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Best Prosecco and sparkling wine 2019

By Christina Woodger

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Fancy a change from champagne? Discover which fizzy wine topped our taste test of prosecco and other sparkling wines

Prosecco can be a delicious, great-value alternative to champagne, but it's not your only option. To find out what's the best champagne alternative this year, we tried out a mixture of sparkling wines for the December 2018 edition of Which? magazine. 

We asked supermarkets to nominate a vintage or non-vintage champagne alternative, either own-label or exclusive to them. It had to be brut (dry), white, from any grape or blend, and priced between £7.50 and £20.

In this article:

Best prosecco and sparkling wines 

Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results and tasting notes in the table below.

If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the prosecco and sparkling wine on test. To get instant access, join Which?.

Aldi Lot Series Folletto D’oro Prosecco DOCG
 Aldi Lot Series Prosecco LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£10 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Aldi claims that its budget-priced prosecco is 'supple, full bodied and rich on the palate', but did our expert tasting panel agree?

To see how this prosecco compares to the other drinks in our selection, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Asda Extra Special Prosecco Asolo Brut DOCG
 Asda Extra Special Prosecco Brut DOCG LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£8 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This sub-£10 prosecco from Asda is described by the supermarket chain as 'fragrant and fruity with crisp green apples and a silky mousse'. That sounds like a tasty tipple, but do we recommend this bottle after trying it for ourselves?

To discover how this bottle of prosecco fared in our taste test, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Co-op Irresistible Prosecco
 Co op ProseccoDenominazionDiOrigine LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£8 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

You might be considering this prosecco if you're hosting a party on a budget. Made from glera grapes, Co-op describes the drink as 'a firm favourite'.

Is this drink really 'irresistible'? To see how we scored it, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Lidl Prosecco Conegliano
 Lidl Prosecco Conegliano LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£8 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

From Veneto in northeast Italy comes Lidl's own-brand bottle of prosecco. It's one of the cheapest options we've tasted, so it might be on your radar if you want to keep costs low. 

Should you reach for this prosecco on your next supermarket trip? For more details, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

M&S Le Caves de Hautes Cotes Crémant de Bourgogne
 M&S Le Caves De Hautes Cotes Cremant de Bourgogne NV LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£12 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

M&S suggests you pair its sparkling wine, which is sourced from Burgundy, with canapes, smoked salmon and goats cheese.

To see whether or not we recommend this bottle of sparkling wine, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Morrisons Denbies Chalk Valley English Sparkling Brut NV
 Morrisons Denbies Chalk Valley English Sparkling Brut NV LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£16 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This English sparkling wine is battling against the other prosecco bottles in our table for a spot in your drinks cabinet. It's described on the Morrisons website as 'crisp, dry and refreshing'.

As the priciest bottle in our table, is the price justified? To find out more, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire
 SainsburysCremantDeLoire LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£11 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Sainsbury's is confident that its sparkling wine, labelled 'rich on the palate with a zesty apple freshness', is a real treat for the taste buds.

Should you buy this sparkling wine from Sainsbury's without hesitation? For all the details, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Tesco Finest Franciacorta DOCG Brut
 Tesco Finest Franciacorta DOCG Brut LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£15 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This sparkling Franciacorta is 'brimming with ripe fruit' and and 'bright citrus flavours' according to the Tesco website, but did we pick up on the same tones when it came to tasting? 

To see how this drink compares to similarly priced rivals, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Waitrose Cava Brut, Castillo Perelada NV Spain
 Waitrose Cava Brut LO table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£10 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Made in partnership with Cava producers in the North East of Spain, this bottle from Waitrose is aimed at buyers on a budget.

Did this fizz impress us enough to earn Best Buy status? Find out and join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

 

Different sparkling wines explained 

Champagne can only be made in a specified region of north-east France, and almost always from a blend of three grapes: pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier. The bubbles come from a second small alcoholic fermentation carried out inside the bottle. The CO2 formed can’t escape and so it dissolves into the wine – so when the bottle is opened, the wine sparkles.

Most champagne is dry and best served after a few hours in the fridge. 

Cava, from Spain, is made in the same way as champagne, undergoing secondary fermentation in the bottle. It's usually made from three Catalan grapes: macabeo, xarel-lo and parellada, although some of the large cava producers have started to use chardonnay and pinot noir as well.  

The grapes mostly come from near Barcelona, much further towards the sunny south than the Champagne region. They ripen more, so cava is lower in acidity than champagne (and often cheaper).

Prosecco is usually slightly sweet or ‘off-dry’, light and delicate, and characterised by citrus and apple notes. 

Most people know that 'champagne' is a protected appellation, but did you know that 'prosecco' is too? Any other sparkling wines made from glera grapes (formerly called prosecco), but from outside the Italian designation of origin for prosecco, can’t use the word ‘prosecco’ on the label. Unlike many other fizzes, prosecco completes its secondary fermentation in a pressurised stainless-steel tank.

Generally, prosecco is similarly priced to cava and cheaper than champagne.

Franciacorta is made from grapes from Franciacorta in Lombardy. It's drier than prosecco, but fruitier and softer than champagne, and it has distinctive lemony notes.

Crémant is sparkling wine that's made in the same way as champagne (with secondary fermentation) but it can come from other regions in France. Crémants may be made with a variety of grape varieties, other than the traditional champagne combination, but grapes must be manually harvested. They must also be whole-bunch pressed, and aged for a minimum of nine months. Our expert panel recommended crémant as an alternative to prosecco or cava.

Alcohol-free or low-alcohol sparkling wine could make a good alternative to the boozy options above. This used to be relatively rare, but availability is increasing - supermarkets such as Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose will often stock an alcohol-free or alcohol-low option

How much sugar's in your wine 

Strict rules govern how sparkling wine and champagne can be described when it comes to dryness and sweetness, with labels determined according to the residual sugar content per litre. Unsurprisingly, this can have a dramatic effect on the taste, so it's worth knowing your brut from your doux…

graphic showing sugar levels in Champagne

How to pour fizz properly 

Our expert panel shared some sparkling serving tips to get the best from your fizz, particularly when hosting or attending a yuletide party.

  • If you're hosting a horde for a party and serving fizz, then pour a little bit in the bottom of each glass just before guests arrive. This will stop it frothing over when you are serving it.
  • Waiting for a refill? Don’t lift your glass higher while being served bubbly – a lower glass (and tilted) makes it easier for your host to pour, so you’re likely to end up with more in your glass.

Best champagne 

Our wine experts also tasted 15 champagnes, including nine supermarket own-label and exclusive non-vintage (NV) champagnes and six top-selling big-name champagnes. All were brut (dry) and cost £35 or less. 

Head over to our best champagne round-up to find out which ones came out top. 

How we tested 

We disguised all of the bottles before they were chilled and tasted by a panel of wine experts using International Standards Organisation (ISO) wine glasses. 

Each expert tried the wines in a different order, before discussing their tasting notes and agreeing on a score for each bottle and which deserve to be Best Buys. 

Our experts were: 

Charles Metcalfe wine taster and co-chair of the International Wine Challenge (IWC)

Kathryn McWhirter wine taster, author and translator

Peter McCombie Master of Wine, speaker, consultant, co-chairman of the IWC

Richard Bampfield Master of Wine, European Champagne Ambassador 2009

Sam Caporn Master of wine, wine consultant, speaker, writer and IWC judge.

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