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).
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.
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.
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.