TIME FOR SOME SERIOUS FUN
Despite prosecco’s party reputation, MARY-THÉRÈSE BLAIR says it is seriously good.
IN MY EXPERIENCE,
prosecco is not a class that judges are tripping over themselves to assess. Yet when judging finishes the space is full of good cheer, positive vibes and comments about the ever-improving quality of this light, bright sparkler. I have a theory (as always) as to why this is.
It’s easy to feel empowered about judging Champagne and other méthodes because they’re ‘serious’ sparkling wines that hold cachet and have laborious, time-consuming production processes. How does a seasoned judge get serious about what is fundamentally an easygoing wine? One that is relatively easy to make, quick to market, reasonably priced and phenomenally popular. Surely a wine can’t be fun, light, beloved…and ‘good’?
Well it most certainly can, and the results below illustrate the best prosecco examples equally split between the wine’s native Italy and new-world contender Australia. We invite you to pour a glass and enjoy without giving it too much serious thought.
Those wines offering an outstanding mix of quality and price are awarded Best Buy status. Price points differ, depending on the varietal, but if you see the Best Buy sticker you can rest assured you’re getting a great wine at an excellent price. Look out for the sticker on wine bottles at all good wine retailers.
The judges who tasted the Champagne also tasted the prosecco.
I WILL NEVER TIRE of writing about prosecco; it’s the Italophile in me that harks back to European summer days spent in the town of Treviso in the Veneto region in the north of Italy, from where prosecco hails. I was staying in an unairconditioned attic apartment and the building’s elevator didn’t reach the top floor. After lugging heavy bags to the top of the building in 30-degree heat, I’d hang out of the skylight attempting to cool down and a glass of cold prosecco purchased from the local supermercato never tasted so good. That said, lately I’ve been embracing the fact that the Australians are now growing the glera grape abundantly in South Australia and, it has to be said, those Aussies are most capable of making prosecco that rivals the Italians. Case in point, our top six divides Italian and Australian examples equally.
Though the split in the top wines is equal, as always there can only be one top wine. This beautiful example from South Australian stalwart Jacob’s Creek truly charmed our judges. It’s pale and bright in the glass with high-toned citrus, jasmine blossom and honeysuckle aromas on the nose. The palate is soft and fresh with a vibrant yet creamy mouth-filling mousse. The steely line of acid that runs through the palate balances nicely against the sweetness present to make a delicious and moreish sparkling wine that will please the prosecco adorer. (A)
2 / Col de’salici Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2021 (Veneto, Italy) ★★★★★ - 2 $26
Vibrant, lifted aromatics are expressive on the nose. Citrus and jasmine flower aromas commingle with lemon curd on the nose and also segue through to the bright and juicy palate. Flavours of golden delicious apple abound complete with a fresh crisp crunch. (B)
3 / Tempus Two Prosecco NV (NSW, Australia) ★★★★ - 1 $18
Immediately fresh and bright on the nose with tropical fruit, honeysuckle and green apple aromas. These are also seen on the palate which is feather light and primary focussed. Fresh and concise with mouth-watering flavours of lime citrus culminating in a dry crisp finish. (C)
4 / De Bortoli Prosecco Rosé King Valley NV (Victoria, Australia) ★★★★ - 1 $20
A delightfully pale pink with immediate strawberry notes coming through on the nose. Delicate strawberry characters are also through the palate with lush, fresh red apple. The acid is bright and long and compliments the sweetness beautifully. (D)
5 / Brilla Prosecco DOC NV (Veneto, Italy) ★★★★ - 2 $29
Tropical fruit aromas come through on the nose and into the palate matched with sweet lemon curd flavours present in this surprisingly bold example. The richness gives the wine a sense of presence while also being bright, fresh and very easy drinking. (E)
Surely a wine can’t be fun, light, beloved… and ‘good’? Well it most certainly can... pour a glass and enjoy without giving it too much serious thought.
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