Prosecco Superiore DOCG is the highest quality of Prosecco and comes from the Italian towns between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Learn about Prosecco Superiore DOCG and how it’s different than Prosecco DOC. And check out our guide on Italian Sparkling Wines if you are just getting started.
- What’s the difference between Prosecco and Prosecco Superiore DOCG?
- Prosecco Superiore DOCG
- Why does this matter?
- Understanding Prosecco Superiore
- 3 types of Prosecco wine are produced:
- Styles of Prosecco Superiore — From Dry to sweet
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG: The Vineyards
- Cartizze and Rive
- Food Pairing for Prosecco Superiore
- Recipes to try with Prosecco Superiore
- How to Taste Wine
What’s the difference between Prosecco and Prosecco Superiore DOCG?
Prosecco often gets lumped into one category — fresh, fruity, and inexpensive sparkling wine made throughout the Veneto region of Italy. But if you’re willing to look a little deeper, there’s a segment of Prosecco that is of some of the highest quality coming out of Italy. While most of the Prosecco on the market is the fresh fruity inexpensive stuff, it’s important to know that there are different quality levels of production.
Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Prosecco Superiore comes specifically from the hilly area of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, which includes 15 towns located at the heart of the Veneto region, home of the highest quality DOCG wines of the region.
Why does this matter?
Because these wines are different than their better known counterparts, and are incredibly high quality for the price (you can find great examples from around $15-$25!). They are usually lower in sugar, so they don’t come across so sweet. Instead you get a great balance of fruit and floral flavors with fine, elegant bubbles.
And most of them are made by smaller, family-operated winemakers, with more attention given to the details. Essentially, you’re getting the highest quality product possible from the grapes of this stunning region.
And best of all, these wines are great with foods of all kinds.
Understanding Prosecco Superiore
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, and its smaller, more concentrated designations, are among the highest quality sparkling wines produced within the region.
3 types of Prosecco wine are produced:
- Tranquillo: The still wine of the region, and the least known. This niche product represents a very small (1%) percentage of the wine made in the region, and not likely to be found outside of Italy.
- Frizzante: Semi-sparkling (or “fizzy”) wines which have been stored on their lees in the bottle. These undergo a brief re-fermentation in the bottle during the spring, and are meant to be drunk in the summer and autumn following the vintage
- Spumante: The most popular and widely produced style at 92% of total production, this is the fully sparkling style.
Styles of Prosecco Superiore — From Dry to sweet
The majority of the wine produced here is in a dry (“brut”) style, even though the wines come across “fruity” due to their natural fruit flavors found in the Glera grape (the primary grape of these wines, and constitute at least 85% of the wine). It can be confusing at first, but here is how you can tell how dry or sweet a wine is by looking at the label.
- Brut: 0–12 g/l RS (residual sugar)– The driest style, and most common, with up to 12 grams per liter of residual sugar after bottling (or up to a half gram of sugar per glass).
- Extra Dry:12–17 g/l RS– Considered “off dry” with 12-17 grams of sugar per liter (or just over a half gram of sugar per glass).
- Dry: 17–32 g/l RS– The sweetest style, with 17-32 grams of sugar per liter (or up to 1 gram of sugar per glass).
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG: The Vineyards
The towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene are at the heart of this region, and the home of the highest quality DOCG Prosecco Superiore wines.
The Conegliano Valdobbiadene region (pronounced: Co-neee-lee-ah-noh Val-doh-bee-ah-de-neh) – is located just miles from Venice, and the home to handcrafted sparklers that are are anything but ordinary.
Within the Prosecco Superiore DOCG region there are two subregions that are distinct on their own.
Cartizze and Rive
Both are subzones within the region of Prosecco Superiore DOCG, that express the top quality of wines produced here. These areas are considered the “crus” and “grand crus” of the region. And you can expect to pay generally up to the $30 – $40 range, which is a fantastic value for such gorgeous, handcrafted, artisan sparkling wines and very competitive with grower Champagnes in price/quality.
And these are only from this Conegliano Valdobbiadene region.
I’m telling you this from experience. The region here is simply stunning and awe worthy! The wines are handcrafted primarily from family operated wineries, handpicked, on some steep and dangerous hillsides, that have been doing this for generations. Humble and resilient people, working in a stunning region, making balanced and gorgeous wines.
Food Pairing for Prosecco Superiore
- With Brut being the most common and least sweet this is going to pair with the widest variety of food, from appetizers to main dishes. We recommend this with Grilled Pork Chops. You can also pair it with salads, seafood, or even light pasta dishes.
- Extra Dry is going to have more dominant fruitiness and a hint of sweetness. These are also great as an aperitif, but also with rich sauces, cream based foods, or even flavorful meats like duck or game hens.
- Dry is the least common, and one that will demonstrate the most fruit and sweetness. Most will pair this style with pastries or semi-sweet dessert dishes. But my favorite pairing for this is with spicy food, like shrimp!
Recipes to try with Prosecco Superiore
- Grilled Salmon with a Maple Orange Glaze
- Grilled Pork Chops with Wine Brown Butter Sauce
- Spicy Sriracha Grilled Shrimp
- Whole Smoked Chicken
- Smoked Salmon Dip
- Sicilian Arancini di Riso: Sicilian Rice Balls
How to Taste Wine
Follow these steps to learn more about the wine you are tasting:
1. Hold the glass straight in front of you by the stem and look at it. Notice the clarity, color, and viscosity of the wine.
2. Give the wine a swirl to release the aromas. Smell for notes of fruit, flowers/herbs, earth/minerals, spice and others.
3. Take a sip of wine and swish it in your mouth. Allow it to touch all parts of your palate. Focus on how it changes in your mouth. What stands out? Are the notes similar to those of the nose?
The more you know the characteristics you do and don’t like in a wine, the better you will be at choosing wines you will like. Learn more in our Wine Tasting 101 post and in Chapter 2 of our Fire + Wine Cookbook.