Franciacorta hails from a region bearing the same name and is Italy’s finest sparkling wine.
Located in north central Italy to the east of Milan, Franciacorta is one of just 73 Italian wine regions who hold the status of DOCG status, meaning Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita or “controlled designation of origin”.
The history of vine-growing and winemaking in Franciacorta dates back over 2,000 years, an unbroken tradition over the millennia connecting the present to the region’s ancient past. Franciacorta’s post-Roman history was definitively shaped by the monastic foundations that owned vast holdings of land in the region. However, frequent warfare between local lords and between the powerful city state of Venice and France impacted the agricultural prosperity of the region from the Middle Ages up the Napoleonic era. During these times, Franciacorta produced still wines were mostly consumed locally.
A Sparkling Renaissance
In the 1960’s Franciacorta underwent wine revolution, or renaissance, building a unique identity and transforming itself into a world renowned sparkling wine producing region. In contrast to many other famous wine regions, present wine-making practises Franciacorta’s have little connection to its past. Thus, the region was able to create for itself a fresh and modern personality without the burden of traditional techniques and historical influences .
Dedicated to producing high quality wines, Franciacorta wines must be made using the traditional method, often called the methode champenoise and must be made exclusively from Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) and Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc). This commitment to high standards earned Franciacorta its DOCG status in 1995. Nonvintage (NV) Franciacorta is not allowed to be released until 25 months after harvest, with 18 months minimum spent in contact with the lees. Vintage Franciacorta must be aged for a minimum of 30 months on the lees and Riserva Franciacorta must be aged for a minimum of 60 months on the lees.
Ca’ del Basco is one of the original sparkling wine procuders from Franciacorta who were leaders in the regions sparkling revolution. The estate began producing sparkling wines in 1979 when the young Maurizio Zanella brought in French chef de cave André Dubois. Together, the two realized a dream of creating a premium Italian sparkling wine. Today, Ca’ del Bosco offers an impressive collection of wines culminating with its Cuvée Annamaria Clementi, which ages for at least seven years on its lees before release.
Another leader in the Franciacorta renaissance, Bellavista’s first sparkling wine was released in 1984 by proprietor Vittorio Moretti. Today, the vineyards of Bellavista cover 190 hectares of organically farmed vineyards in the rolling hills of Brescia. Bellavista strives for consistency in its wines year after year with a continuous search for Italian harmony and excellence.
With an agricultural tradition dating to the 14th century, the Ricci Cubrastro Family lends its ancient heritage to Franciacorta. Their estate, Villa Evelina, is located just south of Lake Iseo in the town of Capriolo. With a farm, a vineyard, wine cellar, a wine museum, agrotourism and an antique shop, the Villa is a representation of the vast Ricci Cubrastro universe.
Learn all you need to know about Franciacorta in one minute in the following video: