Asti (also known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white Italian wine that is produced throughout southeastern Piedmont but is particularly focused around the towns of Asti and Alba. Since 1993 the wine has been classified as a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and as of 2004 was Italy's largest producing appellation.
Whether sparkling wine or champagne, the truth is that sparkling wine is gaining in popularity as people realize that it is the most versatile wine for pairing (aka the scrubbing bubbles for the palate) and transitions beautifully from breakfast to dessert and light dishes to fried foods, spicy cuisine or rich, sauces.
Cremant de Loire is the regional appellation for sparkling wines from Anjou, Saumur and Touraine – the heartland of the Loire Valley wine region of France. The title was introduced in 1975 to provide France with a widely recognizable, high-quality Loire sparkling wine title, and to provide a reliable alternative to the increasingly expensive wines of Champagne.
Franciacorta was granted DOCG status in 1995, covering just over 2,000 hectares of vines in the district of Brescia in Lombardy, located in central northern Italy. Grape varieties that can be used to make the Italian sparkling wine are two of the classic Champagne varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, plus also Pinot Blanc.
In Italy, Lambrusco, an unusual sparkling red wine, is the perfect wine for a picnic or BBQ: light, flavorful, and zesty. It's also an ancient wine, mentioned by Greek geographer Strabo, who was astonished by the size of the barrels made to contain the harvest, as well as the Roman authors Virgil, Pliny, and Cato.