Allegrini 2024

Italian bubbles are growing in quality but experiencing a “paradox”. Word of Vinous, Antonio Galloni

Among the classic methods that “clash” with non-vintage Champagne, and Prosecco still perceived as a “mass product”
A toast with Italian sparkling wines (ph: Reimund Bertrams via Pixabay)

Protagonists in toasts at parties all over the world, Italian bubbles have been the driving force behind the growth of Italian exports for some years now. According to estimates by the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV)-Ismea Observatory, by the end of 2021 the production value will exceed 2.4 billion euros for a type of wine that is now worth almost 25% of Italian wine exports. And if the undisputed driving force is Prosecco (including DOC, the largest denomination, DOCG Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, the most historic, and Asolo, which is constantly growing), Asti, Franciacorta, TrentoDoc, Oltrepò Pavese, Alta Langa, Lessini Durello and also the many variations from native vines in various areas where sparkling wine is still a niche but increasingly widespread are also growing.
And yet, Italian sparkling wines, which clearly have the wind in their sails, are victims of what is defined as a “paradox” by an authoritative writer such as Eric Guido, who covers Italy for “Vinous” by Antonio Galloni, and who entitled his latest article precisely “Italy’s Sparkling Wine Paradox”.
Basically, according to the critic, despite the undisputed qualitative growth of all productions, Italian bubbles have two major challenges ahead of them. The first concerns above all Metodo Classico wines such as Franciacorta, Trentodoc and Alta Langa, increasingly perceived (and presented) as an alternative to Champagne, which, however, is defended by an increase in the quality of “Non Vintage” wines at accessible prices, which risk, in some way, sending Italian sparkling wines “out of the market”, given the timeless allure enjoyed by the most important French sparkling wine brand, which forces, in some way, Italian sparkling wines to provide a quality that is much higher than their price range in order to compete. The other concerns Prosecco in particular, which is still perceived as a category and a mass product, rather than as the expression of many companies, brands and sub-zones such as Rive or Cartizze, in the case of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, and with a quality that is growing enormously.

With Italian bubbles that, in short, reflect one of the great issues of Italian wine: a great variety, an increasingly high and growing quality, which, however, is often not easy to communicate and make recognized. Consequently, values grow.

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