Sparkling Italian wines

Published March 7th, 2022

Once relegated to a celebratory role for special occasions, sparkling wines are becoming more and more fashionable not only as aperitifs but also in food pairings.

In the field of bubbles, Italy offers plenty of choice. From north to south, sparkling wine is produced almost everywhere, with various methods and using various international and indigenous grapes.

Here is our guide to sparkling Italian wines.

It’s not all about Prosecco

For most people, knowledge of Italian sparkling wine is limited to Prosecco, but there is much more than just Prosecco in Italy.

Italy has a very long tradition of sparkling wines locally called Spumante, which does not stop only at the most commercially known products. Sparkling versions of some white and red wines are produced in all regions.

Among the most popular bubbles in Italy, just to name a few, there are certainly the wines of Franciacorta, Asti Spumante, sparkling wines from Trentino and Langhe, and the reds Brachetto D'Aqui and Lambrusco.

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Italian sparkling wine vs champagne

The comparison between Italian sparkling wines and Champagne is a bit tricky, because Champagne can only be produced in the homonymous region of France.

But also because in Italy sparkling wines come in very different styles, from different regions and different grape varieties, so it is impossible to consider them as a single category.

The sparkling Italian wines that can be compared to Champagne are those of Franciacorta, or Alta Langa, and those from Trentino, both in terms of blend, production and aging techniques. Some of these reach quality peaks comparable to Champagnes, and offer excellent value for money.

Italian regions that produce sparkling wines

The production of sparkling wines in Italy is widespread in all regions, but the most interesting products are concentrated in Northern Italy.

One of the most popular ones is Asti Spumante DOCG, produced in Piedmont in the Asti area, with Moscato Bianco grapes, but the region is also home to the Alta Langa DOCG Classic Method.

In Lombardy the two areas most suited to the production of sparkling wines are Franciacorta and Oltrepo’ Pavese. While Trentino Alto Adige is widely famous for its high quality bubbles, produced with Classic Method in the province of Trento.

Emilia Romagna, on the other hand, remains home to the lively Lambrusco.

How sparkling wine is made

The sparkling process consists in activating a refermentation of the base wine in a closed container after the addition of sugar and yeasts. Sugars are metabolized by yeasts with the formation of alcohol and carbon dioxide. The gas that cannot be dispersed dissolves in the wine and generates the characteristic bubbles.

The various methods differ on where and how the second fermentation takes place:

     • the Classic Method, (or Champenoise), characterized by a second fermentation in the bottle.

     • the Martinotti Method (or Charmat), characterized by a second fermentation in large containers (autoclave).

     • the Ancestral Method, characterized by a second fermentation in the bottle but without any addition of sugar.

Top Italian sparkling wines


Italian Prosecco is a white and rosé sparkling wine produced only in some areas of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia from the indigenous Glera grape with Charmat method. Most people think of Prosecco as the Italian response to Champagne, but this wine is very different. It is extremely aromatic with a gentle floral bouquet made of wisteria, rose and acacia followed by notes of green apple, pear and peach. 

Our suggestion: Cartizze Dry, Bisol


Lambrusco is a fresh and light Italian red sparkling wine, with a lively foam and intense aromas of red fruits. In the 70s, due to the great demand of the market, Lambrusco earned a bad reputation as a low quality product, but, in recent years, thanks to the attention in the choice of the clone, the wine is regaining good popularity.

Our suggestion: Lambrusco di Sorbara del Fondatore, Cleto Chiarli


Often regarded as the Italian champagne, sparkling Franciacorta is produced in Lombardy, in the area that extends between Lake Iseo and Brescia. These elegant bubbles are made are from Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco and Erbamat, an ancient vine from Brescia, with Classic Method. Thanks to their elegance and freshness, they are increasingly appreciated.

Our suggestion: Vintage Collection Satèn, Ca’ del Bosco

Asti Spumante

From the hills surrounding the quaint village of Asti in Piedmont, this sparkling white wine from Italy shows the elegant aromas of Moscato Bianco: the sensation of musk, the floral notes of elderberry, peach, the more citrusy ones that recall lemon, sage. Its gentle sweetness and low alcohol content make it particularly suitable as an aperitif or paired with spicy foods.

Our suggestion: Asti DOCG "Acquesi", Cuvage