Sparkling Wines from Italy for Every Occasion


Italy does a fantastic job covering all the bases and nearly always at reasonable prices. The Franciacorta, Trentodoc and Alta Langa categories can provide excellent Champagne alternatives. The wines are made using Metodo Classico or Metodo Ancestrale (both méthode champenoise) and a similar set of varieties, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir making up the bulk of production. However, there’s also a lot to be said about the surge in the quality of modern-day Prosecco. While it’s still easy to find a slurpable and affordable Prosecco that will please most palates, this region is exploding with new terroir-driven wines and drier styles. Finally, looking beyond these big categories, it isn’t rare to find an amazing Metodo Classico from producers throughout Italy. This report is littered with wines that turned my head over the last few months. I have also included a few wines from Slovenia, which borders Friuli in Italy’s northeast.

One pitfall I’ve started to recognize is winemakers attempting to take advantage of the zero-dosage (pas dosé) trend. Much of the world has fallen out of love with the idea of residual sugar in wines, and many great estates in both Champagne and Italy have had triumphs with the category. Still, making a successful zero dosage is much more complicated than just not adding sugar. I have found this to be a big problem within Franciacorta and Trentodoc. Producers such as Mirabella and Ca’ del Bosco have done a fabulous job with the category, yet many others simply fall flat. It pays to recognize that many of the greatest sparkling wines in the world find their ideal balance with a well-measured dosage. Ultimately, these are growing pains more than anything else. Zero Dosage in these regions is about as useless a selling point as the Satèn category, which seldom delivers elevated quality level. 

Overall, this report is a selection of sparkling wines that are easy to recommend for their combination of quality and value. The surge in new sparkling wines from all over Italy has motivated many of the Franciacorta and Trentodoc producers to push themselves further, which is a positive sign.

All wines for this article were tasted in our offices in New York City and on the road in Italy through November and December 2023.

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