagne with orange juice? Now I love a mimosa as much as the next gal. In fact, one of my wine-isms is that “there is a time and place for every wine”. No wine snobbery or pretense here. I can enjoy a mimosa while eating breakfast on vacation, or when my husband surprises me with breakfast in bed. But sometimes I want more. 

Prosecco DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) is the quality level that falls between IGT (indicazione geografica tipica) at the bottom and DOCG (denominazione di origine controllata e garantita) at the top. About 80% of Prosecco production falls in the DOC level. The remainder is of the higher Prosecco Superoire DOCG quality level, coming from the smaller, hillier area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Save Prosecco DOC for brunch and mimosas. Prosecco Superiore is a great option if you want to sparkle at home for only a few extra bucks. 

Up Your Prosecco Game

Conegliano and Valdobbiadene

Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene comes from a small, hilly area of NE Italy, literally lying between the towns of Congeliano and Valdobbiadene. The Superiore area is the heart of Prosecco. This area was granted DOCG status in 2009. DOCG status being the highest level on the Italian wine quality pyramid. It brings both quality and value.

How does Conegliano Valdobbiadene differ from regular Prosecco DOC? In Conegliano Valdobbiadene, one hectare of hillside vines requires 600 hours of work annually. That same hectare on the flat plains only requires 150 hours of work. The Conegliano Valdobbiadene area has vineyard requirements (I.e. hand harvesting), winery practice controls, and tasting panels for quality assessments. The region benefits from stony soils, cooling Adriatic breezes, and a moderate climate. The hills are very steep and grapes are hand-harvested, versus machine harvested.

Basic quality Prosecco DOC mostly falls in the $10-$15 range, whereas Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG falls into the $15-$20 range. Still quite affordable! Let’s get to tasting!

Le Colture Fagher Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut (SRP $17)

At $17, this Le Colture Prosecco Superiore DOCG majorly over delivers. Fresh fruit notes of pear, green apple, and lemon wrapped around floral notes of jasmine. On the upper end of dry (in fact, almost off-dry). I paired it with a “make your own” sushi hand roll kit and it was a delightful combo. The wine was the perfect balance to the fresh sushi and the spicy sauces! 

Tenuta Degli Ultimi “Biancariva” Prosecco Superiore Conegliano-Valdobiaddene DOCG Brut (SRP $17) 

This Biancariva Prosecco DOCG was a perfect, affordable weeknight wine to sparkle at home. A precise and balanced bone-dry Prosecco Superiore serving delicate floral notes and great acid. This might be the best Prosecco Superiore I have ever tasted. If that’s not upping your wine game…I don’t know what is.

Mionetto Prosecco Cartizze DOCG (SRP $35) 

What does Cartizze denote? Cartizze is a sub-zone of Conegliano-Valdobiaddene with only 107 hectares under vine. The average area owned by each grower is one hectare. This means a lot of attention to the vines.

What does one pair with this Mionetto Prosecco Cartizze DOCG that has residual sugar? I am not always a fan of sweet with sweet.  I preferred a savory/salty contrast to the slightly sweet wine. The standout pairings here were definitely French fries and strong cheeses, particularly Gorgonzola!

Perlage Winery Canah Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut (SRP $20)

This Perlage Prosecco Superiore is a floral and delicate sparkler. White flowers (jasmine and honeysuckle) on the nose, plus green apple, pears, and more white flowers on the nose. The vines at Perlage are on extreme hills that require a pulley system to move the grapes once picked. Now that’s commitment!

With only a few days left in 2020, I hope I’ve convinced you to “Sparkle at Home” as we kick 2020 to the curb and look ahead to a bright new year!

Brianne Cohen is an LA based event producer, certified sommelier, wine educator, and wine writer. During the pandemic, Brianne entertained over 7,000 people through her “Virtual Vino” online wine classes, regularly highlighting diverse (i.e. Black, BIPOC, female, and LGBT) owned wineries. She now offers both in-person (and virtual) wine tasting experiences for her corporate clients. Brianne regularly judges at international wine competitions, including the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London and holds the WSET Diploma certificate. She writes on her own blog and for outlets such as Decanter, Vintner Project, and Kiplinger. She also holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University. Brianne Cohen Wine & Events is a certified woman-owned business with WBENC.