There’s nothing like a chilled, crisp glass of Prosecco. Whether sipped on its own or using its aromatic fizz to elevate flavours in a cocktail, a glass of fruity, sparkling wine can lift the spirits and transport you to the verdant hills of northern Italy.
But how can you tell if you’re drinking good Prosecco? When toasting a special occasion, Prosecco can be charmingly inexpensive compared to Champagne; but have you selected the very best and is it authentic rather than imitation?
Spending some time learning a little bit about the bubbly stuff and its origins could make the difference between an average fizz and a superior one. Here’s our guide to choosing the best Prosecco out there.
1. Check the Prosecco is Italian
Chemist Antonio Carpané, produced the first bottle of sparkling Prosecco in 1868. He was convinced that a wine as good as Champagne could be produced in Italy – and he was right.
It’s important to understand the geography behind Italy’s Prosecco production, though. Prosecco doesn’t have the same ‘local’ protection that Champagne does (to call it Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France). That means there are many producers out there, including from countries such as Australia, producing Prosecco.
So, if you want authentic, Italian Prosecco (trust us: you do want Italian Prosecco), check the label to make sure it’s produced in Italy. The specific words you’re looking for are: ‘Prodotto in Italia’. Translation: produced in Italy.
2. Make sure it’s at least 85% Glera grape
Wine can be confusing. Sometimes the wine is named after the wine region (example: Champagne). Sometimes it’s named after the grape (example: Chardonnay). And sometimes it’s named after the tiny town where it originated from even though the main production area has shifted (our friend, Prosecco).
So, what’s Prosecco made from? The answer: Prosecco is from the Glera grape. This green-skinned grape ripens late in the season and is a semi-aromatic variety; meaning it can be quite fragrant, floral and fruity.
Chances are you’ve not heard of the Glera grape before but that doesn’t matter. The important point to note is that a bottle of Prosecco must contain a minimum of 85% Glera grape for it to be considered Prosecco. If it’s not got the right amount of Glera, you’re just getting sparkling Italian wine.
The extra confusing part: the best Prosecco (DOC and DOCG – see below) isso good, it doesn’t need to tell you that the Glera grape is in there. Consequently, if you’re seeing the words Glera on the bottle and no DOC or DOCG, you’re actually getting an inferior Prosecco bottle.
3. Choose DOCG or DOC
If you’re in a rush, make searching for ‘DOCG’ on the label the one thing you do before dashing to the till. DOC and DOCG are quality classifications that confirm the product you’re about to swap for your hard-earned cash is made to certain quality standards.
DOC (translated in English as Controlled Destination of Origin) is a fair place to start if you’re looking to buy good Prosecco as it will give you the assurance that it is, at least, produced in the main, high-quality production region of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in north-east Italy. Most of the Prosecco found in European supermarkets is DOC.
However, if you’re looking for really good Prosecco, look for one that has DOCG on the label. DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) can only be used when the wine is made from the limestone-rich area located between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. This region is the epicentre of Prosecco Superior – the best Prosecco there is. This is mainly due to:
- the quality of the soil (with a rich sediment from the mountainous glaciers with fruity and flowery notes)
- the steepness of the hills which is hit by the sunlight in just the right way and also allows the rain water to travel down the valley instead of making the soil rotten
- the shape of the hills which creates the perfect ventilation
- the manual harvest that filters out the rotten berries and allows the grape to remain untouched until it is pressed
Typically, you can find at least one DOCG Prosecco on the supermarket shelves and it’s not usually that much more than the price of your DOC. But if you want reallygood Prosecco…
4. Buy from a specialist wine shop
Why not swerve the supermarket and check out your nearest independent wine shop?
Many of them have trained, qualified staff who are happy to natter about Prosecco in all its effervescent glory. Some offer courses and tastings that could help you discover something new, and deliver if you’re pressed for time.
Pro-tip for choosing good Prosecco: if you can get your hands on any Prosecco from the Cartizze region, you’ve hit the jackpot. Considered to be the Rolls Royce of Prosecco, Cartizze is a tiny area located with the DOCG Prosecco (superior) region and it tastes like liquid gold. Historically, Cartizze was produced as a dry Prosecco (which means the sweetest wine, see below) as the grapes grown on the Cartizze hill get the best of the sun. More and more brut Cartizze is being produced which some experts think is messing with history too much. My suggestion: try a dry (sweet) and try a brut (dry), then drink what you like.
Typically, you need to be in Cartizze to taste Cartizze but you might find a stray bottle ignored by the untrained eye in a wine shop. May the odds be ever in your favour. Otherwise, you can take a tour of the Prosecco region where you can add Cartizze to your itinerary.
5. Go Prosecco tasting in a local Prosecco Bar
Doing a recce in a bar that stocks a good range of sparkly is the kind of research we like. If nothing on the menu catches your eye, ask the bar staff to talk you through their favourites. Scribble some notes on your favourite tipple; its appearance (such as colour or perlage, a fancy way to describe the quality and character of the fizziness), the aroma, whether the flavour lingered or disappeared and most importantly, how it tasted.
Prosecco House near London’s Tower Bridge has 28 types of premium Prosecco on the menu and often has tasting events.
6. Don’t drink Prosecco on-tap
Prosecco on tap might sound like the world’s best invention, but in reality it won’t deliver high-quality fizz becauseit’s not actually Prosecco. If your Prosecco comes from a tap, or a keg, be suspicious.It’s likely to be just sparkling wine,as (for quality reasons) Prosecco needs to be served directly from the bottle.
If you’re in a bar and after a refreshing aperitif or cocktail but want the real deal, inspect the menu closely and don’t be afraid to ask what the bubbles actually are.
7. Understand Italian wine sweetness (it’s confusing)
Matching your Prosecco to your personal tastes is an important part of finding a good Prosecco. Unfortunately, the clue is NOT in the name – the labels can add to the confusion to the buying process. Here’s our cheat’s guide to reading a Prosecco label:
Extra Brut– At between 0-6 grams of residual sugar, try this if you’re after a very dry Prosecco.
Brut– This contains between 6-12 grams of residual sugar and offers a dry, robust, flavour that is a touch sweeter than extra brut.
Extra Dry– At 12-17 grams of residual sugar, this can be a nice, in-betweener which is often found with apple and citrus notes. However, if you’re used to drier styles of wine, you might find this too sweet.
Dry – This is the where you’re most likely to get confused because ‘Dry’ Prosecco, with between 17-32 grams of residual sugar, is the sweetest of them all. Perfect if you like your Prosecco on the sweet-side but a big mistake if you’re hoping for a drink that is actually dry.
What might surprise you is how good dry Prosecco is for pairing with food – nope, it’s not just an aperitif drink. Dry Prosecco pairs well with sweet food but also fatty fish like salmon, fried fish (yep, you Brits have just been given permission to drink dry Prosecco with your fish and chips) and crustaceans such as shrimps and mussels.
One to look out for: There is a new breed of Prosecco calledProsecco Zerothat has 0 grams of residual sugar (also known as zero dosage and brut nature). Definitely give it a try but two words of caution: first, it is super, super, super dry.Possiblytoo dry for most people. Also, at zero grams of residual sugar, many producers are touting this as ‘skinny’ or ‘diet’ Prosecco. For the sake of saving a handful of calories per glass, we’d recommend going for quality over calories. If you don’t like the taste, go back to what you enjoy.
8. Choose from our list of favourite Prosecco brands
Pushed for time, but looking to impress (and pretend you’re part-oenologist)? Check out our guide to the best Prosecco Vineyards. Sure, you might be ‘visiting’ from the shelves of your local wine shop rather than Italy, butit gives you a good place to start.
9. Go Prosecco tasting in Italy’s Prosecco Region
We’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend that you elevate your Very Important Prosecco Research to another level, and enjoy a wonderful Italian break at the same time.
You simply can’t beat tasting the best Prosecco in the very region of Italy where it is grown. Just one-hour away from Venice, you candiscoverthe region, learn about the Prosecco production process and get a real insider’s knowledge on how to choose a good Prosecco. You’ll come home happier, rested and more knowledgable on all things fizz. Win-win. You can find out more about Visit Prosecco Italy’s tours of the Prosecco region here.
Finally, if you’ve tracked down your favourite Prosecco in Italy, why not consider having it shipped to you? You can do this through one of the Visit Prosecco Italy tours – the drivers can connect you with a shipping company that can send wine home for you at a decent price. Otherwise, if you want tips for taking wine how in your suitcase, read our blog post here.
10. Visit a Prosecco Festival
Finally, why not celebrate your love of the fizz by heading out to a Prosecco festival? The UK’sProsecco Festival, held across national locations including Bristol and Liverpool, offers over 40 types of Prosecco and sparkling wine. It’s a great way to discover, and sample, a great selection of Prosecco all at once as well as well as enjoy delicious Italian street food and live entertainment.
You knew you loved Prosecco, but maybe not the breadth of quality and styles of your favourite Italian sparkly. Now, you know your DOCG from your DOC and how to look for a persistent perlage.
You can spot whether the bubbly is sweet or dry without even tasting it and know to shop local for that extra special bottle. Enjoy – and get your good Prosecco party started.
Prosecco Tasting Notes
These tasting notes have been written to help you choose Prosecco if you’re ordering from a specialist wine shop. Some of this Prosecco you therefore won’t be able to find easily outside Italy or specialist wine shops. But some of them, like Brut and extra dry and frizzante are more widely available.
Cartizze is considered to be the Rolls Royce of Prosecco with grapes harvested from the sunniest, steepest slopes.
Brut is one of the most well-known and well-loved Prosecco.Perfectly dry (and perfect with pizza).Try it from 3 of our favourite DOCG Superiore vineyards.
Extra Brut is like Brut but even drier with almost no residual sugar remaining. Try it. It could be your new favourite Brut.
Extra dry is a little sweeter than Brut (though not like the sugary sweet sparkling wines you’ve probably tasted before).It’s elegant, subtle and makes a great aperitif or party starter.
Frizzante – Prosecco grapes with a shade less sparkle.
Tranquilo – did you know there you can get still white wine from the Prosecco region? This white wine is a conversation starter.
Col Fondo –heritage Prosecco made the old way with the yeast in the bottle. Pair with cured meats and cheese.
So, that’s our guide to how to choose good Prosecco. Got any questions or recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.
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- 14 Types of Italian Cheese Everyone Needs To Know
- 11 Best Italian Pastries (With Recipes)
- 14 Famous Italian Drinks To Try In Italy (Or At Home)
- 7 Simple Steps To Host a Wine Tasting at Home
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This post was written by the wonderful Nicola Greenbrook,a London-based freelance writer who helps her clients find a way with words. You can find out more about her work here.
- Best Overall: Fascino Organic Prosecco. ...
- Best for Brunch: Scarpetta Prosecco. ...
- Best for Mimosas: Tiamo Organic Prosecco. ...
- Best Budget: Alberto Nani Organic Prosecco. ...
- Best for Weeknight Bubbles: Sommariva Prosecco Superiore Brut. ...
- Best for Happy Hour: Valdo Cuvee 1926 Prosecco Superiore. ...
- Best for Parties: Botter Per Ora Prosecco.
Within the Veneto region of Italy, there is a small geographic area located between the towns of Conegliano and Valdbiadenne. Best identified for it's steep, rolling hills, which is almost wall-like in parts, this is where you will find the best Prosecco in Italy – Prosecco Superior DOCG.What is the best Prosecco for the money? ›
- Josh Cellars Prosecco.
- Mionetto Prosecco DOC Millesimato. ...
- Val de Cune 'Val' Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG. ...
- Canella Prosecco NV Brut DOC. ...
- Zonin Prosecco. ...
- Santa Marina Prosecco. ...
- Tiamo Prosecco Organic. ...
- Mongarda Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut 2020. ...
There are two main styles of Prosecco: Frizzante (fizzy) and Spumante (fully sparkling). Prosecco uses the charmat method (or tank method) to gain its bubbles. Prosecco is made exclusively in the Veneto and Friuli regions of northeast Italy.How much is a good bottle of Prosecco? ›
How much is a good bottle of Prosecco? While Prosecco prices can range, we recommend one priced around at least $12.How do you order a glass of Prosecco in Italian? ›
Matteo: Prosecco of course. Katie: To order a glass of prosecco, you can simply say: Matteo: Un Prosecco. Or for two, you can use the plural due Prosecchi.Should you chill Prosecco? ›
Prosecco is best served chilled—between 40 and 45℉. If you have an hour or two to spare, a refrigerator is typically kept at or around 40℉ and will get your Prosecco to the ideal temperature in no time. Celebrating spontaneously? You can quickly chill your Prosecco in an ice bucket with water and ice.Which Prosecco is better DOC or DOCG? ›
D.O.C.G. is the best of the best
cues quality, D.O.C.G. specifies the highest quality. All D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) Proseccos must pass a series of five tests and be issued a quality label by the Italian government.
The Prosecco types are essentially three: SPARKLING (Spumante), SEMI-SPARKILING (Frizzante) and STILL VERSION (Tranquillo), depending on the perlage.Is there a difference in Prosecco? ›
The quick answer is simple: wine can only be called Champagne when it originates from the Champagne region in France. Prosecco is from Italy. But there's more than just the name – this is the full story. The difference in price is partially from the production method used to make each wine.
Prosecco is now by far the best-selling sparkling wine globally, far outstripping the sales of champagne and cava. In our view, and we would say this wouldn't we, the complexity and flavours inherent in a good cava are generally superior to those in prosecco.What do you eat when you drink Prosecco? ›
It tends to be a bit sweeter than Champagne and pairs well with seafood, savory cheeses, cured meats and fruits. Try it with a sweet-and-salty appetizer like Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates! Prosecco is also delicious with Asian dishes such as Thai noodles or sushi.What juice goes best with Prosecco? ›
- Cranberry Juice.
- Pomegranate Juice.
- Orange Juice.
- Orange Liqueur.
DEMI-SEC (also known as Semi-Secco), 32 – 50 g/l residual sugar, is sweet. The sweetest Prosecco, though not commonly available. DOLCE (also known as Doux), 50+ g/l residual sugar, is very sweet.What is special about Prosecco? ›
Prosecco is a light-bodied, vibrant, fresh, highly aromatic and crisp wine. It has a medium to high amount of acidity and large, frothy bubbles. Dominant flavours typically include apple, honeysuckle, peach, melon and pear. Secondary flavours can include cream, hazelnut and tropical fruits.Is Italian Prosecco sweet or dry? ›
Prosecco wines are most commonly enjoyed in the dry or extra dry style; however, due to the sweet fruity flavors of the grape, it often tastes sweeter than it is.How can you tell if Prosecco is sweet? ›
Here is how Prosecco is labeled for sweetness: Brut 0–12 g/L RS (residual sugar) – Up to a half gram of sugar per glass. Extra Dry 12–17 g/L RS – Just over a half gram of sugar per glass. Dry 17–32 g/L RS – Up to 1 gram of sugar per glass.What is a expensive Prosecco? ›
Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG: This Prosecco region spans over 107 hectares and is divided between 140 growers. The land is considered the “Grand Cru” of Prosecco and is one of the most expensive ones in Italy (its estimated value was $1 million in 2008.)Is 2 bottles of Prosecco too much? ›
Your standard 125ml glass of Prosecco will usually contain around 1.5 units of alcohol. The recommended alcohol limit per week is 14 units - so if you drink two bottles of Prosecco a week, you'll be exceeding the recommended weekly amount of alcohol.How quickly should you drink a bottle Prosecco? ›
Prosecco should typically be consumed within 1-3 days after opening. If you're unsure whether your bottle will taste fine throughout the duration of this timeframe then we suggest playing things safe and remembering that the longer you leave it, the more likely it will be to turn.
Here's how it stacks up for a 100 person reception:
Just one glass on arrival – 15 bottles. Or a glass with top-ups for an hour or so – 48 bottles maximum (half a bottle a head).
The champagne tulip glass is perfect for serving Prosecco. Compared to the champagne flute, the tulip's wider shape helps release the wine's fragrance, while its tapered rim prevents the bubbles from escaping too much.How many glasses of Prosecco can you get from a bottle? ›
How many glasses are in a bottle of Champagne or prosecco? A standard bottle of Champagne or prosecco is 75cl (or 750ml). If you're being generous, this will give six fairly large glasses. If you're only part-filling glasses for a toast, you could stretch a bottle of Champagne or prosecco to fill eight flutes.What fruit goes with Prosecco? ›
try adding a topping of Passion Fruit and Mango sorbet to your Prosecco for a treat. Pomegranates are great to nibble on - but they're even better in a bellini. Serve the traditional way in a glass, or try our frozen take on a classic fruity cocktail. Anyone for strawberries and cream?How should you hold a bottle of Prosecco? ›
Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, making sure you keep it pointed in a safe direction, away from yourself and other people. Hold the bottom of the bottle with one hand and the cork with the other. Holding the cork firmly, use your dominant hand turn the bottle slowly towards you.Should Prosecco be stored on its side or upright? ›
Sparkling wine should be stored upright because the cork will get too moist and allow oxygen in that will make the wine too fizzy and spoiled. In both cases, and really for any wine, you want to keep them in a dark, temperature-controlled room that stays around 55 degrees or cooler.Which Prosecco has the least sugar? ›
Out of these categories, 'Brut' Proseccos contain the least amount of sugar, so you should opt for Brut when picking your bottle if you are looking to reduce your sugar intake. A Brut Prosecco is dry in taste - the driest of all Processos, in fact.What does DOCG mean Italy? ›
DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
This is the highest classification Italian wines can be awarded. DOCG are the best of Italian wines. The classification means that there are controlled production methods (controllata) and guaranteed wine quality (garantita) with each bottle.
The wine enjoys a protected geographic designation label of DOC, short for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or “controlled designation of origin.” Named after the former village of Prosecco, now part of the Italian city of Trieste, Prosecco DOC is exclusively produced in a limited area of northeastern Italy.Which is sweeter Prosecco or brut? ›
As we have mentioned before, a lot of people would be surprised to hear that Extra Dry Prosecco is actually much sweeter than the Brut. It's not hard to pick between those two types. Most of the time it depends on the taste of persons who would like to avoid sugar in their Prosecco, Champagne or Sparkling Wine choice.
they're from different locations: Champagne is from France, Prosecco is from Italy; they use different grape varieties: Champagne uses Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Prosecco used the Glera grape; they use different methods for getting the bubbles into the sparkling wine.Is Prosecco considered wine or Champagne? ›
Wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France, whereas Prosecco is a sparkling wine mostly made in the Veneto region, Italy. Therefore, the simple difference is Champagne growers consider Champagne a “wine of place” that cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world.Is drinking Prosecco healthy? ›
Prosecco contains polyphenols, which are plant chemicals loaded with antioxidant properties. These polyphenols assist in lowering blood pressure and improving circulation, which lowers your risk of stroke and strengthens the health of your heart.Is Prosecco healthier than wine? ›
For those looking to lose a few pounds, Prosecco is very much the way to go compared to regular wines because it's lower in sugar and calories.Can you drink Prosecco by itself? ›
As it's only moderate in alcohol volume, served straight, you could drink Prosecco all day! It works beautifully with food however so beyond pre-dinner nibbles, try it with oysters or a more substantial grazing platter for entrée.Whats more expensive prosecco or cava? ›
We're often asked why Cava, generally, is more expensive than Prosecco and how they differ as wines. Comparing Cava and Prosecco is like comparing apples and pears: not only are they made from completely different grape varieties, the way in which they are made is also distinct.Which is healthier beer or prosecco? ›
Scientists say beer has more nutrients and vitamins than wine or spirits. "There's a reason people call it liquid bread," says researcher Charlie Bamforth.What's the difference between Prosecco Champagne and cava? ›
Different aging time is essential for each of them: champagne requires the longest aging time to gain the best flavor and texture, which is about 15 months; prosecco wine doesn't need as much time for the aging process since the drink uses very little sugar. Cava needs about nine months of aging.How do Italians serve Prosecco? ›
Swap the glass flute for a large wine glass
Though flutes are the go-to way to drink Prosecco outside Italy, if you ever find yourself in Venice or Milan, chances are you'll be served your fizz in a large wine glass.
Prosecco should be served ice cold. It can be served on its own as an apéritif or digestif, but is also a popular component of cocktails including the spritz, the mimosa (made with prosecco and orange juice), and the bellini (made with prosecco and white peach purée).
- Oysters and crudités. ...
- Savory pies with vegetables and smoked cheeses. ...
- Pasta stuffed with mushrooms, truffle risotto. ...
- Panzerotti with salumi or fried canapés. ...
- Fresh, rich salads like niçoise, rice salad, or caprese.
Depending on how you store your Prosecco, it can last for years. Prosecco that hasn't been opened, and stored in the correct way, can last for up to two years. However, Prosecco that has been opened may start to taste poor after a couple of days - but again, this depends on how you store it.Why do you put fruit in Prosecco? ›
It's used to make sparkling wines that are light-bodied, crisp and off-dry. These wines mix nicely with liqueurs and fruit to create refreshing, sparkling cocktails that complement lighter fare. Serve one or more of these inspired flavor combinations the next time you entertain for brunch or lunch.How do you sweeten Prosecco? ›
Sweetened Grapefruit Prosecco
Add a fruity punch to your Prosecco by adding grapefruit - sort of like a prosecco grapefruit mimosa. Juice the grapefruits and then mix with the chilled Prosecco in a large jug. Stir in your favourite sweetener (add according to taste, trying it as you go).
Despite its name, Extra-Dry Champagne (also known as Extra Sec) is actually sweeter than Brut because it contains more sugar. In fact, Extra-Dry Champagne can contain as much as 5 grams more sugar per 5-ounce serving than Brut.Which is sweeter between Prosecco or Asti? ›
If you're looking for an Italian alternative that tastes similarly to Champagne, Prosecco is the way to go, as opposed to the much sweeter Italian Asti or Italian Moscato d'Asti wines.Is Prosecco better than brut champagne? ›
With regard to flavor, prosecco tends to be much more fresh and bright. While many Champagnes often have fresh fruit flavors, too, these wines tend to have more complex flavor profiles and also show notes of toast, baking spice, and cream, which develop during their longer aging times.What is the Prosecco served by Olive Garden? ›
Zonin NV Olive Garden Brut (Prosecco del Veneto)Which is best Prosecco or cava? ›
Prosecco is now by far the best-selling sparkling wine globally, far outstripping the sales of champagne and cava. In our view, and we would say this wouldn't we, the complexity and flavours inherent in a good cava are generally superior to those in prosecco.How many types of Prosecco are there? ›
You may be surprised to discover that Prosecco is available in 6 different sweetness levels, from the fairly new classification (for Prosecco) of Brut Nature, the driest, to the sweetest style Demi-Sec.
When it comes to both Champagne and Prosecco, the term “brut” means that the wine is very dry — or, in other words, that there is very little sugar left in the wine. It's the kind of sparkling wine that makes your mouth water.What does DOCG mean on Prosecco? ›
With the creation of the new designation (DOCG means designation of controlled and guaranteed origin while DOC stands simply for designation of controlled origin, without the guarantee), the production area for top Prosecco was limited to the provinces of Valdobbiadene (the most famous), Conegliano (the historic center ...What food goes with Prosecco? ›
It tends to be a bit sweeter than Champagne and pairs well with seafood, savory cheeses, cured meats and fruits. Try it with a sweet-and-salty appetizer like Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates! Prosecco is also delicious with Asian dishes such as Thai noodles or sushi.What snacks to serve with Prosecco? ›
Go for canapes that are rich in umami flavour, such as mini quiches, frittatas, sushi or prosciutto on toast, and if you're keen to include some green, rocket is the perfect palate-cleansing choice. Keep hunger at bay until dinner with a selection of roasted nuts and popcorn.What is difference between cava and Prosecco? ›
Prosecco tends to be lighter; very fresh, super-fragrant, typically fruity and flowery. Cava has more citrus notes and hints of pear or quince, but more savory, mineral flavors and less fruity sweetness.Whats more expensive Prosecco or cava? ›
We're often asked why Cava, generally, is more expensive than Prosecco and how they differ as wines. Comparing Cava and Prosecco is like comparing apples and pears: not only are they made from completely different grape varieties, the way in which they are made is also distinct.