Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Vini della Franciacorta – Wines of Franciacorta

There is a small region in Lombardia, south of lago d'Iseo and just west of Brescia where, for many years, they have been making bubbly wine. Careful not to describe this as Spumante; It is called Franciacorta. The vineyards of this area have deep roots in history and are well known for their quality. The area of Franciacorta produces both red and white table wines of good quality but their bubbly has become one of the favorite noble wines. It is considered the ancestor of the current spumante.

I lived just to the west of this zone for many years. Generally, the environment is hilly with cold winters and relatively hot summers. Franciacorta is not widely known here in the US and even in Italy although the wines are considered very high quality knowledge about just what Franciacorta means is rather limited.

Franciacorta is an area but also a method of production. There two types of Franciacorta: Satèn and Rosé. In 1967 Franciacorta was named DOC and in 1995 the wines of Franciacorta earned the nomination of DOCG.

Law prohibits labeling with indications of the production method or the use of the word "spumante". It is produced with Chardonnay and one or both of Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero. It must be picked by hand in small baskets and the pressing is obtained with very little pressure. The wine is then fermented for 25 months (37 for the millesimati), of which 18 months (30 for the millesimati) with slow re-fermentation once in the bottle with yeast.

There are a variety of flavors permitted: "Non dosato" (Pas Dose', Dosage Zero, Nature), Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, and Demisec. This means that any wine with the name Franciacorta will be at least “moved” if not bubbly.

This is not to be confused with “Terre di Franciacorta”, a recently created DOC, which are red and white wines produced in the area of Franciacorta but are not bubbly.

Because of its method of production, Franciacorta will go with a wide variety of dishes from Aperitivi to desserts. Generally you will want to match this wine with sweets, light sauces, broiled or baked fish, white meats, and fresh cheeses.

To store this wine keep in a cooler or cellar. Keep horizontal at a temperature between 10-15 degrees centigrade and 70-75% humidity. A good year can be aged significantly. This wine should be served in a flute at 10 degrees centigrade.


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Blogger Tracie P. said...

hopefully america will get to know the bubblies of franciacorta. right know, we only have eyes for prosecco...

the region has so much to offer and the quality is exceptional!

3:16 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Tracie b. - I am impressed that you have such a good knowledge of wines.

4:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Franciacorta Rocks ;)

3:36 PM


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