All About Italian Sparkling Wines

Bringing Home Rome, Drink, Regional Spotlight, Wine

Thanks to its cheerful bubbles and reasonable $20 price tags, Prosecco has become a staple on wine lists — and not just Italian ones. Because of the booming popularity, the beverage is experiencing a shift in recognition.


I talked to Shelley Lindgren, sommelier at San Francisco’s renowned Italian restaurants A16 and S.P.Q.R., about the changes in Italy’s sparkling wine scene and some of her favorite bubblies.


“There’s a lot more sparkling wine being produced in Italy these days,” says Lindgren. “I could not find a Southern Italian sparkling wine when A16 first opened, and now I have several choices.”


Lindgren explained that Prosecco was recently labeled Denominazione di origine controllata (DOCG), the highest qualification of Italian wines. That means laws are in place to make sure growing and processing traditions are being upheld when making the wine.


Recently, Prosecco changed its name to Glera because it was being exploited; everyone started calling Italian sparkling wine “Prosecco.”


“It’s easy and celebratory,” says Lindgren. “Go to any town in Italy and you’re drinking Prosecco before your meal for not very much cost. It’s not that high in alcohol and it cleanses your palate.”


Lindgren also adds that sparkling wine makes a nice gift when you’re going over to a friend’s house for dinner. She also loves it with brunch and picnics or after dinner.


“If you want more seriousness, Méthode Champenoise wines cost more to produce and purchase, but they’re still a bargain compared to a lot of Champagne prices,” she says.


Here are a few of Lindgren’s favorite Italian sparkling wines:

  • Ca’ Del Bosco: One of the masters of quality for Franciacorta, this top-tier sparkling has elegant perlage, brioche, bosc pear and crisp green apple quality. It’s become a new staff favorite overnight at S.P.Q.R.
  • NV Ferrari Brut Rosé: A staple at A16 and S.P.Q.R., this brut rosé has the refined bubbles and dry finish that make it refreshing, yet an elegant aromatic quality like rose petals and strawberries to make it special and celebratory.
  • La Spinetta Bricco Quaglia: Whether you’re enjoying an after-dinner drink or brunch beverage, this refreshing orange blossom, freisa and frizzante moscato is one of the classics and livens up a meal.
  • Marenco Moscato d’Asti: Looking for the perfect complement to cheeses, chocolate and and fruit desserts? This blend of fresh red berries and red plums has just enough bubbles to freshen the pairing perfectly.
  • Ruggieri: Ruggieri is one of the original Prosecco producers who made this eponymous sparkling wine memorable. The wine is chalky and crisp, with notes of lemon zest and green apple. It has a great balance of dry and rich to start or finish any meal.
  • Le Vigne di Alice: This extra-dry Prosecco is one of the cleanest ever made, with a fresh squeeze of Key lime, cardamom, wet stones and grapefruit to make it memorable. A perfect aperitivo!


About the authorOlivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.

One comment about “All About Italian Sparkling Wines

  1. Cinzia Canzian

    Dear Shelley thanks for the quote of Alice Prosecco extra dry. Last July we made degorgement of our first Prosecco Metodo Classico, vintage 2009, 18 month on the yeast. After the first fermentation we put 50% in steel tank and 50% in big barrel for about 50 days, then we made “tirage” in february 2010.
    I hope to see you next week in San Francisco! bye.


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