Wines of the Week: Two Terrific Sparkling Wines for Christmas

15/12/2014 04:58 GMT | Updated 11/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Two Sparkling Wines from Italy

If nothing else will do for your Christmas table but Champagne, then please do check out my recent article "12 Wines of Christmas" on wine-pages.com, where several are reviewed. But this week I'm highlighting two impressive Italian sparklers, one from the booming region of Prosecco, and one from the less well-known but hugely impressive region of Franciacorta. For the full reviews and specific food matching notes, please watch the video.

Guerrieri Rizzardi, Prosecco Extra Dry NV, Italy

Prosecco has been on such a roll over the past few years, becoming the go-to choice of inexpensive fizz for many people. This comes from the aristocratic Guerrieri Rizzardi, perhaps best known for their red wines, but producing here a very refined and subtle Prosecco, with typical notes of icing sugar sprinkled over preserved lemon, and a forward, fruity style. Note that it's an 'Extra Dry' which, perversely enough means it is a little sweeter than a normal 'Brut' style sparkling wine. It's not sweet, but the extra ounce of sugar gives it a flattering smoothness and makes it a great aperitif choice too. The price is around £13.00, from independent online merchants listed here.

Barone Pizzini, Franciacrota Brut NV, Italy

Franciacorta in Lombardy is less familar, but is home to arguably the highest quality sparkling wines in Italy, made from the same grapes as Champagne, and in the traditional method with second fermentation and long aging in individual bottles. This wine comes from the organic and biodynamic estate of Barone Pizzini, and has a lovely weight of fruit and some of the creamy, brioche notes that come with ageing in bottle. It develops some toast and peach in the mouth, but never loses sight of its acidity, keeping it dry, fresh and delightful. It costs around £20.00 per bottle, and once again is available from independent online merchants, the list is here.

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