Wine, Wine Reviews

Tasting Franciacorta Wines

Franciacorta, Lombardy, is an important sparkling wine producing region in the hills immediately east of Brescia, with a relatively short history of using chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot blanc and employing the methode Champenoise.

The consortium imposes strict classical production (methode Champenoise) techniques of dosage, second bottle fermentation, remuage (although now automatic remuage machines are also used) and aging after bottling.

Cistercian monks from Cluny (Burgundy were the first to plant vines in the 13th century, hence chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot blanc,.

Franciacorta is a relatively cool growing region in northern Italy (46 degree north). The wines are fragrant, delicate and relatively low in alcohol, although 13 per cent ABV is now the norm due to the climate warming.

Although the vineyards go back to more than 500 years, the success came about in 1960’s when Guido Berlucchi started using methode Champenoise (although you will never hear locals using that term).
Consorzio, the regulating agency of the region, adopted strict regulations imposing a vine density of 3300 per hectare, maximum yield of 6500 kilograms/hectare, fractional pressing, 18 months of must-aging for non vintages wines, and 30 for vintage, and 60 for riserva.

Saten labelled wines contain exclusively white grapes and must be aged on lees for a minimum of 24 months.

Franciacorta produces still white, red, and sweet white wines, but mainly sparkling wines usign the mehtode champenoise.

Soils contain gravel and are rich in limestone.
In 2011, there were 2800 hectares under vine and now more than likely more came into production, but potentially suitable land is relatively limited.

Ca Del Bosco, Bellavista, Ricci Curbastro, Ronco Colino, Bellavista, Monte Rossa, Barone Pizzini, and La Sparviere di Gussali Beretta are only some of the major producers.
Franciacorta produces on average approximately 20 million bottles.
Ricci Curbastro also produces a still chardonnay, red wine and dessert wine.

In Franciacorta quality is relatively consistent, and in outstanding vintages, vintage-dated bottles are marketed.

Franciacorta sparkling wines cost much more than Charmat-method produced proseccos.
Recently, Ricci Curbastro led a tasting of his wines in Toronto.

Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero Gualberto
A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Persistent bead. Offers orange, peach and melon aromas along with nuts and yeast.
In the mouth, the wine tastes fresh and creamy. Pair with light appetizers (marinated squid-, octopus-, or vegetables-), baked fish, pan-fried haddock with capers.

Franciacorta Brut
Blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot blanc. Fruity, clean and balanced but lacks freshness

Franciacorta Saten Brut
A straw-coloured 100 per cent chardonnay. Fruity, medium-weight, well balanced and toasty.
An elegant wine to pair with sautéed shrimps in white wine and cream and dill sauce, creamy cheeses, filet of Dover sole in beurre blanc

Curtefranca Rosso Vigna Santella del Grom 2011
Light brilliant red. Good acidity, aromas of ripe berries, medium-weight, well balanced.
An excellent wine to pair with light foods, i.e. veal cutlets, stuffed pork loin, spaghetti with ragu, pizzas, and pastas.

Brolo dei Passioni Chardonnay Passito Sebino
Fully ripe chardonnay subjected to appasimento for tree months. Dark yellow. Offers lemon and citrus aromas. In the mouth, the sweetness is balanced with a fine acid backbone. Long and persistent aftertaste. Pair with bleu cheeses, soft fresh cheeses, foie gras, fresh seasonal fruit salad.

All above wines are available as private imports in Ontario
Contact Winemoves, David Litner
416 420 9229

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