Festive Bubbles from Franciacorta
Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Dec 2023
If you're looking for some festive fizz this Christmas you might like to search out a bottle of Italy's famous sparkling wine from the region known as Franciacorta.
The vineyards are sandwiched more or less between Bergamo and Brescia in the Lombardy region in the north of Italy. The area is bordered by Lake Iseo to the north and the flat Po valley to the south, and the micro climate has lent itself perfectly to the production of sparkling wines. The area had historically produced still wines until the early 1960s, when local legends Guido Berlucchi and Franco Ziliani began to experiment with a sparkling wine.
Franciacorta is protected by a DOCG which was awarded in 1995. The permitted grape varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a small amount of Pinot Bianco, and the wine is made using the traditional champagne method - with a natural second fermentation taking place in the bottle. The rules of the DOCG specify that the release date cannot be less than 25 months from the harvest, and many wineries age their more prestigious wines even longer.
The Italians themselves are great lovers of Franciacorta's sparkling wines and consume almost 90% of the annual production themselves. The small number of exports find their way mainly to the UK, Northern Europe, the USA and Japan. Interesting producers to look out for include Ca' del Bosco, Barone Pizzini, Bellavista and Ferghettina. Many producers also make the Franciacorta Satèn, which mirrors the French Blanc de Blancs and is made only with white grapes, and there are Franciacorta Rosés available too.
We visited La Romantica in 2023 which is a relatively new Franciacorta producer, although the family behind it have been producing wine in the Lugana area for generations. The wines are delicious. They can be enjoyed as an aperitif but with their perfect balance of acidity, savouriness and ripe fruit too, they are well-rounded and pair excellently with food.
So, if you're searching for some celebratory bubbles this Christmas, a bottle or two of Franciacorta comes highly recommended by the team here at Hedonistic Hiking. Salute!