Sparkling Wine Secrets: Italy’s Franciacorta

  • Which country in the world produces the most wine?

Italy!

With 45.6 million hectoliters, Italy leads the world in wine production. France produced five million less hectoliters, coming in second, Spain made 33.5, and the US produced just over 24 million, according to Statista.

3 types of Franciacorta sparkling wine from Italy

  • Which country in the world produces the most SPARKLING wine?

Italy!

Over 10% of all wine produced in Italy — 660 million bottles! — is actually sparkling glera, better known as Prosecco, according to the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine). 

3 types of Franciacorta sparkling wine from Italy with oysters!

  • Which sparkling winemaking region grows 62% organically certified grapes?

Franciacorta!  

In Italy’s Franciacorta, most of the growers also are makers. Unlike in Champagne, where most of the grapes are sold to big houses which make the wines (notable biodynamic exceptions here,  here, and here), in Franciacorta, the wine grower owns the land and the grapes AND also makes the wine. Ethical growing practices increases the quality; increased quality means better wine (as supported in this recent UCLA research about organic and biodynamic wines). 

3 types of Franciacorta sparkling wine from Italy with tacos

  • Which Italian wine is made in the traditional method using Chardonnay and Pinot Noir? 

Franciacorta!

While originally wines in the region were made using Erbamat going way back to 1277AD, today very little of this grape is grown and no more than 10% is allowed in the blend. However, with climate change, this indigenous grape, with its racy acidity and tendency to ripen late, might be a winner. Listed in records as a local grapes since 1567, starting in 2020, the grape is allowed in Franciacorta DOCG wines. 

These factors and more make Italy’s Franciacorta a Sparkling Wine Secret– one that you should share with your Valentine, Galentine, or maybe just enjoy by yourself over a few days because these soft, creamy bubbles are practically ever lasting!

I opened the Corte Fusia Brut the night before a recent Franciacorta webinar, enjoyed a glass during the webinar, had more that evening with dinner, then finished it off the following night! And I only did the “spoon trick” where I placed the end of a spoon in the open bottle!  

Located in Lombardy near Milan between Lake Iseo and the artistic city of Brescia, Franciacorta as a wine growing area gets its biggest influence from the glaciers that scoured the region repeatedly, leaving behind glacial moraines which plugged up the large lake which today mitigates both hot and cold temperatures bringing finesse to the wines. The area is also famous for a wide range of soils which bring different characteristics to the grapes and into the wines– note all the different colors representing different soil types in the image above!  According to press materials, “The softly rounded hills, bounded to the west by the Oglio river and to the northeast by the furthest extensions of the Rhaetian Alps, owe their ancient origins to the retreating glaciers which, over 10,000 years ago, formed the amphitheater where Franciacorta is nestled.”

To promote and develop Franciacorta’s potential as a tourist destination, the Strada del Franciacorta Association provides  information and services to create itineraries and find out more about the many opportunities offered by this area, which has always been dedicated to viticulture.

 

 

CORTE FUSIA, FRANCIACORTA DOCG BRUT
ABV 12.8%

Organic Grapes: Chardonnay 70%, Pinot Noir 20%, Pinot Bianco 10%

Daniele Gentile and Gianluigi (Gigi) Nembrini grow their organic Franciacorta in Coccaglio, Bresia on seven hectares 100 -400 meters above sea level 30,000 bottles total production each year.

WILL UPDATE with more notes ASAP

Menu with Saten and Rose

Oysters
Tacos: Fish and Barbacoa

 

Castel Faglia Monogram Cuvee Franciacorta Saten
ABV 12.5% 
sample for my review

While the 100% Chardonnay grapes aren’t certified organic, the vineyard is cover cropped between vines for natural hands-off management of soil and microflora and they use Integrated pest management to reduce synthetic products. 

As Castel Faglia’s prestige cuvée,  Monogram Satèn comes from the best lots of the estate located at Calino di Cazzago San Martino, in the heart of the Franciacorta area, between Borgonato and Erbusco, on rocky hillsides of morainic soils which reflect heat so that the grapes mature faster.

Primary fermentation took place in stainless steel vats for 80% and in small oak casks for the remainder, followed by secondary bottle fermentation and matured for 24 months or more.

Color: Pale yellow, pale straw. 

Nose: Such an expressive nose, creme brûlée, green apple, caramel apple, rich and decadent, fresh green apple, baked apple, 

Palate: Tart and dry, and crisp, very acidic, nice foamy fine gentle bubbles, yearns for rich food, very mouthwatering, creamy, not as yeasty as traditional champagne. There is a chalkiness present. 

Pairing: We imagined this would be perfect with a rich seafood risotto. Beautiful with oysters, a definate wow moment. We all felt that this was an exceptional combination. “The bubbles give the oysters great texture,” said John. So fantastic with fish tacos, loves the spice bringing out nice fruit in the wine. 

Berlucchi

Berlucchi 61  Rose 
ABV 12.5%
sample for my review
60% Pinot Nero 40% Chardonnay

In 1955, Guido Berlucchi, asked Franco Ziliani for help with his still wines; Ziliani suggested Berlucchi go sparkling using the traditional method. After several years of trial and error, in 1961, they found success, and by 1967, Berlucchi was leading the way towards Franciacorta success. To achieve the beautiful salmon pink in the wine and to emphasize aromas, the pinot Nero has a few hours of maceration on the skins. The wine has a minimum maturation of 24 months on the lees.

Color: Salmon pink, farm raised salmon color, 

Nose: Cherry, strawberry, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, strawberry pastry, 

Palate: Very foamy, fruit forward, strawberry, cherry, raspberry, tart fruit, so much foam, it just foams up in your mouth, enjoyable on it’s own, but will be fantastic with food, raspberry cherry finish

Pairing: The wine becomes more earthen and grounded when paired with an oyster: earth and sea together. Lovely with the fish tacos, but over the top with the barbacoa tacos. It loves the allspice and the other seasonings making it a wonderful pairing. We liked it with the Saten, but loved it with the Rose. 

3 types of Franciacorta sparkling wine from Italy

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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