Though Italian red wines are often talked about more than white wines, there are some sparkling white wines produced by certain regions in Italy. The taste of an Italian white wine depends on the variety of grapes used and the time required for aging it perfectly.
Like Italian red wines, Italian white wines also carry the distinct flavor of the region in which they are produced. Some of them are made with a italian sparkling wine single variety of grapes. But blending more than one variety makes the most of them. Their prices vary according to the quality of the win. The high-quality wines can be really expensive, as it takes a longer time to age them perfectly.
As there are a wide variety of grapes produced in every wine region of Italy, there is no dearth of white wines which taste differently from each other. You can choose one according to your taste and the occasion. Italian white wines are relatively softer than the red wines produced in the country. They can be sipped independently, and do not have to accompany a meal.
Tocai is one of the popular Italian white wines. It is a dry wine that has an aroma of flowers, peaches and pears. A bottle of Tocai is quite affordable, as it may not cost you more than $20. Verdicchio grapes are used by Italians to produce a sparkling white wine under the same name. It was once quite popular in the US market.
Frascati is the name of another Italian white wine. It has been mentioned in Italian history quite often. It has a unique flavor. It is blended with four or five different varieties of grapes. Orvieto Classico is a dry white wine blended with five different varieties of white grapes. It is also a light wine preferred by royal families.
WHAT MAKES SPARKLING WINE SPARKLING?
If there is another type of wine that is more confusing, based on the questions I get, than sparkling wine; I do not know what that is. First and foremost, sparkling wine is wine. Champagne is wine. Sekt is wine. Cava is wine. Asti is wine.
So in the interest of clearing the air and explaining it all in one fell swoop to my friends, I am going to explain what sparkling wine is in the short little article and have my friends all read it (all one of them).
I rattled off a number of terms and call them all wines. Most are probably familiar with Champagne, which is sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. Sekt is from Germany. Cava is from Spain and Asti is from Italy. Most countries and regions have their own terms, in fact “fizzy” wine from other parts of France have their own terms; but for this article, let us keep with just these major terms.
I am not looking to present a detailed dissertation on sparkling wines here, but I do want to convey enough information for someone to be able to discuss sparkling wines intelligently. Sparkling wine is table wine with carbon dioxide in it. The different between quality sparkling wine, the cheap ones, and soda is how the carbon dioxide got into the drink in the first place.
Carbon dioxide is injected into a beverage to make a carbonated drink. In sparkling wines, the carbonation comes from naturally produced carbon dioxide that is not allowed to escape. There are basically three methods.
Traditional or Methode Champenoise: After the initial fermentation, the wine is bottled with a dose of yeast and sugar. Inside that bottle, a second fermentation begins. During this second fermentation, the carbon dioxide cannot escape. It becomes a part of the wine naturally creating that beautiful, soft fizz with all those tiny little bottles. In fact that is a measure of a great wine made in with this method; it has tons of tiny, tiny bubbles. The opposite end would be the huge bubbles in a soda. Back to the this method; once the second fermentation is complete, the sparkling wine is sold in that very same bottle. It is an expensive method.
Bulk or Charmat Method: This is a far less costly method of making sparkling wine. Instead of the second fermentation occurring in the bottle, all the wine is dumped into a pressurized container after the first fermentation. The second fermentation occurs in a huge sealed container. Once the second fermentation is completed, the wine is bottled. The wine is second fermented in bulk, filtered, etc., and then bottled. It does not have the distinction of being sold in the bottle it got the fizz in.
Bottle Transfer: This was a method used back in awhile ago; I have not heard much about it of late. Basically it is a less expensive version of the traditional style. One of labor intensive aspects of the traditional method is called “riddling.” Basically, the wine is held upside down in a rack and a person methodically gives the bottle a quarter turn over and over again. The objective is sparkling italian wine to get all the dead yeast accumulating from the second fermentation down to the cork. It is then disgorged, typically they flash freeze the cork and dead yeast before popping it out. A little dose is added and recorked. With this third method, that whole riddling is not done. Once second fermentation is done, it is all dumped into vat where it is filtered and so forth before being bottled again. So, technically it is bottle fermented but just not in the bottle it is sold in.
But none of these sparkling wines are to be confused with all the fruity, wine like products out there that is carbonated. All those flavored wines, whether malt based or not, have carbon dioxide injected into it.
Champagne is the gold standard. Essentially made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, these wines have rich, creamy yeasty feel to it. The tiny bubbles gently tickle and caress unlike the injected stuff.
Lastly, sparkling wines are not really sweet (some Italian Asti’s excepted) but for labeling purposes, the sweeter ones are labeled sec and move to extra dry to brut with brut being most dry.