top of page

The Traditional Method Sparkling Wines of Piemonte - Travelling to Alta Langa DOCG

In my previous articles I already mentioned that Piemonte is way not only Barolo (although don't stay away from trying it, of course!). A self-sufficient wine region with world's best reds and whites, sweets and sparklings. And when it comes to Italian sparkling wines, they even came up with frizzante (semi-sparkling) and spumante (the Alta Langa DOCG we're going to talk about now).

Canelli town in Piemonte from the hills overlooking the terracota rooftops and the Alps
that's how the centre of Canelli - Alta Langa DOCG looks like from the hills, in such romantic surroundings could there be anything but sparkles?

I'm going to take you on an imaginary journey to a boutique wine region in Asti province. This is the first sparkling wine from Italy that is made using the metodo classico process. To make it clear, but don't report me to Champagne authorities, this spumante is Italy's champagne :)

All you must know about Alta Langa DOCG appellation

The Alta Langa appellation covers only metodo classico sparkling wines, which is basically 'spumante' in Italian. Here, even though we're in Asti province, you won't find the classical aromatic white varieties like Moscato d'Asti. Actually Alta Langa wines can contain the traditional champagne varieties plus 15% of local grapes, besides the aromatic Moscato: - Pinot Noir - Chardonnay - 15% of other native grapes from Piedmont, except those that are aromatic. Because of the location (Canelli town is surrounded by the famous Moscato wine region) some people are concerned whether spumante is a sweet wine. Alta Langa produces sparkling wines from Brut Nature (which is zero dosage, so no added sugar) to extra dry (up to 17 g of sugar per liter). So, to answer the question, the level of sweetness is totally up to your choice, but mainly you'll find Pas Dosage (0 sugar) wines here.

Streets of Canelli the centre of Alta Langa DOCG appellation for the traditional method sparkling wines of Piemonte
in Piemonte you learn about wine literally on every corner - Grignolino, single Guyot, walking the streets of Canelli

Quick facts to feel like a PRO when it comes to sparkling wines from Canelli:

  • Fermentation: 2nd fermentation in bottle is obligatory

  • Sugar: Brut Nature to Extra Dry

  • Ageing on lees: from 30 months for Spumante to 36 months for Riserva

  • Alcohol: min 11,5%

  • Blend or Vintage: sparkling wines of Alta Langa DOCG are always vintage wines, which means there is no blending with wines from previous years.

So why do they blend in Champagne you'd ask? Because climate in Piedmont is moderate, there is no too bad year to say it in a simpler way. There is more stability in the way the wine tastes, so stability in production is achieved easier than in Champagne.

Atto Alta Langa wines in the cellar of Contratto winery in Canelli town in Piemonte
Atto Alta Langa - the wine did go through second fermentation in the bottle yet, so it can't be called Alta Langa DOCG, "Atto" in this case means it's in the process of becoming an Alta Langa wine

As for the terroir - the soil here is white coloured, a combination of marl, some sand and limestone. The minimum elevation of vineyards in Alta Langa is 250 m.

How is Metodo Classico Sparkling Wine Made?