France may have a hold on champagne, but Italy has just as much to offer in the way of sparkling wines. These less expensive, yet still high quality wines are beginning to become to go-to alternative to champagne. Italy is leading the sparkling wine revolution with several unique styles all their own.
Sparkling Red Wine
Lambrusco is Italy’s well-known style of red sparkling wine. In fact, it’s one of the most consumed types of sweet red wine in the world. Lambrusco is derived from the grape of the same name, in the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy.
Lambrusco grapes aren’t overly sweet, however shortening the fermentation process can yield a sweet version of the wine, which is how it was traditionally made. Today there are a variety of Lambruscos from secco (dry) to dolce (sweet).
The best Lambrusco sparkling red wines are frizzante (slightly sparkling), frothy and young.
Prosecco wine is a uniquely Italian product derived from Glera, or Prosecco, grapes. Veneto and Friuli–Venezia Giulia are the Italian wine regions best known for the production of Prosecco.
This type of wine is produced using the Charmat method, which allows for steel tanks to be used in the second fermentation. In the end, Proseccos can either be Spumante, fully sparkling, or Frizzante, lightly sparkling.
The best Prosecco wines will be Spumantes that have underwent a complete secondary fermentation. Other characteristics to look for to find the best Prosecco wine include freshness, significant sweetness and dry or extra dry labeling.
Franciacorta is a small wine-producing
area in Lombardy, northern Italy. It is famous for its high-quality
sparkling wines, which are made very much in the image of Champagne. The
Franciacorta wine region is located in the Brescia province, in the
hills immediately south-east of the foot of Lake Iseo. Roughly square in
shape, it stretches eastwards for 15 miles (25km) from the Oglio River
(which flows out from the lake) until reaching the Mella River valley
and the western suburbs of Brescia city.
Although relatively unknown in global terms, Franciacorta is
widely regarded as Italys finest sparkling wine. Due respect is still
paid to the traditional and better-known classics Moscato d Asti and
Prosecco, but these lighter-hearted styles are aimed at straightforward
enjoyment rather than complexity or finesse.
Franciacorta, Lombardy as a high-quality sparkling wine made in the
Methode Champenoise from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (with limited amounts
of Pinot Blanc), Franciacorta is clearly Italys answer to Champagne.
wine comes in both non-vintage and vintage forms, and the standard
white is complemented by a rose version (for which the base wine must be
at least 25% Pinot Noir). Tasting notes for Franciacorta Brut wines
sound remarkably like those of their Champagne equivalents, with
frequent references to biscuit, brioche, lemon and lees.