An at-a-glance guide to bubbles worth hunting down


• Certified Sustainable and part of L.I.V.E.
• Vintage-dated Brut
• Highest rated Sparkling Wine outside of Champagne
• 2011 Brut WS 90 pts / 2010 Brut WA 91pts / 2009 Brut WS 90pts / 2008 Brut WA 90pts
• All hand harvested.
• Disgorged on demand

• Independent, family owned, 3rd generation
• Methode Champenoise
• Estate Bottled from the Green Valley – coldest corner of Russian River
• Served at the White House twice this year so far and has been served in the White House for every President since Ronald Regan

• From Provence, France
• The Brebans are one of the last families still providing artisan quality sparkling wine from the South of France
• 3rd generation handling operations
• Great value Blanc de Blanc and Rose’

• Estate produced, 35 year old vines and low yields
• Cremant de Loire, strict Methode Champenoise regula-tions
• Top producer in the Loire Valley
• Extensive lees aging
• Biodynamic farming and production

• Follador family estate
• Follador family has been growing in the Valdobbiadene region for centuries
• Located on the famous foothill of Cartizze

• Started in 1920, now 3rd generation
• Greatest Spumante, Vignato Geradino recognized as Prosecco’s first “cru” in 1933. Still recognized as the benchmark for great Prosecco today
• Wide selection of styles available
• Second fermentation occurs over 100 times a year so each batch is a fresh as possible

• One of the oldest wine producing companies in Emilia-Romagna was started by Cleto Chiarli the great grand-father of the current family running the winery
• New state-of-the-art winery
• Bottled upon request ensuring the freshest product available
• Perfect pairing for Charcuterie!

• Methode Champenoise production, making this the Champagne of Italy
• Saten is 100% Chardonnay – Blanc de Blancs
• 3 years aging before release
• Single cru within the DOCG
• Organically farmed

• Harvested from their highest elevation vineyards.
• Only free run and soft first press juice is used.
• Sustainable Framing practices used.
• Methode Champenoise.
• 2 to 5 years on the lees.

• Methode Champenoise
• 12 months on the lees
• 5th generation, family owned.
• Some of the vineyards used were planted over 100 years ago.

• Made in Tasmania!
• Perfect cool climate region
• Methode Champenoise
• Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier
• Most acclaimed sparkling wines in Australia

• 100% Chardonnay
• Cremant de Bourgogne, strict methode Champenoise Regulations
• Estate grown wine from the heart of Burgundy
• 6th generation family grower

• Methode Champenoise
• 15 months on the lees
• Direct Import
• Only available in Minnesota

• Cline (Jacuzzi) project
• Very small production
• White blend of Glera & Muscat
• Goes great in the hot tub!

• Tommasi Family project
• Top vineyard sourcing in Valdobiadene
• Fantastic style & packaging

Vive le bon goût!

Prosecco: the facts you need to know

Prosecco sales are through the roof nationwide, and for good reason: the gentle nature of the bubbles, the faintest whiff of sweetness, and … let’s be honest … a flavor profile that kicks any party into high gear.

With Prosecco so popular, it’s high time to get our facts straight about the great bubbly of Northeast Italy. Here are some fine tidbits of info to bring to your next gathering!

There are two VERY different styles of Prosecco: Frizzante and Spumante. Learn the difference!
Frizzante Prosecco is, by law, up to two ‘bars’ (or atmospheres) of pressure in the bottle. In other words, very gentle bubbles and a very gentle style. (The Riondo “Green Label” Prosecco Spago, pictured on the left, is a frizzante.)

However, the Spumante style of Prosecco can, like Champagne, have up to four bars (or atmospheres) of pressure. In other words, more bubbles and more richness. If you are normally a Champagne or California Sparkling wine drinker, seek out the Spumante styles (such as the Riondo Blu pictured on the right).

Prosecco is made IN Prosecco but no longer made FROM Prosecco
Up until 2010, Prosecco was both a grape and a place. This was not a big deal when few people consumed Prosecco outside of the Veneto, but it became a huge problem as the popularity of the wine increased. Why? Because you could make a Prosecco without it being from Prosecco. The finer Prosecco producers (i.e. all the producers we carry) cried foul and justifiably so … how would Napa like it if people could use “Napa” on the label without it being from Napa Valley?

The European Union stepped in and starting in 2010, the name of the Prosecco grapes turned into the very bland and forgettable name Glera (pronounced, as you may think, Ghe-ler-ahhhh … drop your shoulder, shut one eye, and wiggle on the last syllable for greater effect).

So now, any wine labeled “Prosecco” has to come from the designated Prosecco zones of Italy and be produced with the Gleraaaaaaaaa grape.

If you lived in Northeast Italy, you’d consume lots of Prosecco but rarely intellectualize it.
So here is what happens if you visit a tiny little family owned enoteca in Northeastern Italy: you sit down, you say hello to the owners/family, you are greeted with warmth and love, and all of the sudden WHAMP! a carafe of Prosecco lands in front of you. You didn’t ask for it, but you will be charged for it.

The purpose of the Prosecco is to clean the palate, help rid the taste of the three espressos you had in the afternoon, to clear the mind, and to help you ease into dinner.

This is the greatest purpose of Prosecco … as a vehicle to move into a wonderful evening. (The other great use of Prosecco is in the middle of a big wine tasting … nothing rejuvenates the palate better the Prosecco.)

So is it possible to intellectualize Prosecco? Of course it is. The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Gambero Rosso, and many others do fine reviews of great Italian sparkling wines. But in the end, in our opinion, Prosecco is more about enjoyment, refreshment, laughter, friends and family, and rarely about “is that Tazmanian or Portuguese mango I smell?”

Prosecco map

Terroir is a real thing when it comes to Prosecco.
There are various DOC’s and DOCG’s when it comes to Prosecco, and it reflects the varied terrain in the land outside of Venice. Much Glera is planted on the flatlands, and it’s not that those wines are lesser quality but they simply don’t have the dynamic personalities of the hillside grown Glera. Our Proseccos from Adami, Riondo, and Il Follo are all absolutely top notch from many of the top vineyard holdings of the region.

So a challenge to all wine lovers out there: seek out Prosecco. Find examples from the different DOC’s and DOCG’s. Try the Frizzante style side by side with the Spumante style. Experience different levels of residual sugar (“Brut” vs. “Extra Dry”). A weekend of enjoyable Prosecco consumption (you can call it homework) will open your eyes to the many styles available.




How to be a Prosecco Pro

There is no category in the world of Sparkling Wine that has garnered as much market share in such a short period of time as Prosecco.

But what, reallly, is Prosecco? You might think you know the answers, but recent changes in Italian wine law require a refresher course. Also, understanding how it is made and how to serve it correctly can help improve your appreciation.

But first, let’s put Prosecco in context.

Imagine you are in Northeastern Italy, in the region of the Veneto (maybe in the city of Venice or Verona, or in the countryside in a quaint little village). You enter a tiny trattoria, a classic restaurant run by multiple generations of the same family, the kind of local restaurant you can easily find through a bit of research in Michelin guides. Grandpa is at the door greeting you, the kids are running the food, Mama is cooking, and the grandkids are doing the dishes. You are greeted by Grandpa with open arms and full understanding of why you are there, though you don’t speak Italian and they don’t understand English. He leads you to your table, fussing over the flowers and silverware to prepare you for a great evening. He gives you a knowing glance and little smile, as if to say “Thank you for coming to our restaurant. We will treat you as family!”


A carafe hits the table. A carafe full of Prosecco.

You didn’t order it, but you will be charged for it. It’s as much a part of a meal in Northeastern Italy as bread and water in America.

The purpose of Prosecco is clear: to clean out the tastes (both physically and mentally) of the day and prepare you palate for the evening. It’s a way to symbolically raise a glass and mark the shift from your daytime worries and hurries to an evening of friends and family.

In this respect, Prosecco has a different purpose than Champagne or Cava: where the former is light and refreshing, often the latter is more yeasty, toasty, and rich. Prosecco is one of the perfect starts to an evening, but is often not suitable for main courses.

Great Prosecco is to be light, frothy, clean, and airy. Often times it has a touch of sweetness as well, which only helps in its job of preparing you for a meal.

The Geography and the Variety
It used to be that Prosecco was both an area and a grape, which led to much confusion when the Prosecco grape began to be planted and bottled outside of the region. Imagine the crossed eyes if Carneros was both a grape and a place, and you could buy a “Carneros” from Oregon. Head spinning yet?

Multiplying the confusion is the stratospheric rise in popularity Prosecco has had in the last ten years. Starting in 2002, imports of Prosecco have seen double digit increases annually to the United States (with 2008, the year of the great recession, being sighted as a particularly amazing year as Champagne drinkers abandoned their higher price points for the much more reasonable cost of Prosecco). With so much more Prosecco suddenly on the market, it was important to reign in the ‘imposters’ from outside the DOCG zone.

In August of 2009, Prosecco was dropped by the European Union as the name of a grape varietal, replaced with the very odd and generic sounding name Glera. (Can you even imagine a more radical nomenclature shift?) So today, Prosecco is a region, and only a region, and they plant the grape Glera. The same grape planted outside the zone is no longer allowed to use the name Prosecco.

The grape formerly known as Prosecco.

Making Prosecco
In Champagne and Cava, the bubbles are achieved through a second fermentation in the bottle. In Prosecco, it’s a little different, using a method called Charmat. The chemistry is the same: yeast + sugar = alcohol + carbon dioxide (which is not allowed to be released, and thus re-enters the wine on a molecular level), but rather than doing the work one bottle at a time, it is done en masse via large stainless steel tanks. To bottle the wine, a special bottling line is used that does all the work in a pressurized environment. The efficiency of this method is obvious, and helps to make Prosecco so affordable.

Serving Prosecco the right way
Because of the method of winemaking (Charmat), most Prosecco does not benefit with aging and should be consumed with “sooner rather than later” in mind. If you have bottles of Prosecco sitting around from years ago, there is only one way to find out if they are still good: pop them! Just don’t do it at the all important “dinner with your boss” event.

Serve Prosecco chilled as you would Champagne (with Prosecco, right out of the refrigerator is just fine … with Champagne you want to let the bottle sit for a bit and not serve it too cold).

Because some people are ‘bubbly adverse’ (we don’t understand these people either), it’s a great idea to simply greet your guests at the door with Prosecco. Often, we have found, those that would graciously decline an offer of a glass if asked are in fact the ones that enjoy it the most. So just put the glass in their hand, watch them enjoy the first sip, and observe as the memories of the day start to melt from their minds as they settle into a great evening with you.


If you want to read further on the world of Prosecco we highly reccomend the article at HonestCooking.com on exploring throughout the Prosecco region. It’s comprehensive and beautifully written.


Our Prosecco portfolio at The Wine Company is extensive, covering a wide variety of producers. These include Adami, Col Vetoraz, Riondo, Mochetto, and Il Follo. Seek out these gems in your favorite stores and restaurants!