Champagne’s pretenders to the throne

25th November, 2016 by Lucy Shaw

INJECTION OF GLAMOUR

Injecting a dose of megawatt glamour into the brand, this year Ferrari was the official sparkling wine sponsor of the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, echoing Taittinger’s sponsorship of the BAFTAs in the UK, while older vintages of its sparklers are on pour at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena, which topped the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year.

However, Ferrari still gets mistaken for a Prosecco brand, which bugs Lunelli. “Comparing Prosecco with Trentodoc is like comparing a pair of jeans with a smoking jacket,” he quips, though admits that Prosecco has helped introduce new consumers to Italian sparkling wine.

On the subject of tailoring, Bellavista, one of the best-known producers from Franciacorta, dubs itself the ‘cashmere’ of Italian sparkling. The estate has carved a niche for long-aged sparklers. Around 35% of its flagship non-vintage, Alma Gran Cuvée, is barrel fermented, and the final blend spends 40 months on its lees.

Export manager Vitaliano Tirrito calculates that each hectare of vines owned by the estate requires 300 hours of work a year. “We never push to get our wines ready for a specific release date as we want them to find their own balance.

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