End-of-year festivals often allow you to buy and uncork a special bottle. And since sparkling wines are classics for Christmas and New Year, here is a selection of Italian bubblies that are really worthwhile and also have an excellent relationship between quality and price. They all come from small to medium producers and are obtained with the so-called classic or traditional method – the same process used in France for champagne.
To learn more about the classic method, see Guide to the world of bubbles.
Zamuner Blanc de Noirs
This winery in the province of Verona, at the Azienda Agricola Zamuner, is a small producer that creates what is, in effect, an Italian champagne. The yeasts come from France and the vines used are pinot noir and pinot meunier – the main grapes of champagne (and chardonnay). Thes Blanc de Noirs undergo a very long aging, eight years on the lees. The result is a very elegant and sophisticated wine, with a wealth of aromas and hints. It stands out from the panorama of Italian classics because it immediately brings to mind France. The cost is around 32 dollars. Last thing: let it breathe a little after opening the bottle.
The Scuropasso winery is located in an area of the Oltrepò that offers an exceptional environment for the cultivation of pinot noir. It is a small producer that works very well using fine grapes. The bottle we recommend is the Roccapietra Zero: a high quality pinot noir that is is aged for five years in the bottle. It is a wine of great elegance and depth and with a good shelf life. The price varies between 20 and 32 dollars, guaranteeing an excellent quality to price ratio. An equivalent bottle from other wine-growing areas can easily cost twice as much
Comitissa Brut Riserva
Lorenz-Martini is a highly listed winery in Alto Adige that uses notable pinot blanc vines. The area is excellent for this grape, which is well suited to the classic method because it is very aromatic. The Comitissa Brut Riserva is obtained by mixing 30 percent of chardonnay, 30 percent of pinot noir and 40 percent of pinot blanc. The blend is then left to rest on the lees for a minimum of 36 months. Despite being labeled as brut, in reality the grams per litre of sugar makes it closer to extra brut, so it is a drier wine than a traditional brut. It also has a fuller minerality than a classic Trentino method, and a great harmony and persistence. The price is between 24 and 48 dollars, depending on the retailer.
Cantina della Volta Rosè
Cantina della Volta is located in the province of Modena. It is a small company that works with great expertise, enhancing the local vines. In particular, the Lambrusco di Sorbara vine produces a noble and very rich grape with which the best Lambrusco is made. The classic method of Cantina della Volta turns this into a small champagne, so you should expect aromas that are very different from those of the famous red wine. Specifically, it is a bubbly that rests on the lees for a minimum of 36 months. It is very elegant and well balanced, with a fresh acidity and hints of red fruits. The bottles cost around 32 dollars.