Secrets to Enjoying Fragolino Sparkling Wine

Reviewed by California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS) Karen Frazier
Strawberries and wine

If you are looking for a light, delicate wine with strawberry flavors, look no farther than Fragolino sparkling wine. This easy to drink wine pairs well with desserts as well as light food choices, making it ideal for many occasions.

Fruity Fragolino Sparkling Wine

Fragolino wine in made from the Fragola grape. The grape isn't a Vitis vinifera, the type of grapes typically used to make wines. Rather it is Vitis labrusca. Fragola is the Italian word for strawberry. The Fragola is a hybrid grape that is also known by the following other names:

  • Uva Americana
  • Isabella Seksarda
  • Pierce
  • Rasin de Cassis
  • Strawberry grape

Traits of Fragolino Wines

Fragolino wine has the following traits:

  • Sweet
  • Sparkling
  • Light and delicate on the palate
  • Fruity with strong strawberry scents and aromas

Fragolino's Difficult History in Europe

Vitis labrusca is a native North American grape that was brought to Europe in the 1800s. Italy made the sparkling wines from the Isabella grape that have come to set the standard for a sparkling Fragolino wine. Today, true Fragolino can be a bit difficult to find. Cultivation of the Isabella grape has been banned by many EU countries because there is a belief that when the American Fragolino grape was brought into Europe in the 1800s, it brought with it the phylloxera plague that devastated European vineyards. Likewise, many EU countries ban wines made with American grapes. For example, France banned new plantings of the Isabella grape in 1935. In Italy, the sale and distribution of wines made from Vitis labrusca were declared illegal because experts found that fermentation of the grapes led to excess levels of methanol, which can be poisonous in large doses. That's why today, you won't find any true Fragolino wines made from Isabella grapes on the market. Instead, you'll find approximations labeled as Fragolino containing strawberry juice or other types of strawberry flavoring.

Types of Fragolino Sparkling Wine

There are various makers of sparkling Fragolino available. All the wines display strawberry flavors. Some to check out include the following.

  • Nando Fragolino: A light and delicious flavored sparkling wine, Nando Fragolino hails from the Piedmont region of Italy, and has a fruity and refreshing taste and aroma of berry. The strawberry flavors come from flavoring instead of Isabella grapes. It costs about $9 per bottle.
  • Santero Fragolino: This is an Italian sparkling sweet wine with a ruby color and made with natural wild strawberry juice. It costs around $14 per bottle.
  • Bocio de Bolle Fragolino: This is a light summer wine made from the juice of strawberries. You can find a bottle for $9.

Serving Temperature for Fragolino

Just as with any type of Champagne or sparkling wine, Fragolino is best served chilled, somewhere between 43 and 47 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is served too cold, you won't get the wonderful nuanced flavors of the wine; served too warm and it will taste flat. Since most people don't keep a thermometer on hand when serving wine, let your bottle of Fragolino sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes before serving the first glass. This should warm it up sufficiently, but not let it get too warm. If the bottle isn't emptied after the first round, stick it in a bucket of ice water or back in the refrigerator. Remember, it's okay if it is a little bit too cold to begin with because it will warm as it sits in the glass.

When to Enjoy Fragolino

Fragolino is traditionally known as a summer wine. This sweet wine is perfect to have with dessert or after dinner. It also makes for a great apéritif, and it goes well with various cheeses. If you love Champagne and sparkling wine, there is no reason you can't drink Fragolino during a light meal. This wine is far too light and bubbly to be enjoyed with heavier meals, so stick with heartier wines for heartier meals. It's a fantastic alternative to Pinot Grigio, as it is equally light and even more refreshing.

Proper Serving Glasses

This sparkling wine is best enjoyed in a glass such as a Champagne flute. This type of glass is specifically designed for sparkling wines to show off the bubbles. Plus, the tall graceful design of the glass is meant to help sparkling wines retain their sparkle or bubbles.

Wine Glasses

Another important reason to use a flute as opposed to a saucer is that the long stem of a flute prevents body heat from transferring to the wine. When most people hold Champagne saucers, they hold it by the bowl of the glass and not the stem. Holding the bowl will warm the Fragolino, ruin its delicate bouquet and result in a bland tasting sparkling wine. The effect of body heat transference will also cause the Fragolino to lose its delicate bubbles relatively quickly.

Fragolino Is a Versatile, Fruity Bubbly

The light, fruity flavor characteristics and delicate strawberry scented aromas make this bubbly perfect for a number of different occasions. Whether you are enjoying a day at the beach or on a boat, a breezy summer picnic, or a cold winter night cuddled up by the fire, this wine is perfect. Fragolino is not nearly as expensive as Champagne, making it an affordable option for anyone to consider.

Secrets to Enjoying Fragolino Sparkling Wine