Sparkling Wine Secrets: Seven Grapes, Seven Styles from Italy With Finger Foods

6 sparkling wines from Italy

Garganega. Glera. Grechetto. Lambrusco. Moscato. Pinot Nero.  These are all grapes made into sparkling wines in Italy, so if you thought Italian sparkling wine came from one place, and in one style, and one grape only –I’m looking at you PROSECCO!– do I have a holiday sparkling wine secret surprise for you! How about seven styles of sparkling wine made from seven different grapes paired with Italian inspired festive finger foods? 

festive finger foods inspired bu Italian cuisine paired with Italian sparkling wine

Festive Finger Foods for Sparkling Italian Wines

  • oysters with uni and avocado
  • seared ahi
  • La Tur 3 milk cheese from northern Italy 
  • salami and provolone pinwheels 
  • glazed beet burrata crostini 
  • cheese and vegetable rosemary skewers 
  • panelle 
  • stuffed mushrooms
  • sausage cheese biscuits 
  • ginger biscotti 
  • cocoa pistachio cookies with dulche de leche

Seven Sparkling Wine Styles from Italy 
All of these wines were so very different, so many unusual grapes that most people are not familiar with, such a fantastic evening. All but the first are samples for my review. Some were made in the charmot or “tank” method while others were made in the “metodo Classico” also known as the traditional method or “method champenoise.”

  • Moscato: Acquesi Asti Spumante DOCG
  • Garganega: 2013 – Buglioni Brut Lo Spudorato
  • Glera: Sauzovo Graziano Valdobbiadene DOCG
  • Erbaluce: Bere Nice Caluso Spumante Cantine Briamara
  • Lambrusco: Cameron Hughes Lot 841 Reggiano Lambrusco
  • Pinot Nero: 2016 Maso Martis Extra Brut Rose Trento DOC
  • Grechetto: 2017 Tomisa Ciparisso Frizzante 

Lo Spudorate 2013

2013 Cantine Buglioni Brut Lo Spudorato “The Bold”
ABV 11.5%
SRP $20
Grapes: 80% Garganega, 20% Durella
I purchased at Grocery Outlet for $5..

This was such a find at the price only because nobody knows what this wine is all about. I almost opened this SO MANY times! Now I regret that I didn’t buy a case of this wine when I could! Honestly, I warned Sue that I wasn’t sure whether it would be any good and we assured each other we had plenty of wines on the table in case this one didn’t pan out, but it sure did. Here’s the pdf tech sheet for current vintage 2020; clearly this wine is quite different young but that’s not to say it’s not good aged! 

Color: Lemon yellow, delicate bubbles, 

Aroma: Lots of herbal notes, lemon ricola, anise, licorice, nutmeg, vanilla. 

Palate: The herbal notes come across on the palate, anise, nutmeg; there is a bitter quality like a digestive. You can tell it is aged a bit because there are some caramel notes, but it is not oxidized. Very nice wine! What a delightful surprise!

Pairing: Fantastic with the glazed beet burrata crostini. Such a lovely party wine. I wanted the wine with grilled lamb marinated with rosemary and garlic. Yes, I think this wine could handle those rich flavors! 

Valdobbiadene Sauzovo Graziano DOCG

Sanzovo Graziano Azienda Agricola Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore
Grape: Glera 
ABV 11.5% 
SRP $22
Sample for my review imported by Verovinogusto.

Color: Platinum, very pale gold, delicate perlage

Aroma: White flowers, apple blossom, black licorice, a bit of baking spice, Petrichor, like the damp earth after it rains

Palate: Black licorice on the palate as well, a throughout the palate from front to finish, banana, tropical fruit, clean minerals, there is a very nice delivery of the fruit and the foam. This is a very nice Prosecco, this is not a sweet Prosecco, 

Pairing: OMG, have this wine with a bit of LaTur on a crostini. So fantastic, LaTur is such a good cheese and so fantastic with the right wine. The wine and the cheese has such a lovely dance back and forth between the wine and the cheese. Quite nice with the beet crostini there is such a nice contrast between the sweet beet, fresh rosemary,  the creamy buratta, and the savory hazelnut. 

Learn more about Col del Balt Sanzovo Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut here from importer Verovinogusto. 


Bere Nice Caluso Spumante Cantine Briamara Erbaluce

Bere Nice Caluso Spumante Cantine Briamara Erbaluce

ABV 12.5%
SRP $30
Sample for my review imported by Verovinogusto.

Pale golden lemon, delicate bubbles, very delicate

Aroma: Yeast, crossant, cheddar cheese biscuit, sharp cheddar, 

Palate: Minerals galore, ocean breeze and sea grass, lots of salinity, eureka lemon, super clean, very much like a champagne, without the super yeasty house flavor, there is not reserve oxidized rich. When I first smelled and tasted this I got a bit of cocoa powder, but others at the table did not get there. There is a dry acidity. kind of like a Brut Nature

Pairing: The wine works so well with the ocean salinity of the oyster and the creamy avocado, definitely a go to pairing. Perfect with the salty panelle, loves the richness of the food and the salty citrus flavors. This is a great gluten free recipe. 

Learn more about the Briamara Berenice Erbaluce Traditional Method Sparkling Wine on the Verovinogusto website here;  we wrote about this sparkling Erbaluce last year which you can read here

2016 Maso Martis Extra Brut Rose Trento DOC made with Pinot Noir grapes paired with meaty finger foods

2016 Maso Martis Extra Brut Rose Trento DOC
ABV 12.5%
Sample for my review.

Color – Pale copper, The foil on the bottle is very similar to the color of the wine. 

Aroma –  Burnt toast, cinnamon, earthen, subtle sulphuric hot springs, 

Palate Lively bubbles, dry as a bone, tart cherry, tart raspberry, rurbarb, the bitter of quince, the fruit flavor sticks to the front of the palate, marmalade, 

Pairing The panelle and the wine makes the panelle taste a bit like peanuts. Sue wanted this wine and LaTur on a crostini all day long. The wine loved the thyme in the stuffed mushrooms. Sue imagined that it would be fantastic with a creamy mushroom soup with thyme. Prepare a meal that highlights thyme to go with this wine. The flavors of the glazed beet burrata crostini was nice with the wine. Loves the salt and the smoked meat on the charcuterie skewers. 

2017 – Tomisa – Ciparisso Frizzante – Grechetto Gentile

2017 Tomisa Ciparisso Frizzante Grechetto Gentile
Grape: Organic Grechetto Gentile also known as Pignoletto 
ABV 13.5%
SRP $20 
Sample for my review imported by Verovinogusto.

Color: Quite golden with a hint of pink, kind of like the pink moments in Ojai

Aroma: Grape skins, cranberry orange bread, earth, walnuts, walnut skins, 

Palate: Very dry, orange pith, cooling herbs, mint, eucalyptus, fennel,  dry on the roof of your mouth dry, slightly oxidized, digestive qualities with bubbles

Pairing: I want to have this wine with seafood. Sue wanted to have the beet burrata crostini. The hazelnuts and rosemary were perfect with the wine. It loves creamy richness, herbs and crunchy texture. Lovely with the LaTur. Loves the richness of the uni oyster. Total OMG, I want this wine with uni pasta. Orange wine may be an unusual thing, but it is perfect with seafoods. On a subsequent evening I paired it with oysters, seared ahi, and mussels; fantastic pairings because the wine has a lot of substance and the foods do also.

Learn more about the organic Tomisa Ciparisso Pignoletto Semi-Sparkling White Wine from importer Verovinogusto; read what we wrote last year about the Tomisa Fizzante Pignoletto here. 

Cameron Hughes Lot 841 Reggiano Lambrusco

Cameron Hughes Lot 841 Reggiano Lambrusco
ABV 8.5%
Sample for my review.

Color: Very plum with a fuschia rim

Aroma: Fruit, perfume, violets, sandalwood, berry preserve, plum, berry pie, the crust and the baking spices are all present in this berry pie nose, a bit of mint, rosemary, juicy fruit bubble gum

Palate: Sweet and not sweet at the same time, sweet ripe plum, cooked raspberry, banana creme pie, tart and bright, fruit salad in a glass, 

Pairing: Very nice with the sausage cheddar bites. The sausage and herbs bring out such bright fruit in the wine. Loves the fresh herbs in the stuffed mushroom bringing out such beautiful sweet fruit in the wine. Lovely with the dessert — both the caramel thing and the biscotti.

Acquesi Asti Spumante DOCG

Acquesi Asti Spumante DOCG
Grape: Moscato
ABV – 7%
SRP $18
Sample for my review 

From Friuli in northern Italy, this 100% Moscato offers up plenty of honey sweet, foamy, fruity fun. 

Color: Lots of foam, platinum, pale, pale, hard to see the color for the bubbles

Aroma: Very fruity, stone fruit and flowers, tangerine, blood orange, sweet orange citrus flowers, bubble gum, jackfruit, banana

Palate: “Wow” said Kathy, Jackfruit, peach, orange pith on the finish, light and refreshing, nice acidity, lively bubbles, this is not syrupy sweet, this is a very nice wine. 

Pairing:  We decided to pair this wine with our dessert. The cocoa pistachio cookies with dulche de leche is a fantastic pairing. The wine is sweet and the cookie is savory. The biscotti an the wine was also perfect. It loved the cinnamon. The earthy cinnamon grounds the etherealness of the wine. Sue used both Ceylon and regular cinnamon in these cookies, which gave these cookies a very unique taste that went perfectly with the wine. 


Five of the many sparkling wines from Italy imported by Verovinogusto.

For Ventura area locals, here’s a sparkling wine secret that’s especially for you!! You can swing by the Verovinogusto Ventura warehouse and pick up your order! This will save you money on shipping and time. And you know you need some of these Italian sparkling wines at your holiday gathering– or stock up early for Valentine’s Day!

Locals can simply use the pickup option at check out, and since the warehouse is right off the 101 freeway that can be convenient if you’re passing though town to and from Los Angeles (about 60 miles away). You’re probably too late for Christmas, but you’re in good shape for New Year’s Eve as long as you order by Dec 29 to pick up Dec 30 8am-4.30pm or by New Year’s Eve Dec 31 by noon.

PS You’re invited to travel with me in 2022! 

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