Sparkling wine from Italy that you purchase in your local wine store, is most likely prosecco. But, did you know there is more than just one type of bubbly coming from Italy? It’s a sparkling wine category that’s actually closer to Champagne than Prosecco is too (production wise)! Franciacorta is one of my favorite styles of sparkling wine, and I often find from working in the retail and restaurant sector for over ten years, that many still don’t know about it.

Like many wine trends, Franciacorta has been around for a bit but is now gaining more popularity. It’s not as old as Prosecco and Champagne, but it’s certainly a category you want to pay attention to. It’s time you too, jump on the Franciacorta wave and start sipping this wonderful sparkling wine!

The production of this wine compares to Champagne in that they are produced in the Method Champenoise style, which is also known as the Traditional Method. During its fermentation, the CO2 that’s created is incorporated into the wine, and instead of escaping, as it does when fermentation occurs in a tank this is what creates the bubbles that we know and love today. This production method also usually means the wine will be drier with more yeast and less fruity characters than Prosecco. This sur lie” (on the lees) aging, which happens in the bottle, is what many say makes wines made in this way more complex.

Besides production, Franciacorta is also the region this wine is produced in! It’s on my bucket list to visit the region, because of how much I enjoy this style of sparkling wine, and one day I will get there. In the meantime, I will continue to sip this wine until I can get over there to experience the region for myself!

Franciacorta is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc grapes, which are also some of the grape varietals they use to produce Champagne. Now that you’re seeing all the similarities, it’s time to talk about why you should be choosing Franciacorta as your new bubbly for your brunches, aperitifs, parties, and meals.

Last month in NYC, there was a Franciacorta Festival! Here I tasted this wine in many different styles including Extra Brut, Brut, No Dosage, Saten, Millesimato, and even Rosé. Some of my top favorites from the Franciacorta Festival were Bellavista Alma Gran Cuveé, Bellavista Vendemmia Brut 2011, and the Bellavista Rosé, the Villa Crespia Brolese Extra Brut Rosé, and Ziliani Brut. Another top contender that also stole my affection was the bottles of Antica Fratta Essense Nature, Brut, and Rosé.

Franciacorta I think you’ll find very enjoyable if you like Champagne as well as other styles of sparkling wine made in the traditional method. These wines are complex, structured, and also have some great pairing abilities with food, so be sure to pair these wines with cheeses, charcuterie, and even heavier meals such as grilled meats, and seafood. Prices for this style of wine do range a bit above prosecco but for the quality and elegance, you will not be disappointed.