Italy has long been known for producing excellent bubbly wines that go largely unrecognized, and this should change. These delectable beverages truly deserve recognition.
Prosecco from Veneto and Lambrusco from Emilia-Romagna may be among the more well-known styles, but there is much more to explore!
Franciacorta wines from Lake Iseo in Lombardy stand among the premier Italian sparkling wines, distinguished by their elegant, complex structures and distinctive mineral character that arises due to geological activity.
While most Italian sparkling wines are produced using the Charmat method, a smaller percentage of Franciacorta wines are produced using traditional methods (metodo classico). This produces wines with greater depth and complexity that showcase aromas such as bread crust and brioche from its maturation on yeasts.
Cartizze and Riserva wines must be aged for at least 67 months before release, offering impressive depths of fruit. These refined wines contain notes of melons, white flowers and lemon that give these wines their elegance and refinement. In addition to brut versions there are saeti (extra dry) satini (silky) versions as well as Frizzante-style wines which all represent incredible values.
Alta Langa stands out in an otherwise red wine-dominated region for its minerality and vibrancy, featuring aromas such as lemon zest, wild herbs, baked apples and brioche.
Alta Langa's metodo classico wine is an exciting newcomer on the scene; made of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes aged for at least 30 months on lees before bottling as a DOC. Although not as well-known as Franciacorta or Trentodoc DOCs, Alta Langa stands out with an exciting metodo classico blend that promises much!
Establish in 1990, this consortium comprises 142 vineyards that specialize in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties. All wines must be produced within a single vintage, be either brut or pas dose, and aged on lees for at least 30 months before release into commerce.
Piedmont produces one of Italy's most distinctive sparkling wines and it serves as an expression of its unique terroir. These wines pair wonderfully with shellfish, fish and traditional Piedmontese dishes; additionally they make a wonderful aperitif!
Prosecco's success has opened many eyes to Italy's potential in producing quality bottle fermented sparkling wines. But in Trento alone, an up and coming winery is producing products which rival those found in Champagne or Franciacorta.
Giulio Ferrari founded the Istituto Trento Doc in 1984 with a goal to promote and protect this distinct style of sparkling wine. Under third generation Lunelli family management today, Ferrari stands as a premier producer offering Metodo Classico bubblies that celebrate mountainous terrain.
Vineyards at various altitudes make these Alpine valley wines highly complex, elegant, and refreshing. Soil conditions include limestone, granite, sand and clay that contribute depth of flavor as well as bracing acidity; their traditional method (Metodo Classico in Italy) as well as extended time on lees give these wines their signature style.
Lambrusco comes in many styles, from dry to sweet. Lighter and crispier wines such as Lambrusco work well when enjoyed alone or alongside pizza and cured meats; additionally it pairs nicely with fruit-laden desserts such as cherry pie.
Lambrusco wine's sweetness level depends on both its type and its grape source; there are dry wines known as secco, while sweeter wines known as dolce.
Emilia-Romagna is home to some of the finest Lambrusco in Italy, made using either Charmat or metodo classico methods with individual bottle fermentation. Grape varieties for making Lambrusco include Sorbara, Salamino di Santa Croce and Grasparossa; these grapes can then be blended together for off-dry or semi-sweet sparkling wines with crisp acidity and light tannins, ideal for pairing with cheeses, meats or pasta dishes.