When you drink Prosecco, make the Superiore choice. This specialized region to the north of Venice spreads across 15 Italian towns between Conegliano (KOH-neh-L’EE’AH-noh) to the east and Valdobbiadene (VAHL-dohb-BEE’AH-deh-ne) to the west.
This swath of northern Italy is blessed with stony soils and a moderate Adriatic climate and is home to the indigenous grapes that are used in Prosecco. The most important grape here is Glera; Prosecco Superiore must be made with at least 85% of this variety. The addition of other local grapes is allowed as well. Conegliano is home to Italy’s first winemaking school, founded in 1876. It is here that the Italian Method of winemaking using special pressurized tanks was developed and perfected.
Because the hillsides here are so steep grapes can only be harvested by hand, creating handcrafted wines from the vineyard to the bottle. Many family-owned plots are tiny, causing Conegliano Valdobbiadene’s 178 wineries to rely on thousands of small farmers. This extraordinary landscape is now under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Prosecco DOCG, 95% of wines are classified as spumante (sparkling), and Prosecco Superiore comes in varying levels of sweetness, from dry to sweet. Believe it or not, the sweetest is labeled Dry, and this moderately sweet style of Prosecco DOCG is terrific with spicy foods or fruit tarts. Extra Dry falls in the mid-range on the sweetness scale. The driest Prosecco Superiore is labeled Brut, and it will feature fine bubbles and lively citrus flavors with a hint of toast.
When choosing Prosecco, look for the DOCG strip on the bottle, along with the name Conegliano or Valdobbiadene (or both), plus the word Superiore.