And a Happy New Year to you & yours!

By Rick Riozza

Certainly bubbly is one of the big choices for the big or small New Year’s party about town. For many it’s Champagne (the French stuff from the Champagne region of France that can only be called “champagne”, according to the Treaty of Versailles after World War I); others will run with all of the other “Champagne-like” quaffs, known world-wide as “Sparkling Wine”.

And then there is the new bubbly trend, where the world is now partaking and enjoying Prosecco. In the past ten years, this Italian sparkler has hit the heights. Some folks in the economist circle have claimed that this boom of this bubby greatly assisted in recovering from the 2008 fiscal meltdown. In the last five years alone, the Italian sparkling wine exports have nearly doubled, with Prosecco leading the way with 52 million cases sent over!

Now that’s a lot of cases. As your friendly neighborhood wine steward over at the Palm Springs Ralphs market, I’ve witnessed over the past year, hundreds of cases of the La Marca Prosecco brand set up as a free-standing display nearby the wine aisles.


The very popular brands of Ruffino, La Marca, Mionetto, and the like are always available at every market in town. They’re a great grab for a quick picnic, party or for appetizers. However, when you wish to enjoy some of the better stuff coming out of Italy for a nicer treat, to celebrate big events and/or to accompany romantic endeavors, well, you’ll wish to come up to speed on world class Prosecco.

Now before you roll your eyes, as one is wont to do when $500 Champagnes are suggested for your soirée, please realize that the prices for these delicious Proseccos described below are absolutely great buys at under $20

Coming in at under $15 is the NV Alberigo 1276 Prosecco DOC Extra Dry. This Prosecco delivers fresh aromas and flavors of quince, lychee and citrus zest, which all come together beautifully in this refreshing style of Prosecco. On the palate this is clean and vivid with a lovely fresh character that continues through the finish; delicious, easy going and a pleasure to drink. This is definitely a wine for those who prefer a touch sweeter wine than the “brut” sparklers out there.

Albergio’s Extra Dry cuvée has tons of character and a level of complexity that you would expect from a wine two or three times the price! Perfect as a stand-alone aperitif or served along lighter cuisine.

Moving up the complexity ladder, we really enjoyed the Tenuta Di Collalbrigo Prosecco DOC Brut ($16). Here’s a Brut Prosecco with aromas of honeysuckle and spring flowers, peach, pear, and tropical notes. Then piquant notes of wildflower, white peppercorn and drying minerals. It’s a fascinating blend of flavors; plus you’ll get a touch of chopped mint, perhaps peppermint, in the background that adds to the complexity. Fresh acidity with great bubbles and a great mouthfeel!

Now—welcome to Conegliano Valdobbiadene, located in the Veneto, between the ancient splendor of Venice and the austere beauty of the Dolomites, the foothills of the majestic Alps. Due to the beauty of its landscape, the area was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2019. A unique landscape, shaped over the centuries by winemakers with enormous passion, where its growers and producers intend to enhance and preserve for future generations.

This special terroir is the home to the best Prosecco in the world. The grape of Prosecco is the Glera grape. It is not an international grape, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Grigio; it is the local grape of this area, thus, nowhere else in the wine world will one obtain the “Prosecco” flavor that you’re tasting. Do keep in mind that the Glera grape provides generally a sweeter tone to the sparkler. If you enjoy drier bubbles—go for the brut.

Comes now: Tenuta Di Collalbrigo Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut ($20). This is world-class Prosecco at an amazing value! A DOCG superiore sparkler that sets the scene and the party.

A beautiful light straw bubbly with delightful aromas of melon, pear, peach, yellow apple, lemon, elderflowers, and floral blossoms. The flavor notes included apples, pears, nectarines, grapefruit, and quince. Prosecco fans, get ready to experience a new perspective on Prosecco!

It shouldn’t take too much effort to find these wines once you and/or your wine merchant know that they are imported by Votto Vines Importing company. Led by Chairman & CEO Mike Votto, he represents leading family-operated wine estates around the globe through its 90+ Collection. And the good news, is that this column has been granted an interview with Mike Votto next month, where we’ll certainly get some great inside info on his portfolio and the wine trade in general.

But for now, have yourself a safe & sane prosperous New Year! Cheers!