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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