Alta Langa wine guide
The wines called Alta Langa are sparkling wines produced with Metodo Classico, which are born in the Piedmont hills of Asti, Cuneo and Alessandria. The wineries that are part of the Alta Langa consortium are 18 in all, not many if compared to the other three historical sparkling wine-producing areas: Trentodoc, Franciacorta, and Oltrepò Pavese.
The production is very limited, 650000 bottles, but this is good, there is always time to grow because the first characteristic that catches the eye of Spumante Alta Langa is that in fact it is always born as a vintage sparkling wine, that is only in great vintages. A nice guarantee for the consumer too.
Which grape varieties are used to make the Alta Langa Classic Method Sparkling Wine?
The vines used in the production of the Alta Langa spumante metodo classico are the two French champion vines of Champagne, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A maximum of 10% of non-aromatic Piedmontese white vines can be added.
Reading the disciplinary of the Spumante Metodo Classico Alta Langa, one senses that it is a wine born with great ambitions, but also strict rules, aimed at preserving a great quality of the wine. And it is no coincidence that once again the model is Champagne. The soils must be hilly at an altitude of at least 250 meters, well exposed, marly and calcareous-clayey, with moderate fertility.
But how are these sparkling wines that have set themselves such an ambitious goal?
We must say from the tastings we have done that the wines are very clean and crystalline, rich, savory, aromatic precise and well dosed. We are not looking so much for the excess or the pyrotechnic effect, as for an objective interpretation of the territory. Of course, we are not in the Dolomites, so they don’t have the rocky flavor of the Trentodocs, but we liked the quality and intensity of Alta Langa’s sparkling wines.
How is Alta Langa sparkling wine is made?
Alta Langa is a classic sparkling wine, so nothing new from a production point of view. The grapes are harvested with a good degree of acidity to enhance the freshness. They are vinified and fermented, giving a very acid and low alcohol wine. The blending phase of the cuvées follows, the wine is bottled with the addition of yeast and sugar to trigger the second fermentation, refermentation in the bottle.
After the period of aging on the yeasts, there is disgorgement and dosage, unless it is a zero dosage and then the wine, after a period of rest in the bottle, is ready to be put on the market.
How long does the refinement of Alta Langa sparkling wine last?
The refinement of the Alta Langa Classic Method Sparkling Wine is at least 30 months, if we are talking about a Riserva sparkling wine, it is aged on the lees for 36 months. 3 years are not few, but they are actually the minimum to be able to give the yeasts time to work and shape the wines. These wines are complex, multifaceted and of great depth and minerality and it takes time to develop the elegance of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. As soon as they are born they are children, immature and a little rebellious, but over time the evolution works miracles, the acidity is so high that it remains dominant even with the passing of the years, but in the meantime, it becomes rounded, the fruit ripens and develops the creamy tones of the yeasts. The balance increases, the hard parts soften and the wine in this way expands, its aggressiveness is transformed into finesse and tertiary aromas.
Of course, you can also drink these right away the Alta Langa and they are excellent, sharp, but it would be a shame not to wait a few years to add complexity “to the sip”. All too often it is forgotten that the classic method sparkling wine is a wine to be loved over the years, for aging and an acid exuberance is preferred. But seeing and considering that Alta Langa sparkling wines are always vintage and children of perfect vintages, you can be sure that the product has exceptional characteristics and great longevity. Try to make a sacrifice and forget about a few bottles in the cellar and in a few years you will have a little treasure.
Types of Spumante Metodo Classico Alta Langa
The types of Alta Langa Classic Method Sparkling Wine are few and simple. We have the Spumante Metodo Classico Alta Langa Bianco with classic aromas of apple, pear, peach, honey, yellow flowers, butter, hazelnuts, sugared almonds and cream, with a good flavor and freshness ratio and a medium-bodied structure.
And then the Spumante Metodo Classico Alta Langa Rosé (rosé), clearly made with Pinot Noir, more mineral, structured, nervous, with berries, musk, violets, geranium, fuller body and excellent flavor.
In both cases, there are versions of the Spumante Metodo Classico Alta Langa Riserva, with longer aging, 3 years.