Franciacorta Anyone?

By: JoAnn DeGaglia

Franciacorta is clearly Italy's answer to Champagne. A high-quality sparkling wine made in the Méthode Champenoise from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (with limited amounts of Pinot Blanc), it rivals and in some cases surpasses some of Champagnes best with its complexity and finesse. Franciacorta is a relatively small wine region that encompasses about 48,000 acres with the actual vineyard areas about 4600 . Geologically the zone was once a huge glacier which descended upon the Val Camonica, depositing a large quantity of minerals atop morainic and bobani soils (red mixture of clay and silt). Climactically, it is much milder in the winter than most sub-alpine zones. Franciacorta's sparkling wines were promoted to DOCG status (the highest level of Italian wine classification) in 1995. This was largely the result of hard work and lobbying by the local consortium for lower yields, gentler grape-pressing techniques all in the name of increasing quality. All Franciacorta wine is bottle-aged on its lees, to increase its complexity and flavor integration. The ageing period is 18 months for the non-vintage wines, 24 months for the rosé and satèn, 30 months for the vintage-marked millesimato and an impressive 60 months for the riserva wines. I remember the first time I tasted a Franciacorta by Ca” del bosco “Cuvée Annamaria Clementi” I was stunned that it wasn’t Champagne and it came from Lombardy. The wine had haunting aromas of crusty bread, toast, cream, orange zest and a silky palate, bright acidity and a long finish. I had fallen in love. The only problem is finding these beautiful sparkling wines. Bellavista, Berlucci, Monte Rossa and Ca del bosco. As your shopping for wine and happen to find a Franciacorta pick one up and try it. You won’t be disappointed.

About The Author

JoAnn is a Certified Specialist of Wine as well as a Certified Adv. Sommelier earning both an American and Italian Wine Specialist Degree from the North American Sommelier Assn with honors. She is a popular Wine Educator and Associate Instructor at the Westchester Wine School in New York and the North American Sommelier Assn. in Los Angeles. Earning her Wine Judge Certification from the American Wine Society she has judged at numerous competitions.

Visit JoAnn DeGaglia's web site