by Viktorija Todorovska
When we say “Italian sparkling wines” most people think of Prosecco. This light, fruity, easy-drinking bubbly has captured the hearts of wine drinkers all over the world and is perfect for kicking off any gathering whether it’s two friends catching up or a large dinner party.
Franciacorta: Sparkles from Lombardy
But Italy also offers many sparkling wines of great elegance and character, wines produced in the same method as Champagne and aged to perfection to express. These wines can rival the best of the more famous sparklers from France. While the rest of the world is still getting to know these extraordinary wines, Italians have always made them part of their celebrations. So, when it’s time to toast to the holidays and the New Year, most Italians reach for Franciacorta, a sparkling wine from Lombardy, the region of the fashion capital of the world, Milan. Franciacorta wines have a long history: they are made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco in the traditional method, the method made famous by Champagne. This yields elegant, sophisticated wines that are great for celebratory toasts but also ideal companions for food, from appetizers to meat dishes. If you ever have any doubt about what wine to pair with a dish, whether it be a frittata or roast pork tenderloin, chances are you can find an Italian sparkling wine that would be a great match. So, get to know these exquisite wines and elevate every gathering into an elegant and memorable party.
For aperitivo, start with a Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut, an elegant wine with fine and persistent bubbles. The fruity and flowery notes are complemented by richer aromas of freshly-baked bread. Perfect by itself or with light appetizers, this wine will put the sparkle in your holidays and make the gathering special.
And real elegance and sophistication, go with Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Extra Brut 2009, a wine that will stay in your memory for a long time. This wine shows what truly great wines are all about: richness, complexity, and structure all in perfect balance delighting the palate without overwhelming it. Like a well-made dress (or suit), this wine will become your choice when the occasion calls for something special.
Ferrari and the Elegant Bubbles from Trentino
On the other side of the Italian mainland, the small region of Trentino in the northeast also produces some exceptional sparkling wines in the traditional method. Ferrari, a producer of world renown wines, makes a range sparkling wines fit for any celebration. Ferrari Brut, is the perfect aperitivo wine, lively and fresh with notes of fruit and flowers but also a unique bread aroma of traditional method sparkling wines. Ferrari Rosé, with aromas of red fruit and some richness on the palate, is a great celebration wine that pairs well with many holiday foods. For real elegance, choose Ferrari Perlé Rosé: the fine bubbles and elegance can help you ring in the New Year in style.
Go South and Discover other Sparkling Regions
And if you want to be a rebel and drink wines unknown to most (and impress your friends with your wine smarts!), explore one of the other regions of Italy. When a producer in a wine region not known for sparkling wine decides to make a sparkling wine, it is out of passion and the wine is worth getting to know. Tasca d’Almerita Brut is made in Sicily entirely from Chardonnay grapes from a single vintage (most sparkling wines, unless they carry a vintage year are made from wine from several different vintages). This allows it to express the uniqueness of the year, one of the most interesting aspects of wine. Created in the 1990s for family and friends, this wine remains a favorite of wine lovers and can bring sunshine straight from Sicily to your holiday table.
So, this year, embrace the sweet life of Italy by sipping sparkling wines with personality and character. They will make your holidays memorable and usher 2015 in style.
About Viktorija Todorovska: I am passionate about food and wine and I roam the world and discover new dishes and wines, bringing them to my readers. I am a Mediterranean soul and love to explore the lands that surround this magical sea. I have written about the foods and wines of Italy and France, including The Puglian Cookbook , The Sardinian Cookbook, and The Wines of Puglia iBook. To learn more about me and what I do, visit: www.olivacooking.com and www.mywinesmarts.com