When people think of Italian sparkling wines they immediately think of Prosecco, a fruity, frizzy wine from the Veneto made with the prosecco grape. This wine has made a real splash in the United States but is absolutely not the only game in town.
Franciacorta, a region near the Lombard city of Brescia, is a very well known wine in Italy and has made some headway in the United States as well. Franciacorta is made using the traditional champagne method which calls for secondary fermentation in the bottle.
Prosecco on the other hand is made using the charmant method where secondary fermentation takes place in a tank. Franciacorta wines are available in the United States and a number of producers are now imported by a company called Franciacorta.
Sparkling wines are also made in the province of Trento in the Trentino region. One winery stands out, Ferrari, which makes fabulous wines using the traditional champagne method.
Many other areas of Italy are also building their sparkling wine portfolios whether it be Abruzzo with sparklers made from pecorino, a local variety or Le Marche with sparkling wines made from the local grape passerina. Sergio Mottura, a well known producer from the Lazio region is making a wonderful sparkling wine from Grechetto.
Italy offers both white and red sparkling wines. Lambrusco, of course, is very well known in the United States and Gragnano, a wine from the Campania region is also creating a buzz here as the perfect wine to drink while eating pizza.
Sparkling wines can be dry or sweet. Moscato d’Asti is probably the most famous sweet sparkling wine from Italy. Also in the sweet camp, are Brachetto d’Acqui and Birbet, both from the Piedmont region in the North of Italy.
And the list goes on…Sparkling wines can be great as an aperitivo or to drink with the entire meal. Contrary to what many people grew up pairing, dry sparkling wines do not go with dessert. For a dessert, a moscato d’asti or a brachetto are a perfect match.