46: What is the “champagne” of Italy? (Hint: It’s not prosecco!)

by | Mar 1, 2021 | Podcast | 0 comments

Have you heard that prosecco is Italy’s version of champagne? If so, PLEASE forget what you heard. Prosecco, while not bad as far as sparkling beverages go, is definitely not on the same caliber as that oh so delicious bubble from France. So what then, is? Franciacorta! 

If you’ve never heard of franciacorta, consider it a sort of a cousin of the French champagne.It’s hand harvested (meaning machines don’t pick the grapes – humans do!) and bottle aged. It also enjoys DOC and DOCG status, meaning it has strictly controlled rules for production (psst check out episode 8 for more on that).

The most common grapes for franciacorta are chardonnay, pinot nero, and pinot bianco. The finished product is made using the metodo classico (or champenois) aka the same method to make champagne. This means the wine goes through an initial fermentation like still wine, and then is bottled and left to rest on the lees, aka dead yeast that causes a second, in-bottle fermentation, leading to all those bubbles we love so much. The wine then ages in-bottle for at least 18 months. Or for franciacorta’s riserva style – even up to 60 months – to develop a deeper, more complex flavor profile. 

Prosecco instead is made using the charmat method in which the wine is fermented for the second time in a vat before it’s bottled.

So what does all this mean? Prosecco is generally younger, with a lighter, more fruit-forward flavor profile. Also the bubbles in prosecco tend to be quite large, while franciacorta boasts a finer bubble and more complex flavor, that makes it perfect to sip alone.

Anyone else feeling thirsty? Cin Cin!


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Ciao, I'm Rachel

I am obsessed with everything Italian! After years living in Italy, being married to an Italian, getting my Italian citezenship through my Pugliese lineage, a BA in Italian language and literature, then a MA in Italian Art History, I have lots of experience with this country! Hang out with me to learn more!