What about a bottle of celebratory Ca’ del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Edizione 43?
Franciacorta is divided into nineteen municipalities, all within the northern province of Brescia. These include communes such as Capriolo, Coccaglio, Erbusco, Iseo, Montecelli Brusati, Passiramo and Rovato. The name dates to the arrival of the Cluniac monks when the area was declared a tax-free trading zone (curtes francae).
In 1961, 11 producers led by Guido Berlucchi and Franco Zillani cultivating collectively 29 hectares of vineyards near the city of Bergamo, began producing sparkling ‘Pinot di Franciacorta’. Six years, later the region was awarded the status, Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC).
Franciacorta was the first Italian wine produced exclusively using bottle fermentation to obtain (in 1995) the status of Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin (DOCG). In the same year, the Franciacorta production method was officially recognized and distinguished from ‘Vino Spumante’ (sparkling wine). Today, labels read ‘Franciacorta’ – a single defining area, production method, and wine. The wines are very popular in Japan. But elsewhere overshadowed by sparkling wine’s two larger -producing big Cs.
Franciacorta ranges from non- vintage (at least 18 months) , the crémant-ish Satèn and Franciacorta Rosé Non-Vintage (at least 24 months) to Satèn and Franciacorta Reserve Rosé (minimum 60 months). Franciacorta Reserve wines are released no less than 67 months (five-and-a-half years) after the harvest. Only 12% of the total Frabnciacirta production is exported.
The Fratelli Berlucchi Winery is based in Borgonato. Wines are aged in twelfth-century frescoed cellars. Says oenologist Arturo Zillani: “If you want a light aperitif wine, you drink Prosecco. If you want a gift of wine, you give Champagne. If you are patient and wish to enjoy bubbles with food, you drink Franciacorta!”
Other masters of the arts of riddling, batonnage, and perlage are Stefano Camilucci’s Vini La Valle, Barone Pizzini, La Montina (the official sparkling wine of AC Milan), and Bellavista.
Mauricio Zanella’s acclaimed Ca’ del Bosco produces 1.5m bottles each year and has a berry spa where grapes are washed and dried. Winemaker Stefano Capelli got the idea from the salad industry. Edizione 43- the forty-third interpretation of their multi-vintage label- is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Nero grapes.
Franciacorta is like the Champagne of Italy. It develops a deeper, more complex flavor profile than other sparkling wines. It has notes of citrus, dried fruit, and toasty flavors of brioche and pastry. Classic food pairings would be seafood (crab, lobster, scallops) or even battered fish! However, the range of styles of Franciacorta means that it is very versatile. Tenuta Montenisa in Calino is owned by the Maggi Counts, founders of the ‘Mille Miglia’ (Million Mile), the classic car endurance race between Brescia and Rome. Perhaps the most unmistakeable Franciacorta wines are the Gatti family’s Ferghettina which are made on the foothills of the Alps overlooking lake Sebino and come in pyramid-shaped bottles.