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SPARKLING WINES

‘Tis the season… Add some bubbles this year with quality Italian fizz – there’s a lot more variety than you might expect and the prices are budget-friendly too

Despite the ubiquity of prosecco these days, much more excellent Italian fizz exists that historically didn’t get far beyond the regions in which it was produced. But the international market has widened in the past few years, with growing interest in previously unknown, excellent quality sparkling wines from all over Italy. Red, white or pink, sweet to bone-dry, there are bottles to suit every taste and occasion.

We’re looking at a few unusual wines you might not have encountered, as well as two prosecchi DOC from the premium Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area in Veneto (one white, one pink – it is Christmas after all!). Emilia- Romagna is having something of a sparkling wine renaissance at the moment and we have three of the region’s wines to try. Once out of favour, with a reputation as a cheap, sugary sparkler, red Lambrusco from Castelvetro near Modena is now proving itself to be a wine of sophistication; as is crisp Novebollé, a brand-new Romagna DOC Spumante, which is taking the wine world by storm. Finally we have a light, bright sparker from Abruzzo made from the delicate Pecorino grape – known for its still white wine, but the sparkling option is no less delectable!

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About Italia!

Our first stop this month is Milan, where Christmas is celebrated in style with a wealth of events to get you in the holiday frame of mind. The festive mood continues up in Como and down south in Sorrento. We also take a look at nativity tableaux (presepi) in and around Naples, where this celebratory tradition is alive and well. If you’re also looking for features without a side order of yuletide cheer, you’ll love our action-packed story from the ski slopes of Courmayeur, and our fascinating voyage of discovery around the peaceful byways of Molise.