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Franciacorta - a growing area, an Italian sparkling wine, a pleasure in no way inferior to champagne. Come with us to the southern shore of Lake Iseo and pop the corks.
Franciacorta foams its way to the top
It's quite remarkable that you've heard of and sought out Franciacorta. The sparkling wine from Lombardy is generally an insider's tip and not yet known to many. The reason is simple: most Franciacorta sparkling wines do not leave Italy. Whether as an aperitif, with a meal or just because - from north to south, Italians appreciate their flagship sparkling wine. More and more, Franciacorta is now causing a stir internationally, and wine gourmets and connoisseurs alike are trying to snag one of the rare bottles.
What is Franciacorta and why is everyone crazy about it?
Franciacorta is an Italian sparkling wine, which is almost identical to champagne. Only the area of cultivation and subtleties in taste differ. Otherwise, Franciacorta sparkling wine has some similarities with champagne:
first fermentation on the yeast
the second fermentation takes place in the bottle for many months
the Chardonnay and Pinot Nero/Pinot Noir grape varieties are also the same, but in Franciacorta they are complemented by Pinot Bianco, while Champagne prefers Pinot Meunier
So are Franciacorta and Champagne the same?
Not quite. Small, but all the more subtle differences open up profiles all their own. The dosage in Champagne, for example, is sweeter to balance the higher acidity. Franciacorta is fruitier.
An important difference lies in the location of the two wine-growing regions. Champagne very far north, Franciacorta south of the Alps. While in Champagne mineral chalk soils predominate, the grape varieties in Lombardy benefited from loose loamy and siliceous moraine soils of melted time glaciers. Grape varieties develop in their own way here as well as there. For Franciacorta wines, this means an expansive fruitiness not found in Champagne.
What does Franciacorta taste like?
The radiant golden yellow Franciacorta combines a variety of fruity-fresh aromas that harmonize wonderfully with the elegant perlage. Hints of orange, mango, apple, peach and grapefruit can often be detected. The exotic aromas are accompanied by yeast nuances and cinnamon, gingerbread or oriental spices.
Depending on the type of sparkling wine - brut, sec, demi-sec - a Franciacorta is dry to sweet and thus serves all tastes for a mousse and fruity sparkling wine.
Satèn, Millesimato, Riserva and Rosé
Franciacorta sparkling wines come in a wide variety of styles.
Franciacorta Satèn: The creamy of the sparkling. Satèn has a low pressure (less than 5 atm) and thus develops an incredibly soft sensation on the palate. No wonder, Satèn means silk in the local dialect. Satèn is also composed only of white grape varieties.
Franciacorta Millesimato: Vintage Franciacorta is 85% single-vineyard and ages 30 months in the bottle. Only if the grapevine is suitable and can withstand the long bottle aging, a Millesimato is created and presents specific characteristics of the year.
Franciacorta Rosé: The freshly harvested Pinot Nero grapes are macerated with the skins and remain there until the desired hue is achieved. The rosé sparkling wine appears much stronger and more structured.
Franciacorta Riserva: Only the best vintages are allowed to be vinified as Riserva. To reach its full potential and best possible quality, a Franciacorta Riserva is aged for up to 67 months. The result is a complex harmony of aromas that represents the crowning achievement of Franciacorta sparkling wines.
The addition of dosage, a mix of sugar and yeast, is simply part of bottle-fermented sparkling wines and makes Franciacorta sparkle. Depending on the amount of dosage added, the sweetness of Franciacorta will also change. So pay attention to the label, because it gives information about the residual sugar content and thus the sweetness of the sparkling wine. There are 6 acceptable dosages for Franciacorta.
Pas Dosé - the driest Franciacorta has a residual sugar content of up to 3 g/l.
Extra Brut - a very dry sparkling wine with a residual sugar content of up to 6 g/l.
Brut - a Franciacorta Brut is considered the most multi-faceted sparkling wine in the range, with its maximum residual sugar of 12 g/l.
Extra Dry - thanks to its smooth residual sugar content of 12 to 17 g/l, it is particularly recommended with all kinds of dishes.
Sec/Dry - with the residual sugar content of 17 to 31 g/l, Franciacorta Sec belongs to the sweetish end of the scale.
Demi-Sec - it becomes truly sweet with the Demi-Sec and a residual sugar content of 33 to 50 g/l - ideal as a digestif and dessert.
Franciacorta DOCG - a reflection of the land
The local winegrowers have worked hard for the Franciacorta DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). For example, they have imposed on themselves strict regulations for the production of the sparkling wine, from cultivation to the finished bottle. Ensuring that all Franciacorta sparkling wines comply with the regulations and maintain their character is the Consorzio Franciacorta, established in 1990. The association of the first Franciacorta producers has made it its goal to create a product representative of the production area, bearing the proud name of its origin.
Rules for the production of Franciacorta sparkling wine (among others)
the grape varieties are defined as Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco
the vineyards that bear the grapes for the base wine must have at least 4,500 vines per hectare
a maximum of 2 kilos of grapes per vine must be harvested
the base wine must be vinified within the boundaries of the Franciacorta wine region
the grapes must be pressed directly, without removing the stem, unless a rosé is being produced
the bottle ageing is clearly defined for each variety and is at least 18 months for the traditional Franciacorta, 24 months for Satèn, 30 months for Millesimato and 60 months for Riserva
a Franciacorta must have a golden yellow body, fruity aromas, a complex smell of fermentation in the bottle, at least 11.5% vol., at least 5.0 g/L acidity. Other subtleties are specified for the different variants.
Ancient roots but young verve
Viticulture on the hills of Franciacorta has existed since ancient times, but mousse and sparkling wine is a comparatively new specialty from the local wineries. It was not until 1961 that it was possible to create a sparkling wine according to the Metodo Classico. Large-scale production did not start until a good 10 years later. But as soon as the sparkling wines from the wineries found their way into people's glasses, an incomparable success story began. Soon Franciacorta was considered the flagship of Italian sparkling wines and belonged on the wine list of every good restaurant. And even outside Italy, people became aware of the sparkling pleasure.
Nomen est omen - Franciacorta
In the early days, sparkling wine was only a small part of the wines produced in the Franciacorta region. Numerous white wines and red wines from all kinds of grape varieties originated from the gentle hills between Milan and Verona. Regulations required that these grape varieties be identified on the label. The somewhat lengthy name Pinot di Franciacorta Brut for the sparkling wine, as well as appendages such as Spumante, were a thorn in the side of many members of the Consorzio Franciacorta. The term Spumante in particular was closely associated with other Italian products à la Prosecco, although the Consorzio wanted to clearly distance itself from these and distinguish itself independently.
With the creation of the new DOCG in 1993, a remedy was found - the sparkling wine was now simply called Franciacorta. Even additions on the label, such as Metodo Classico, were no longer necessary, since with the name Franciacorta it was clear to everyone what methods were necessary for a sparkling wine to be crowned with the euphonious name.
Order Franciacorta sparkling wine from Franciacorta
VINELLO has brought for you a few fine Franciacorta sparkling wines directly from the growing region. Taste the fabulous sparkling wine and you will soon realize why Franciacorta is conquering the world. Whether as an aperitif, with a meal or simply solo, we have the perfect sparkling treat for every occasion. Simply order your Franciacorta online and we will bring your order quickly and safely packed on the way. You can already look forward to Franciacorta, the first-class sparkling wine from the hills of Lombardy.
Things to know about Franciacorta
Is Franciacorta a Prosecco? No. Franciacorta is a sparkling wine and the highest comparable to a champagne.
What does Franciacorta taste like? Fruity, fresh and depending on the residual sugar content (brut, sec, pas dosé) sweet to dry.
Where is Franciacorta? Franciacorta is located south of Lake Iseo in Lombardy, between Milan and Verona.
Where does Franciacorta come from? Franciacorta sparkling wine originates from the Franciacorta wine region of the same name.
What does Satèn mean? Satèn means silk and in relation to Franciacorta sparkling wine refers to low carbonic acid pressure, which makes the bubbly wine very soft and smooth.
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