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Italian Spumante

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J Nolan

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Italian Spumante

by J Nolan » Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:02 pm

I was just wondering what's the word on Italian Spumante around the world, such as Giuglio Ferrari, Perle, Franciacorta Gatti, Berlucchi, high end market products? how would you compare them to French champagnes such as Billecarte or Louis Roederer??
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Oliver McCrum » Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:31 pm

There are some very good 'Classic Method' sparkling wines being made in Italy, in Franciacorta (Lombardy), Trentino and now in Piedmont (the new Alta Langa DOC is promising). But I have to say that for my taste the wines don't compete well with Champagne, and the better ones are easily as expensive as decent Champagne.

I drink Prosecco for an informal bubbly, and producer Champagne when I want that inimitable taste and style.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Oliver McCrum » Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:36 pm

I should add that I rarely drink Champagne from the larger houses these days, there is a lot of grower Champagne available here now and these wines are more exciting and often reasonably priced. (Not that the two houses you mention don't make good wine, esp. Billecart; the Elizabeth Salmon is excellent.)
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Arnt Egil Nordlien » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:57 pm

There are good italian spumante to be found. But you should not compare it with Champagne. It would not be fair to either Champagne nor italian spumante. Looking at quality Franciacorta is the best area for spumante. They have IMO managed to create a typicity in their product. The best creat a very fine floral depth. Try the saten-style, it suits Franciacorta well. Producers: Ca'del Bosco, Bellavista, Monzio-Compagnoni. Prosecco can be tasty from the right producer. It is more aromatic, simpler and cheaper. Ferrari makes some decent products, especially the higher end. Also one to not forget is Bruno Giacosa, who makes an excellent often forgotten spumante from grapes, if I remember correctly, bought from the Oltrepo Pavese-area.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Ian Sutton » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:04 pm

We've got a bottle of Bellei Brut in the fridge for a picnic later this week, so I'll let you know how that stacks up. Bellei were I believe Lambrusco makers that went upmarket to Champagne method and style. Happy to be corrected if my history is poor.

Must go and pick some strawbs :idea:

Personally I find very little fizz offers good value, including (maybe especially) Champagne, so it might be a harsh assessment!

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Re: Italian Spumante

by Robin Garr » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:08 pm

J Nolan wrote:I was just wondering what's the word on Italian Spumante around the world, such as Giuglio Ferrari, Perle, Franciacorta Gatti, Berlucchi, high end market products? how would you compare them to French champagnes such as Billecarte or Louis Roederer??


I like Italian bubbly and have been on quite a Prosecco kick of late. I don't really see QPR in Franciacorta at its local prices in the $20s, which is getting close to non-vintage Champagne. But a good, dry Prosecco from Valdobbiadene is pretty darn hard to beat for quality or value.

Blind tasting is an awfully good way to sort out prejudices ... I'm tempted to bag up a non-vintage Champers, a good Prosecco and a good Cava one of these days and see how they shake out.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:39 pm

Robin, your suggestion about trying the 3 sparklers has hit a spot here! How about next months wine focus!!? Could work.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Robin Garr » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:06 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Robin, your suggestion about trying the 3 sparklers has hit a spot here! How about next months wine focus!!? Could work.


I'm willing to kick the idea around, Bob. "Comparative bubblies," or something like that?
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:38 am

You should see an important difference between the Prosecco and the other two wines, given that yeast autolysis isn't part of Prosecco's flavor.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:49 am

Arnt Egil Nordlien wrote:There are good italian spumante to be found. But you should not compare it with Champagne. It would not be fair to either Champagne nor italian spumante. Looking at quality Franciacorta is the best area for spumante. They have IMO managed to create a typicity in their product. The best creat a very fine floral depth. Try the saten-style, it suits Franciacorta well. Producers: Ca'del Bosco, Bellavista, Monzio-Compagnoni. Prosecco can be tasty from the right producer. It is more aromatic, simpler and cheaper. Ferrari makes some decent products, especially the higher end. Also one to not forget is Bruno Giacosa, who makes an excellent often forgotten spumante from grapes, if I remember correctly, bought from the Oltrepo Pavese-area.


There are some winemaking methods that mark a wine so distinctly that the original example becomes an icon; Champagne, Port, Sherry. There are some very good sparkling wines made by the Classic Method in other areas, but when I'm not in the Langa I have a choice, and Franciacorta is in my opinion much less interesting than good Champagne.

Prosecco is completely different, though, in method, variety and style. I know of no other similar wine, and I love to drink Prosecco. I am drinking a glass now, before dinner.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Robin Garr » Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:53 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:You should see an important difference between the Prosecco and the other two wines, given that yeast autolysis isn't part of Prosecco's flavor.


I understand and agree ... the Charmat process doesn't lend itself to yeast-related flavors. ;-) That said, however, this character should be subtle in Champagne, where, as you know, "yeasty" is generally considered a pejorative.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by wrcstl » Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:07 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:There are some very good 'Classic Method' sparkling wines being made in Italy, in Franciacorta (Lombardy), Trentino and now in Piedmont (the new Alta Langa DOC is promising). But I have to say that for my taste the wines don't compete well with Champagne, and the better ones are easily as expensive as decent Champagne.

I drink Prosecco for an informal bubbly, and producer Champagne when I want that inimitable taste and style.


Oliver,
I totally agree but occasionally open a bottle of Gruet from NM. Prosecco is also a crowd pleaser with the nice bubbles and somewhat low alcohol.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Dave Erickson » Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:37 am

I like the Ferrari Metodo Classico Brut; it's a reasonable approximation of a blanc de blanc Champagne (100% chardonnay) and it's usually around $20 or so. I think it's really in a class of its own compared to other Italian sparklers.

And while we're on the subject: Another "methode traditionelle" sparkler of near-Champagne quality is the Brut Comte made by Clavelin et Fils in the Cotes du Jura. It got by me in a blind tasting, and I'll bet it would get past a few other folks, too. It's also a blanc de blanc, and quite powerful, and sells around here for well under $20.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:45 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Oliver McCrum wrote:You should see an important difference between the Prosecco and the other two wines, given that yeast autolysis isn't part of Prosecco's flavor.


I understand and agree ... the Charmat process doesn't lend itself to yeast-related flavors. ;-) That said, however, this character should be subtle in Champagne, where, as you know, "yeasty" is generally considered a pejorative.


Robin,

Not sure I understand this. The flavor of yeast autolysis is surely fundamental to the flavor of Champagne, whatever word we use to describe it. It shouldn't be dominant, of course, any more than it should in white Burgundy.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by Robin Garr » Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:37 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:The flavor of yeast autolysis is surely fundamental to the flavor of Champagne, whatever word we use to describe it. It shouldn't be dominant, of course, any more than it should in white Burgundy.


As I've been saying all along, Oliver, there's nothing like a blind tasting to sort things out. Of course I agree with you in theory, but I do find yeast character in Champagne varies widely among bottlings, and in many of them it's, to put it politely, homeopathic.
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Re: Italian Spumante

by J Nolan » Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:52 pm

From what I've been told be it true or not that the quality of champagne is deteriorating. When it comes to bottling and the, lets say, touching up. I don't want to offend any French of champagne lovers, well people have been saying for years that Piemonte's backbone was the grapes from Puglia.(just to balance the argument),

About blind tasting, I was in Tuscany yesterday at the Falchini Vinyard, he told me that he'd got a gold medal 2005 in Belgium with his Metodo Classico which is 50% vernaccia, 25%pinot noir and 25% chardonnay, if I don't remember correctly. One to look out for

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