13 Oct 2011
No matter who you are, or what style of wine you prefer, chances are excellent that there is an Italian wine made for you! Let’s look at the basics… call it Vini Italia 101: We should look at the four wine varieties, Sparkling, White, Red, and Dessert…this post is about Sparkling.
Sparkling wines from Italy are divided into two classifications: Spumante and Frizzante. Spumante wines are the fully charged sparklers and wines classified “frizzante” possess less effervescence. Think “fizzy” for frizzante and “sparkling” for Spumante. (Never, ever think of spumante as a sweet sparkling wine made by the Andre company! I deny any existence of this creation!) OK- so Italian Sparkling wine = Prosecco and Franciacorta. There are others, but this is 101, so we’ll talk about those two.
Prosecco, to start with, is a grape grown in Veneto and bottled as such. Next year Prosecco grown outside of the traditional areas will be labeled “Glera”; so if you see Glera, it’s really Prosecco grown in regions of Italy other than the Veneto. Prosecco can be vinified Dry to Extra Dry, and its main purpose is to kick an event off the proper way… Prosecco is used to cleanse the palate, and to stimulate the appetite… It does both in a clean, refreshing way!
Franciacorta is much more serious. These wines come from the region of Lombardia, and are comprised, like Champagne, of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and unlike Champagne, Pinot Bianco. The process for making Franciacorta is Methode Champenoise, or “Champagne Method.” Generally speaking, the best Franciacorta sparkling wines are on par with Champagne, that is, they are world class sparkling wines. Examples? Try the Bisol Prosecco for $18.99… Really the finest Prosecco I have tasted in a long time fresh and fruity, but with a fine elegance that is the epitome of Prosecco…Very Fine!
For one of the very best bottles of Franciacorta, look no further than the Ca Del Bosco Cuvee Prestige for $32.99. I will put this on par with most of the excellent non-vintage Champagnes for a better price. Sourced from 135 different vineyards, this is amazingly seamless spumante. Celebrate Italian Style!
More next time!
Brian Holowka, Santa Ana store