Wine Words: Frizzante and Spumante

Wine Words

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Frizzante and Spumante are two wine words most associated with Italian sparkling wine. 

Do you know what the difference is between these two words? 

Both frizzante and spumante describe the level of effervescence (i.e. the strength of the bubbles) in a bottle of sparkling wine. Wines labeled ‘frizzante’ are what we call gently sparkling, while wines labeled ‘spumante’ are more effervescent and fully sparkling.

Frizzante wines have between 2.5 and 3.5 bars of atmosphere/pressure while Spumante wines are usually between 5 and 6 bars.

Frizzante wines are known as ‘Perlant in French and as 'Perlwein' in German.

Prosecco is probably the most well-known frizzante wine style, though Prosecco wines can also be made fully sparkling (spumante).

Asti Spumante is the most well known Italian Spumante style of wine.

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Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.