What is Italian sparkling wine not Prosecco?

Answered by Robert Dupre

Italian sparkling wine, excluding Prosecco, encompasses a diverse range of styles and flavors that are worth exploring. Let’s delve into the different types and discover the unique characteristics that set them apart.

1. Lambrusco: Originating from the Emilia-Romagna region, Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine known for its refreshing and lightly fizzy nature. It is made from various indigenous Lambrusco grape varieties, resulting in a range of styles from dry to sweet. Lambrusco wines often exhibit vibrant fruit flavors, such as blackberry, cherry, and plum, along with a slight tannic structure. They pair exceptionally well with rich Italian cuisine.

2. Franciacorta: Hailing from the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, Franciacorta is Italy’s answer to Champagne. Made in the traditional method, also known as Metodo Classico, Franciacorta undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, producing fine and persistent bubbles. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc are the primary grape varieties used in Franciacorta, resulting in elegant and complex wines. With aging, notes of citrus, brioche, and hazelnut can develop, offering a delightful sensory experience.

3. Metodo Classico: While Franciacorta falls under this category, Metodo Classico refers to sparkling wines made in the traditional method from other regions of Italy. These wines can vary in style, grape varieties used, and aging techniques. Some notable examples include Trento DOC from Trentino, Alta Langa from Piedmont, and Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico from Lombardy. These wines often exhibit crisp acidity, fine bubbles, and a wide array of flavors, making them suitable for various occasions.

4. Asti Spumante: Originating from the Piedmont region, Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine made predominantly from the Moscato Bianco grape. It is known for its aromatic and fruity profile, with notes of ripe peach, apricot, and orange blossom. The bubbles in Asti Spumante are typically larger and more effervescent compared to other sparkling wines. This style of sparkling wine is often enjoyed as a dessert wine or aperitif due to its sweetness.

5. Other Sparkling Wines: Apart from the aforementioned types, Italy produces a wide array of sparkling wines that may not fall into a specific category. For example, there are sparkling wines made from indigenous grape varieties in regions like Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Piedmont. These wines offer a unique expression of their respective terroirs, showcasing regional characteristics and flavors.

In my personal experience, I have had the pleasure of tasting various Italian sparkling wines beyond Prosecco. Each type offers a distinct personality and flavor profile, making the exploration of Italian sparkling wines a delightful adventure. Whether it’s the vibrant and fizzy nature of Lambrusco or the elegance and complexity of Franciacorta, these wines never fail to impress and provide a memorable drinking experience.

To summarize, Italian sparkling wine extends far beyond Prosecco. The diverse range includes Lambrusco, Franciacorta, Metodo Classico, Asti Spumante, and other unique sparkling wines from different regions of Italy. Each type offers its own set of characteristics and flavors, making Italian sparkling wines a fascinating and rewarding category to explore.