Curious about Italian sparkling wine and the best ones to buy?
Champagne and Cava may be the first ones to come to your mind when it comes to a glass of bubbly.
But there’s a whole range of delectable Italian sparkling wines waiting to be explored too - from the classic Prosecco and Franciacorta to the refreshing Lambrusco!
This article explores everything about Italian Sparkling Wines - how they’re made, how they taste, and the best Italian Sparkling wines in 2021.
Also, you’ll find out the easiest way to buy them!
This Article Contains
- Where is Italian Sparkling Wine Made?
- How is Italian Sparkling Wine Made?
- What’s the Difference Between Spumante and Frizzante?
- Major Italian Sparkling Wine Styles
- Food Pairing with Italian Sparkling Wine
- Best Italian Spathirteenrkling Wines in 2020 (Including Prices)
- 1991 Bellavista Riserva Vittorio Moretti Extra Brut, Franciacorta DOCG
- 2000 Aneri Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG
- 2005 Monte Rossa 'Cabochon' Rose Brut, Franciacorta DOCG
- 2004 La Scolca Soldati D'Antan Spumante Brut Millesimato
- 2003 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi Rose, Franciacorta DOCG
- 2007 Coppo 'Piero Coppo' Riserva del Fondatore Spumante
- 2017 Uberti Dequinque Cuvee 10 Vendemmie Extra Brut, Franciacorta DOCG
- 2010 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi, Franciacorta DOCG
- 1971 Marchesi di Barolo Gatij, Brachetto d'Acqui DOCG
- 2005 Lini 910 In Correggio Rosso Metodo Classico Millesimato
Where is Italian Sparkling Wine Made?
Sparkling wines are produced all over Italy - from Piedmont in the North to Sicily in the South. These Italian sparkling wine regions can be divided into three main zones:
How is Italian Sparkling Wine Made?
Typically, the method used for the production of Champagne in the Champagne region of France is known as Methode Champenoise. The secondary fermentation is done using the Metodo Classico method or “the traditional method.”
In the Metodo Classico method, the second fermentation of the base wine takes place in the bottle. Yeast and sugar are added during bottling, and that triggers the fermentation process. The yeast eats up the sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide, which imparts bubbles in the wine.
But, unlike Champagne, most of the Italian sparkling wine production uses the Charmat method. (Only Franciacorta wine is made using Methode Champenoise.)
What is the Charmat Method?
In the Charmat method, the secondary fermentation takes place in pressurized stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, the wine is cooled, clarified (lees removed), and bottled under pressure.
Now, you must’ve come across the terms “frizzante” and “spumante.”
What are they? How are they different from each other?
What’s the Difference Between Spumante and Frizzante?
Both Frizzante and Spumante are used to describe the level of the effervescence of a sparkler.
So, how are they different?
The difference lies in the pressure at which the sparkling wine is bottled.
- Franciacorta and other Spumante or “fully sparkling wines” are bottled under 5 to 6 atmospheres of pressure.
- Frizzante or “semi-sparkling wines” like Prosecco are bottled under 1 to 2.5 atmospheres of pressure. They have lesser fizz than spumante wines.
Italy has developed its own unique styles of sparkling wine. Let’s explore the top 10.
Major Italian Sparkling Wine Styles
Take a wine tour with 10 of Italy’s sparkling wines produced in different parts of the country. Here’s everything about them - from their grape varieties to their taste and characteristics.
Also read: Explore the best sparkling wines from all over the world!
Prosecco is a sparkling white wine made from Glera grapes through the Charmat method. It is mostly produced in Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Veneto region of Italy.
Prosecco wine can be brut - extra dry and dry. The Glera grape variety gives the wine green apple, melon, pear, honeysuckle, and cream flavors, with fruit and floral aromas.
Unlike other Italian sparklers, Franciacorta wine is made using the Champagne method or ‘Metodo Classico’. Franciacorta is a DOCG wine produced in the Lombardy region.
Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc), and Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) are the three grape varieties used in these sparkling wines.
Based on the blend, these wines are classified into:
- Franciacorta Satèn: A blanc de blancs (white from white) Champagne équivalent, it is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco Grapes.
- Franciacorta Rose: It is a rose sparkling wine made from at least 25% Pinot Nero grapes.
Franciacorta is slightly similar to French Champagne in taste. Some of its primary flavors are citrus, dried fruits, and toasty notes of brioche.
Other than Franciacorta, Lombardy also produces delicious Oltrepo Pavese sparkling wines.
3. Asti Spumante
Asti Spumante is a sparkling wine made from Moscato Bianco grape variety (Muscat Blanc). It is produced in the Asti and Alba provinces of the Piedmont region.
Moscato grape gives Asti Spumante a buttery texture and rich and fruity aromas of peach and apricots, accompanied by the sweet notes of candy and jasmine flowers.
The Piedmont region also produces a semi-sparkling version of this wine - Moscato d’Asti. Unlike spumante, Moscato d’Asti is more aromatic and less alcoholic.
Also read: Explore the world of Moscato Wines in this detailed article.
If you’re looking for sparkling wine for your Thanksgiving dinner, Lambrusco is the way to go!
A sparkling red wine from the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, Lambrusco can be made from either the Metodo Classico or the Charmat method. It can be a dry (secco), semi-sweet (semisecco), or sweet wine (dulce).
There are five major Lambrusco DOCs:
- Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
- Lambrusco Reggiano
- Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce
- Lambrusco di Sorbara
- Lambrusco Mantovano
Lambrusco is known for its fruity and floral aromas. The dominant notes include cherry, blackberry, strawberries, orange blossoms, rhubarb, and violet.
Read more: Store your sparklers the right way - here’s how to design a perfect wine cellar!
5. Trento DOC
Trento or Trentino is an Italian wine appellation known for its white and rosé sparkling wines. They’re made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Nero grapes.
Trento DOC winemakers use ‘Metodo Classico’ for the production of the wine.
Based on the aging period, there are three Trento DOC styles:
- Brut: at least 15 months
- Millesimato: minimum of 24 months
- Riserva: at least 36 months
Like Cava, Trento DOC wines have crisp acidity and a slight minerality with savory fruit and floral notes. The dominant notes include apricot, tropical fruit, nuts, and vanilla.
6. Greco di Tufo Spumante
This sparkling wine is made from the Greco grapes grown in Campania.
This wine is made from the traditional Champagne method (Methode Champenoise) and is aged for at least 3 years.
It is characterized by its straw yellow color and intense herbaceous and fruity notes. The dominant flavors include apples, jasmine, thyme, and sage.
7. Alta Langa
Alta Langa, the first Metodo Classico sparkling wine of Italy, hails from the Piedmont region.
It is made from two key grapes - Pinot Nero and Chardonnay. They can either be blended or produced as varietals. This gives rise to two wine styles:
- Alta Langa Bianco: A white sparkling wine made from 90%-100% Chardonnay grapes, it is known for its fruity and complex nose with hints of bread crumb vanilla.
- Alta Langa Rose: Predominantly a Pinot Nero wine, it is described by its powder pink color and grapefruit and spicy notes.
Alta Langa sparkling wines have to age on lees for at least 30 months.
8. Brachetto d’Acqui
Another sparkler made from the traditional method, Brachetto d’Acqui is a lightly sparkling red wine produced in the Acqui Terme province of Piedmont.
A slightly sweet and highly acidic red wine, Brachetto d’Acqui is admired for its intensely fruity flavors of red fruits. Its bright acidity and creamy texture give it a refreshing complexity on the palate.
The best known Nebbiolo wines are the robust, delicious Barolos and Barbarescos. But this noble grape of Italy is also the secret behind some of the most refreshing red sparkling wines.
These 100% Nebbiolo sparkling wines are made using the ‘Metodo Classico’ in Piedmont, Langhe, and Aosta Valley - three major Italian wine regions.
Nebbiolo sparkling wines are light and fruity. It has raspberry and wild berry flavors with vanilla and toasted bread hints.
Also read: Counting calories? Here’s a comprehensive guide to estimate calories in your glass of red wine!
Durella (Durello) is a white wine grape grown in the Veneto region of Italy. These grapes are naturally high in acidity.
Durella wines can be produced by both - the traditional method (Riserva wines) or the Charmat method (Lessini Durello).
These sparkling wines are admired for their crunchy fruit flavors and refreshing acidity.
Food Pairing with Italian Sparkling Wine
Italian sparkling wines go with a wide range of dishes.
But, to get the best of their flavors, pair your Italian sparkler with cured meat and seafood. You can also pair your sweet Brachetto with delectable chocolate desserts.
Want to pair your wine with cheese? Here’s a quick guide.
- Soft cheese like Brie goes best with dry sparkling wines like Prosecco and dry Lambrusco.
- Pair a hard cheese like Gruyere with a creamy and nutty wine like Franciacorta, Asti Spumante, and Trento DOC.
Also read: Find the right glass to serve your sparkling wine.
Best Italian Sparkling Wines in 2021 (Including Prices)
Here are our favorite sparkling wines from Italy.
1. 1991 Bellavista Riserva Vittorio Moretti Extra Brut, Franciacorta DOCG
A Franciacorta sparkling wine, this 1991 vintage by Bellavista is produced with 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Nero grapes. With 12% alcohol content, this wine is perfect for every occasion.
Price of 1991 Bellavista Riserva Vittorio Moretti Extra Brut, Franciacorta DOCG: $388
2. 2000 Aneri Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG
This 2000 vintage is produced in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene wine region of Veneto. The Glera (or Prosecco grape) gives this wine fresh and youthful flavors making it a perfect aperitif.
Price of 2000 Aneri Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG: $185
3. 2005 Monte Rossa 'Cabochon' Rose Brut, Franciacorta DOCG
Another Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend, this 2005 vintage is produced by Monte Rossa winery. This brut rose wine showcases classic Franciacorta flavors of tropical fruits and vanilla.
Price of 2005 Monte Rossa 'Cabochon' Rose Brut, Franciacorta DOCG: $176
4. 2004 La Scolca Soldati D'Antan Spumante Brut Millesimato
This sparkling wine from Piedmont is 100% Cortese. With a refreshing acidity, this wine is best served at a festive Christmas dinner.
Price of 2004 La Scolca Soldati D'Antan Spumante Brut Millesimato: $152
5. 2003 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi Rose, Franciacorta DOCG
This elegant and smooth Rose gives off beautiful rose and sesame aromas. This complex and traditional sparkling wine is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir grape varieties.
Price of 2003 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi Rose, Franciacorta DOCG: $173
6. 2007 Coppo 'Piero Coppo' Riserva del Fondatore Spumante
A rare sparkling wine from Piedmont, this 2007 vintage by Coppo is refreshing and youthful. The wine is made from 60% Pinot Nero and 40% Chardonnay grapes.
Price of 2007 Coppo 'Piero Coppo' Riserva del Fondatore Spumante: $94
7. 2017 Uberti Dequinque Cuvee 10 Vendemmie Extra Brut, Franciacorta DOCG
DeQuinque is a Chardonnay-only wine made by Uberti using grapes of 30-year-old vines. This elegant and creamy sparkling wine is fermented in wood and aged for at least 70 months on the lees.
Price of 2017 Uberti Dequinque Cuvee 10 Vendemmie Extra Brut, Franciacorta DOCG: $112
8. 2010 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi, Franciacorta DOCG
2010 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi is a complex and traditional wine made from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Nero grapes. The wine has prominent yeast notes that leave a lasting finish on the palate.
Price of 2010 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi, Franciacorta DOCG: $104
9. 1971 Marchesi di Barolo Gatij, Brachetto d'Acqui DOCG
A delectable vintage by Marchesi di Barolo, this sweet sparkling wine is perfect for kicking off the holiday spirit!
The red fruit flavors and earthy notes of this Brachetto grape wine make it a great companion with savory desserts. Also, the creamy palate leaves a sweet lasting taste.
Price of 1971 Marchesi di Barolo Gatij, Brachetto d'Acqui DOCG: $62
10. 2005 Lini 910 In Correggio Rosso Metodo Classico Millesimato
A sparkling wine from the Emilia-Romagna wine region, this 2005 vintage is made from the traditional winemaking method.
The wine displays a beautiful red color with a bubbly appearance. The nose is powerful with fruity aromas. On the palate, it leaves an aftertaste of sour cherry.
Price of 2005 Lini 910 In Correggio Rosso Metodo Classico Millesimato: $41
Now, all of these bottles are great for uncorking on a festive occasion!
But, are these delectable sparklers worth investing in for the long term?
Do Italian Sparkling Wines Age Well?
Most Italian sparkling wines (like Prosecco and Asti Spumante) are meant to be drunk early and do not make a great addition to your cellar. Only very few of them (Metodo Classico wines) can age beautifully for years.
But, when it comes to collecting wine as a profitable investment, there are several other Italian and other wines you could target! Take the red Super Tuscans like Tignanello and Solaia for example - they can easily age for 20 years (and more.)
And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
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Add a Master Piece to Your Collection
Italian sparkling wines add a sparkle to every celebration - be it a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal or a romantic Valentine’s dinner.
If you’re looking for long-term investing, you can go far beyond Italian sparkling wines. Italy, for instance, has a whole world of red and white wines you could invest in.
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