Italian sparkling wines can be confusing, especially now that everyone is getting into the act and making sparklers from a variety of grapes. Sparkling wines are usually made using either the traditional method where secondary re-fermentation takes place in the bottle or the charmat method where it takes place in the tank. The first method tends to make higher quality, more expensive wines that are drier. The second makes fruiier wines that often have a hint of sweetness.
One area where sparkling wines tend to be made using the classical method is Trentino-Alto Adige. Famous wineries such as Ferrari are household names from this area but there are also smaller producers who are making a name for themselves thanks to their delicious sparkling wines.
One producer that I really like is Arunda from the small mountain town of Meltina located between Merano and Bolzano. The winery is located at 1200 meters. They do not own their own grapes but buy from trusted local producers. The grapes are Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco. I have tried the Brut whcih is 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Bianco and 20% Pinot Nero. It was peachy and had aromas of apricot with fine bubblies. I also tried the Blanc de Blancs made with 100% Chardonnay. The wine ages in French barriques and had a gorgeous perlage with aromas of apple and pear. I also ttied the Extra Brut Cuvee Marianna which was 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Nero and aged in barriques. It had hints of mango, melon and passion fruit as well as yeast notes.
A friend of mine suggested that I try the wines from this winery when I was at Vinitaly last year. I am glad I did. During the holiday season, I like to try all sorts of bubbly. The real truth is that I like sparkling wines all year long.