Buying Imported Prosecco in Ontario
Importing Prosecco in Ontario—What is Involved?There is no doubt that Prosecco is the most popular sparkling wine in Italy but now it is also the #1 bubbly exported around the world. In Ontario, we import and consume our fair share of Prosecco. The availability is very good, and the selection is quite diverse. Let’s understand the promise of Prosecco and discover a best value prosecco imported in Ontario.
What Distinguishes Prosecco from other Sparkling Wines?
The type of grape, Glera, and method of production, Charmat, used in making Prosecco allows for a fruit forward style of wine produced to be consumed soon after bottling. Prosecco showcases clean primary aromas of the grape, contains residual sugar typically between 9-15g/L and is balanced by the high levels of acidity. Brut is the most popular style of Prosecco and it contains under 12g/L of residual sugar.
- Prosecco is sparkling wine that originates from the Valdobbiadene Region of Northern Italy, informally called the “Prosecco Zone”.
- It is made entirely from the Glera grape variety.
- It is vinified using the Charmat Method of producing sparkling wine.
What Pairs Well with Prosecco?
Prosecco is an ideal aperitif, given its mouth-watering fruitiness and slightly sweet nature, and it is also versatile in food pairing. From light appetizers to charcuterie, to sushi and spicy Caribbean inspired dishes, Prosecco compliments them all.
Finding Quality Prosecco in OntarioThe number one rule when looking for a good quality Prosecco (or any other type of wine for that matter) is to buy from a reputable producer. When importing Prosecco in Ontario, look for a wine made by an actual winery rather than a virtual brand created by a large bottler. In wine production, product integrity begins with having control of how the fruit is grown and harvested. There are producers that do not own their own vineyards or grow their own grapes. Instead, they buy pressed juice, or already fermented wine, to bottle. In this case, the producer has no guarantee of the quality of base product being acquired which can require manipulation to achieve the desired quality of finished Prosecco. Virtual Prosecco brands can often be identified because the brand also exists on different types of wines from other regions, or even other types of alcohol products. Similarly, many of the Prosecco brands you will find imported into Ontario were created specifically for the export market and do not exist in Italy. In Ontario, virtual brands dominate the retail store options. To find the grower-made Proseccos, look in Vintages and, to the more consistently supplied, Private Wine Importers.
Tip: When you find a Prosecco you enjoy, you can do your research online and learn about the producer behind the brand. A company that takes pride and shares the history of their vineyards and farming practices and grows its own grapes is a good sign. The steep, hand harvested hillside vineyards produce the best quality fruit.
The Quality Categories of Prosecco
This is the most common quality level of Prosecco and is dominated by the large volume producers. This classification covers nine provinces in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia region. The majority of this area is flat and harvested by machine. Importing Prosecco DOC in Ontario will usually be at a price point of $12 to $25 per bottle.
- Prosecco DOC
Grapes blended from these hillside vineyards located in the specific areas between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, or Asolo. These regions produce good quality Prosecco and, generally speaking, are from smaller, quality focused producers. Compared to Prosecco DOC, you will encounter more hits than misses when exploring these wines. Prosecco Superiore DOCG are typically priced from $20 to $35 per bottle in Ontario.
- Prosecco Superiore DOCG
These are specific wines made from hillside commune vineyards in the Congeliano Valdobbiadene area. This category includes 43 eligible communes, or vineyard sites. This is very high-quality vintage Prosecco normally priced above $30 per bottle in Ontario. These wines are not commonly found in stores and more easily accessible by private ordering through a Wine Importer or Agent.
- Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive DOCG
Cartizze is the name of the hillside that produces the most prestigious vintage Proseccos, and these wines garner the highest Prosecco prices. They are very concentrated and can have higher residual sugar levels that balance them. Expect to pay grower Champagne prices, starting around $40 per bottle, to enjoy Cartizze in Ontario. Know your producer and contact the Import Agent to place your order but be prepared that it is often a custom order, and you may have to wait for your favourite Cartizze to arrive!
- Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG
Recommended Producer: BISOL 1542
The Bisol family has been producing Prosecco since 1542. The knowledge of the territory and the experience from refining the production process over eight generations, is unparalleled in the industry. In addition, the family has continued to acquire vineyard holdings and is now the largest Vineyard-Owner-Producer in the region. Knowledge and control of the fruit that produces their wines are the foundation of their fine quality.
Best Value Prosecco: Belstar Prosecco Brut
The Prosecco we import in Ontario from Bisol 1542 are Belstar Prosecco Brut DOC and Belstar Rose Extra-Dry. Translated from the local dialect, Belstar means, a beautiful place to be. (Bel, meaning ‘beautiful’, and Star, meaning ‘to be’). Belstar Prosecco is grown on hillside vineyards in the DOC zone and offers expressive, balanced fruit that is grown with minimal intervention and harvested by hand. These wines are crafted with the production knowledge the Bisol family has developed crafting exceptional Cartizze and Superiore Proseccos for generations. Consider these wines the best value Proseccos imported in Ontario based on the quality of expression, elegance and clean, precise finish for under $20.00 per bottle.