The looming Prosecco shortage is causing its admirers in the UK to stockpile their favourite bubbly before it disappears from shelves this summer. As Prosecco is a magnificently refreshing drink for summertime this comes as no surprise. But if you find yourself out of luck when you head to your supermarket to buy several cases to hold you over until next year - or if you haven’t taken our advice to stretch your Prosecco consumption by drinking gin - then you should consider tasting these alternatives. All are sparkling. All are Italian. And all are delicious in their own way.
In the East of the Northern Italian region of Lombardy, you will find the province of Brescia, home to Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to Champagne. Despite the region having a long history of fine wines that dates back to Roman times, sparkling Franciacorta did not appear until the 1960s. Since it’s first 3,000 bottle production in 1961 the wine has exploded in popularity, selling 14 million cases in 2013. Its popularity in the UK is not a secret either - sales grew 172% between 2013 and 2014. You can find Franciacorta on Ocada for £21.49.
Piedmont is an Italian region home to many well known wines, being granted its own Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita in 2004. Asti, made with the Moscato Bianco grape, is the most widely produced. Thought to have been first produced in 1870, Asti comes in two major variations - Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti which has fewer bubbles. Made with a cheaper production method - the Charmat process - than Franciacorta, you’ll find Asti to be a better bargain if you’re looking for a dessert wine with a low ABV. You can find a case of Asti Spumante in Tesco’s for £31.50.
Lambrusco is the name of a grape located in the regions of Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna that is used in any number of wines. But the highest quality Lambrusco’s are bubbly. Lambrusco comes in red, white or rose and range in style from wines with light tannins to sweet wines. Lambrusco is also made with the cheaper Charmat process and can be found at Waitrose starting at £2.99 per bottle.
Further to the east lies the region of Trentino which borders Veneto on its Western limits. Trento DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) wines are made in the region’s north near the Dolomite mountain range. Produced using the Méthode Champenoise meaning it undergoes a second fermentation in its bottle, Trento DOC are some of the most natural sparkling wines you can drink as the grapes must be grown in certain traditional manners, the wines must be aged for a minimum of 15 months and the level of alcohol must maintain a level more associated with wines - a minimum of 11.5%. But it’s not as easy to find in the UK - even Amazon is out of stock.