New Italian wines and how they're made

The Gancia wineries based in the northwestern Italian wine region of Piedmont offer great wines and world heritage cellars

The Italian way The Gancia wineries based in the northwestern Italian wine region of Piedmont offer great wines and world heritage cellars (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Italian way The Gancia wineries based in the northwestern Italian wine region of Piedmont offer great wines and world heritage cellars
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Fratelli Gancia wineries are based in Canelli, in the northwestern Italian Piedmont wine region. The estate is particularly noted for its portfolio of sparkling wines, which it has been making since 1865 when founder Carlo Gancia made his first Metodo Classico sparkling wine from Moscato grapes.
The ancient cellars of Gancia sparkling wine originating in Italy have been recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO, underscoring the historical importance of the enchanting cellars where the production of sparkling wine in the Italian town of Canello originates, located at the heart of the Asti region.
Also known as “The underground cathedrals,” the cellars are a symbol of the strong relationship between viticulture and the Piedmont area. Carved centuries ago, the cellars provide perfect natural thermal insulation with a constant temperature 12-14 degrees Celsius, ideal for the preparation and refining of great sparkling wines.
The cellars are an underground secret labyrinth stretching for almost one kilometer, with a unique 100 meter-long cellar. It was here that in 1865 Carlo Gancia created the first Italian sparkling wine. Unfortunately, these days access to the cellars is not open to the public because of new safety regulations, but the management is working to change that. So if you are in the area, make an effort to see the cellars – they are amazing.
After achieving success with Moscato-based sparkling wines, Carlo Gancia began experimenting with other grape varieties including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Gancia wine range has grown to include a range of Metodo Classico and Charmat Method wines in some of Italy’s most famous sparkling wine appellations, including Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti, Alta Langa Metodo Classico and Brachetto d’Acqui.
In 2003, Fratelli Gancia registered a new technique for the production of sparkling wines – the Gancia Second Fermentation Method, a variation of the Charmat Method. First the grapes are soft-pressed and then some of the extracted grape juice is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, while the remainder ferments in small French oak barrels. Next, the two separately fermented wines are combined and fermented for a second time in temperature-controlled vats until the wine reaches the desired 9% alcohol level. This method is used to make the estate’s Asti wine, from high-quality Moscato grapes harvested from vineyards in Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo.
In addition to its core portfolio of sparkling wines, the estate also produces a range of still wines, vermouth and aperitifs, bringing its total production to 25 million bottles a year.
Gancia wines available
in Israel (NIS 49):
Gancia Asti (Kosher)
The sweet raisin flavors of Gancia Asti, are balanced by fresh and fruity acidity. Despite its sweetness, the wine is perfect as an aperitif or desserts.
Gancia Prosecco Veneto
Made from Glera grapes from Veneto, Italy, the traditional wine presents yeast-bread aromas, as well as fresh fruit aromas of citrus and green apple. Smooth and complex this is a very nice sparkling wine.
Gancia Moscato Rosé
A very festive sparkling rosé, made from handpicked Muscat grapes. This rose is sweet and floral, with flavors of raspberry and peaches and rose flowers aromas.
Gancia Brut
The color is straw yellow with greenish highlights. The dry wine is light, fresh and vivacious, with hints of minerals and flowers. Gancia Brut has intense aromas of white wildflowers as well as yeast and citrus hints. This for me is the perfect aperitif that can also accompany a meal of Mediterranean and fish dishes, light salads and pastas.
Gancia Cuvée 36 Mesi Alta Langa Brut (NIS 100)
Our very favorite of the Gancia collection which is available in Israel, this brut sparkling wine is part of a new branding that the Gancia Winery is undergoing. Now wrapped in metal foil with a new beautiful “hand written” label, this bottle is the perfect welcome for the New Year. The authenticity of a vintage Brut Metodo Classico (bottle fermented), from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, selected from the best vineyards of the Alta Langa Docg area and matured on the lees for more than three years.
Elegantly wrapped in its bronze-color cover, Gancia Cuvée 36 Mesi Brut best represents the perfect union of the qualities of the Alta Langa “terroir” and its perfection during the years. A very soft pressing takes place in the Marmonnier press, located in the historical cellars where the first and best juice is vinified. Each single press and batch of juice is fermented in wood barrels and in sealed tanks, at controlled temperature until the wines are ready for blending.
The cuvée can then be bottled and added with yeast/sugars for the second fermentation for about 40 days. An intense straw yellow color with very elegant, rich and persistent bubbles, pleasant aroma with notes of vanilla and bread crust, well balanced flavors with mineral notes and a persistent, lingering aftertaste.