It’s the time of year all elves need a rest from packing boxes in Santa’s grotto. And so I asked them to help me select some of the best sparkling wine buys in our supermarkets this festive season.
Well they weren’t really elves, but girlies – oh and one chap who insisted on being invited. I’d asked 10 supermarkets to provide one prosecco and one champagne for this consumer test.*
I wrapped the bottles so everything was incognito and we gave the wines a pseudonym – this year they were named after James Bond girls. (Yup, we’re a bit crazy round here.) We then marked on aromas, bubbles, taste and finish. A wine could receive a maximum of 90 marks. We didn’t know which wine had won until we did the Big Reveal when all the scores were in.
Here’s the results of the Prosecco Taste Test 2018: –
The best supermarket prosecco:
Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry Prosecco (£10, Spar) This fizz absolutely romped to the head of the leaderboard. I loved this prosecco last year and I’ve enjoyed it several times since. I had no idea it was the Spar wine I was blind-tasting and I wasn’t the only girlie who gave it top marks. It has a slightly nutty nose and is alive with citrus, pear and apple. It is lovely and refreshing too with a “Kylie Minogue” sparkle (said one of my helpers).
Tasting elves say: Bubbles a go-go
Overall score: 76/90
Prosecco Taste Test 2018: 2nd – 4th place
Taste the Difference Prosecco DOCG Conegliano (Sainsbury, £10) I was so glad to see this prosecco near the top of the scoreboard. This wine is one of my must-recommends when pals ask me for prosecco tips. It was lavished with festive adoration from my tasting team. One declared it would be her choice for a night of watching Strictly. It is balanced and fruity, and the flavours of pear, apple and lychee linger softly.
Tasting elves say: Delicious, really aromatic
Overall score: 61/90
Tesco finest* Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG (£8, down from £10 until January 1) A whopping 22 marks separated the winning wine from this one, but Tesco’s prosecco still received much praise. The mousse and bubbles are determined to make a statement, staying long in the glass. There are lots of pears and apples on the nose and then apples leave the longest flavour legacy.
Tasting elves say: Grown up and mature
Overall score: 54/90
Nella Prosecco (£8, Marks & Spencer) This wine has a willowy wave of flowers on the nose, together with apples and pears. Its smells nicer than it tastes, said one of my elves. Even so they were pleasantly happy with the wine’s peachy aftertaste. I later discovered that the prosecco grape glera was joined in the bottle by a touch of chardonnay and pinot bianco. It is one for a quiet night in, not for making a statement.
Tasting elves say: Understated but pretty
Overall score: 49/90
Prosecco Taste Test 2018: 5th – 7th place
Viticoltori Organic Prosecco Extra Dry (£7.99, Lidl) This wine received a mixed reception from my curious blind tasters. One, who sensed a coffee aroma, said it had a nice depth and was easy to drink. Another declared it had decent citrus notes and good balance. One elf said simply it was “insignificant”. Pears, pears and pears was my view. I rather like the wave of organic prosecco which is hitting many of our wine shelves yet this one just missed the top marks.
Tasting elves say: Fizzy and frothy in the mouth
Overall score: 46.5/90
Morrisons The Best Prosecco Spumante (£8) Now we’re edging towards the lower scores of our prosecco picks. Morrisons’ wine tickles the tastebuds with citrus, apple and pear, but the flavours disappear quite quickly. “Not very exciting” and “a bit bland” said two of the tasters. This wine doesn’t bowl you over but is pleasant enough. I thought it had a memory of cider – but that would be the apples for you.
Tasting elves say: A party where flavour doesn’t count
Overall score: 43/90
Waitrose San Leo Prosecco Brut (£7.29 from £10.99 until January 1) Pear and lychee deliver a fruity hug in this glass of fizz, but beyond that the tasting elves weren’t impressed. The tropical fruit was a positive note. But for me those fruit notes, even though they were lovely, didn’t last very long in the mouth. The lychee aromas might edge this wine towards being a good choice for some Chinese or Thai nibbles as a party starter.
Tasting elves say: Citrussy fizz disappears quite quickly
Overall score: 41/90
Prosecco Taste Test 2018: 8th – 10th place
Prosecco Asolo Brut DOCG (£7 until January 2, Asda) Those tell-tale prosecco signs of pear, apple and a flirtation of tropical fruit are pleasing in this wine. But they weren’t pleasing enough for my elves to give it higher marks. It was “middle of the road” said one, and “inoffensive” said another. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the flavours. On the other hand, it was a very easy-drinking wine, great for a chat with girlie pals.
Tasting elves say: Subtle peach undertones
Overall score: 37/90
Prosecco Superiore DOCG (Aldi, £7.99) When you see DOCG on an Italian wine label, it indicates the wine is of superior quality. There were a handful of DOCG wines in our test, and this finished the lowest of them all. It was certainly the liveliest in my glass on the bubble factor (if that’s what makes you jolly under your festive hat). It was “bland” according to one elf, and seconded by another who said “unforgettable”. On the other hand, it was easier to drink than some.
Tasting elves say: Lovely persistent bubbles
Overall score: 35/90
Co-op Irresistible Prosecco (£8) Oh my, this blind-tasting world is so interesting! The Co-op’s prosecco has won a couple of awards but it failed to impress my girlie elf tasters. (For the second year on the trot it has finished bottom of this annual prosecco fizz festive taste test). A fair comment from one of my tasters is “good nose loaded with green apple and sweet pear”. That mirrored what I thought. However the taste is unimpressive with a touch of apple and the flavour disappears quite quickly.
Tasting elves say: Fruity aroma but bland
Overall score: 28/90
Read more about Christmas wines 2018
Christmas 2018 wines Part 1: Fresh and fruity whites
Christmas 2018 wines Part 2: Six chardonnay wines
Christmas 2018 wines Part 3: Six light, fruity, savoury, spicy reds
Christmas 2018 wines Part 4: Festive red wine to warm and hug you
*This consumer test was published in newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo –South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette –
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express