Italian Sparkling Wine

Fine bubblies from big names and up-and-comers



Italy is one of the world's largest sources of sparkling wines and many are quite well known, though some are lurking just on the edge of fame. Prosecco from the Veneto is much like Cava in that the more common bottlings tend to be sweetish, though Prosecco’s flavors are generally more orchard fruit-driven and perhaps ultimately simpler than Cava.

There are also some remarkable Metodo Classico-style wines produced in Italy, particularly in Lombardia and Trentino, that can compete with the world’s finest. These are wines that are generally based on the classic blends of Champagne (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) with winemaking that can be indistinguishable from their French cousins. The pricing of some can make it difficult to be particularly enthusiastic about recommending them, but the truth is these can be mighty fine indeed.
When I’m drinking sparkling wine, two times out of three it’s Prosecco, but I do regularly buy Ferrari and Methius for my own enjoyment!

Here are a few notes on some recently tasted wines.

2000 Giulio Ferrari
Hugely aromatic with layered notes of lanolin, pressed flowers, nougat, toasted hazelnuts, honeycomb, quince and dried fruits. This really exhibits superb integration in the mouth, with a round, plump feeling that is seamless yet without any fat. The fruit begins in the citrus end of the register and has a lovely rice paper note early on that gains mineral freshness in the mouth and transitions to a deep nougat-filled finish with figgy fruit. Brilliant sparkling wine. 94pts
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Methius Brut Riserva 2004
Quite richly fruited with fresh tones of apple, citrus fruit and dried pineapple accented by lightly toasty and subtly yeasty notes topped with a touch of vanilla and spice. In the mouth this is rich and fairly full, with a fine acid foundation and mousse supporting the rich baked fruit flavors with accents of toasted nuts and some buttery pastry edges. The finish is full and long with a light floral and almost smoky note on the finale. 93pts
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2004 Ferrari Perlè
Nicely floral on the nose with a deep vein of lightly funky yeastiness that accents the rich dried fruit character on the nose that takes on subtle notes of honeycomb, lightly toasted almonds and walnut skins. Elegant in the mouth with an initial rush of almond and mineral notes that integrate with the creamy mid-palate. This has a fine, gentle mousse with pear and light red berry fruit tones that extend through the long, engaging finish. 92pts
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2004 Ferrari Perlè Rosé
Spicy and lightly cheesy on the nose, with light strawberry and powdered sugar-covered cherry fruit. Very fruity on entry, with a lightly creamy texture that exhibits lovely balance across the mid-palate and ends with a moderately long, complex finish that reveals layers of lemon, toast, mineral and yeast notes. 91pts
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NV Ferrari Brut
Lightly yeasty on the nose, with a lightly fruity golden apple bouquet that is topped with wildflower grace notes. Fruity in the mouth and lightly spicy with a fairly intense entry that leads to a round, mouthwatering mid-palate with peachy fruit and a rising biscuit note, which leads to the moderately long finish. 89pts
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2005 Rotari Riserva
Floral and fruity on the nose, with notes of figs and peach, accented with a gentle suggestion of hazelnut. In the mouth this is soft and enveloping, with a gentle fruity character and very subtle notes of yeast and toast. The finish is mostly fruit-driven but dry and fresh with a nice finale that hints at dried fruit and raw cashews. 89pts
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NV Rotari Rosé
Nicely fruity on the nose with cherry and raspberry fruit topped with a gentle dusting of confectioners' sugar. Round and juicy in the mouth with a nice balanced feel that turns a bit fruity on the backend and through the moderate finish, which gains a nice, lightly yeast edge. 88pts
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2009 Adami Vigneto Giardino Rive di Colbertaldo Prosecco di Valdobbiadene
Very precise floral tones with bright, tense peach and orchard fruits and a dusty, quartzy minerality, lovely nose, subtle yet distinct. Lightly sweet with firm apple and peach tones in the mouth, rather refined mouthfeel with pinpoint balance. The finish is clean and clear with good length and nice resonance. A touch of fennel on the finish. Light and fresh. 88pts
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NV Col Vetoraz Prosecco di Valdobbiadene
Sweet citrus tones on the nose, very lemony and light floral orchard fruity, bright and fresh. Crisp entry, nice edge of sweetness, firm mid-palate, nice peach and pear fruit tones, fine mousse. Really solid Prosecco with long, persistent bubbles, nice clean finish that could be a bit longer. 87pts
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NV Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco
Perfumy, low-key, tight fruit, melony. Slightly large-scaled, nice fine mousse, elegant and refined if not intensely flavored. Super-easy to drink and yet not sweet or fruity, this is hard and tense with super mineral length, palate-cleansing and inviting with each sip. 88pts
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NV Adami Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Garbel
Intense, more citrus, polleny, precise, mineral, earth. Rich and full on the palate, nice firm mid-palate, toasty lemon peel, easy, very light weight. Fresh, with a slight mineral note on the rather long finish. 88pts
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NV Adami Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut Bosco di Gica
Perfumed, floral, lightly stemmy, really pear-driven fruit, hint of lemon drop. Creamy, easy, bright and round with good balance, round, short, easy fruit. 86pts
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Tutela Prosecco
Milky, anise seed, pressed flowers, a touch of spice, rather more cinnamon. Easy, fresh round, lightly fruity, not too complex or distinct but a straight forward, ordinary sparkler.  85pts
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2009 Zardetto Millesimato
White flowers, light, low-key, apple blossom, and nice sweet apple fruit. Noticeably sweet but very fresh fruited with pear and apple fruit, the mousse is fine, though the acidity is a bit low and this is fairly sweet through the mid-palate. The finish shows nice bitter apple notes but the overlying sweetness is a bit distracting. 84pts
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NV Zardetto Prosecco

Not much on the nose, touch of peach, citrus herb, rather subdued. A little sweet upfront, fairly innocuous, simple pear fruit, lightly coarse mousse. 83pts
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Comments

  • Snooth User: BVWineS
    Hand of Snooth
    158389 450

    Do you know how popular right now in NY/NJ Moscato Rose sparkling wine by Santero is?

    Dec 28, 2010 at 12:33 PM


  • Snooth User: mtnmojo
    611362 7

    Bigaro' by Elio Perrone is a very nice Moscato Rose. Light and slightly sweet.

    Dec 28, 2010 at 2:37 PM


  • Snooth User: Torin
    308405 1

    I drank Proseco Astoria in London but cannot find it here in Washington State USA. Any suggestions? It was really good.

    Dec 28, 2010 at 3:28 PM


  • Snooth User: cschneider76
    Hand of Snooth
    92556 31

    Col Vetoraz is excellent. However, no Prosecco's from the Cartizze make the list?

    Dec 28, 2010 at 4:23 PM


  • Snooth User: drwally
    632999 21

    less Ferrari, more Berlucchi! Please

    Dec 28, 2010 at 6:56 PM


  • Snooth User: luca chevalier
    Hand of Snooth
    533661 2,535

    ......how it's possible to make a rosè if the grape of moscato it's white?
    ...Greg i thik that almost all of Cava are made with Metodo Classico,...i'm pretty sure that almost all Prosecco are made with Metodo Charmat..and this make a lot of difference, but i don't Know much of Cava so i could be Wrong...anyway Have you tasted something from Lombardia..specially from Franciacorta....if so, what do you think?

    ....drwally....no thanks, if you know a little about italian Metodo Classico you can not say that...please

    Dec 28, 2010 at 7:08 PM


  • sorry guys, franciacorta bellavista kills all of the above.
    It looks like Ferrari has sponsored this topic!!

    Dec 28, 2010 at 9:34 PM


  • Snooth User: civiletti
    192021 20

    I find Mionetto most enjoyable. Great price as well.

    Dec 29, 2010 at 12:36 AM


  • Snooth User: BVWineS
    Hand of Snooth
    158389 450

    Sorry, a bit out of topic, but Prosecco was a hit in 2009, when Moscato sparkling is in 2010.

    Luca-chevalier, here a link to wiki about Muscat grape; "Their color ranges from white to near black. Muscat almost always has a pronounced sweet floral aroma. Muscat grapes are grown around the world in Macedonia, Cyprus, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Israel, France, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Australia, South Africa, California, Oregon, Canada, Italy, Albania, Turkey, Slovenia, Mexico, and other places."
    Also, on snooth; http://www.snooth.com/varietal/muscat/
    Most popular "Red" Muscat in Eastern Europe, where peeps do not mind to drink sweeter wine, from Semi-sweet to desert wines.

    This is how we have Rose Moscato from Italy as well, mostly Northern Italy, right?

    Dec 29, 2010 at 3:05 AM


  • How about the Premio Prosecco Frizzante and the Premio Prosecco VSAQ Spumante. How do they rate???

    Dec 29, 2010 at 3:45 PM


  • Snooth User: luca chevalier
    Hand of Snooth
    533661 2,535

    ...Ricardo-Ganc ..ehm sorry are you a member of Gancia Family?...i suppose so bacause you do not understand anyting about Italian Sparkling wines...Bellavista it's a Joke....as well as Contadi Castaldi...if i will have the occasion i'll explain you more.. byby
    BVWineS ....yes but italian Moscato (i supopose so because you were talking about italian producers, and italian wines) it's white! There is a small production of Moscato ROSA and it's in Trentino, or Alto adige sometimes it's Passito Mostly not but rarely Sparkling....and the names of the producers i have readed are not for that area...so i suppose that you're drinking something different from a DOC product, based on moscato and coloured with other grapes...it's very difficult to uderstand because the production for internal market it' different from the for. mk.
    Thanks anyway

    Dec 29, 2010 at 4:40 PM


  • Snooth User: BVWineS
    Hand of Snooth
    158389 450

    Luca-chevalier, thanks a lot for the hint. I'd like more info. Santero actually has DOCG stamp on the bottle. Producer located (as far as I know) near Trentino. Is Moscato wine popular in Northern Italy? Some of my family members near Parma saying Asti is very common around their area.

    Dec 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM


  • Snooth User: luca chevalier
    Hand of Snooth
    533661 2,535

    ....Santero actually has DOCG....Because the Santero i Know it's from Piemonte ...so it should be Asti DOCG ..100% Moscato Bianco Grapes
    ...it's this one the rosè you've found???!!!???
    If so it's very strange because the classification DOCG admit only 100% White Moscato Grapes, it's not possible to produce a rosè, maybe the rosè it's a VSQPRD, with moscato and other Grapes also...
    Moscato(Sparkling one) it's popular in italy but actually we sell a lot of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene and some Franciacorta as well, mostly prosecco for price reason...

    Dec 30, 2010 at 2:06 AM


  • Snooth User: astreet
    700708 1

    Prosecco with Creme De Cassis is a joy. My wife and I enjoy the tipple every now again, ok once a week but as it's Xmas we've had it nearly every day! Yikes!!!!!!!!!

    So much cheaper than a Kir Royal but just as enjoyable.

    Dec 30, 2010 at 3:31 AM


  • Snooth User: Itzi
    367395 7

    I'm a sparkling wine lover and I'm Catalan, so... I love cava! And, yes, cavas are ONLY made with the Méthode Champenoise. I think cava and prosecco don't have much in common, whereas cava has a lot in common with Franciacorta sparkling wines, which in my opinion are much, much better than Prosecco or Trentino spumante. Usually, prosecco is much sweeter than cava, but perhaps you don't find many cavas in USA. Cavas are mostly Brut and Brut Nature and, when you drink a glass of high quality cava, a Brut Nature Reserva from Huguet, Gramona, Privat, Parxet, Oriol Rossell, Raventós i Blanc, or even Codorníu (but not Freixenet, please!), it's hard to choose between a cava or a champagne. And the price is often quite similar. Cavas have become much more sophisticated and much better in the last years, but, reading Snooth, I have the impression one can only find Freixenet in the States, as well as it seems that this particular issue of Snooth is sponsored by Ferrari. I'd be happy to exchange some information about Cava with Luca Chevalier, who seems to be interested in knowing a bit more about it.

    Itziar Rey, Barcelona

    Dec 30, 2010 at 7:58 AM


  • Great list! So many delicious sparkling wines coming out of Italy. Here is my review of Carpene Malvoliti DOCG Prosecco Cuvée Brut: http://whatareyoudrinking.net/2010/...

    Dec 30, 2010 at 12:17 PM


  • Snooth User: luca chevalier
    Hand of Snooth
    533661 2,535

    Itzi ...i agree with you, but Macabeo - Parellada - Xarello are very different from a classic grape, like Chardonnay that is mostly used in Franciacorta, so Cava it's in his way unique...the only cava i 'now is AGUSTI` TORELLO` - SANT SADURNI D`ANOIA Cava Kripta 2004
    AGUSTI` TORELLO` - SANT SADURNI D`ANOIA
    Cava Agustì Torello Matà Reserva 2007...but they don't look so well to me...perhaps i'll have to visit Spain wen i have finished with Champagne...

    ...MattMcGinnis ...in italy that Prosecco it's the most sold in Supermarket!!!...please Check Out for Nino Franco or Bortolin ...

    Dec 30, 2010 at 3:31 PM


  • Snooth User: Itzi
    367395 7

    Yes, Luca, Agustí Torelló does not use Chardonnay or other "imported" grapes to make his cavas. He always says he wants cava to remain 100% faithfull to its origins, that is: Macabeo-Xarel.lo-Parellada. But there are also very good cavas with this coupage. If you like sparkling wines made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you really should try Huguet, but I wonder whether you can find it in the States. Another thng I wonder is whether the cavas bought in the State really taste just the same they usually taste in BCN. I bought a bottle of Segura Viudas Brut Reserva in Italy and it tasted much sweeter than the same Segura Viudas bought in Barcelona. Any way, I love Franciacorta spumante as well, having lived 20 years in Italy. I have a glass of Huguet (I promise you, I have nothing to do with this producer, I don't work for him, but it is my favorite cava at the moment) right now (it is 9.50 p.m. in Barcelona) and it is delicious, and tomorrow I will open a Magnum to celebrate New Year's Eve. You should visit Catalonia. Let me know if you do, so I can give you a list of interesting producers, if you want, of course. Happy New Year!

    Dec 30, 2010 at 3:58 PM


  • Snooth User: luca chevalier
    Hand of Snooth
    533661 2,535

    i do not live in NY i live in italy so i guess it would be much easier to get the wines you raccomande...for tomorrow i'm thinking about Gosset Celebris 1998 or Henriot enchantelleur 1996 or Maurice Vesselles1988...anyway a celebration..catalonia will be very nice i guess and i'll be pleased to visit anyone you'll suggest Thanks, and if you come to italy i will give you some suggestion about franciacorta. Happy New Year! too!

    Dec 30, 2010 at 5:09 PM


  • Snooth User: Itzi
    367395 7

    E allora buon anno, Luca. Tomorrow, that is, the first of the year, I'll open a bottle of Inflorescence by Cédric Bouchard, but I love Les roses de Jeanne from the same producer as well.
    I'll ask you some tips on Franciacorta wines!
    Bye

    Dec 31, 2010 at 4:33 AM


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