Although the quality of Italian sparkling wines is constantly improving, they are experiencing a remarkable paradox.
“Protagonists in toasts at parties all over the world, Italian sparkling wines have been the locomotive of Italian export growth for some years now. And, at the end of 2021, according to the estimates of the Osservatorio Unione Italiana Vini (UIV) – Ismea, the production value will exceed 2.4 billion euros, for a type of wine that is now worth almost 25% of Italian wine exports”.
The main player in this trend is undoubtedly Prosecco, although in recent years denominations such as Asti, Franciacorta, Trento Doc and Oltrepò Pavese have also been gaining ground on international markets. There is also a strong growth in many varietals from indigenous grape varieties in various territories where sparkling wine is still a niche activity.
Despite these really positive trends and the increasing quality of sparkling wines, they are experiencing a remarkable paradox at the moment, as Eric Guido (who covers Italy for Vinous by Antonio Galloni) suggests. Indeed, Italian sparkling wines have two major challenges ahead of them.
“The first concerns above all Metodo Classico wines such as Franciacorta, Trento Doc and Alta Langa, increasingly perceived as an alternative to Champagne, which is however defending itself with an increase in the quality of Non Vintage wines at accessible prices, which in some ways risk driving Italian sparkling wines out of the market, given the timeless allure of French wines. The other concerns Prosecco in particular, which is still perceived as a category and as a mass product, rather than as the expression of many companies and with a quality that is growing enormously”.
The current paradox of Italian bubbles in some ways also reflects the overall situation of Italian wine: a great deal of variety, very high quality but often not adequately communicated and made known.
The complete article of Wine News is available here.