Franciacorta, Italy’s Premium Sparkling Wine

What and Where is Franciacorta?

Franciacorta is a sparkling wine from the Province of Brescia, Northern Italy with DOCG status. It was first referenced as Franzacurta in the Eighth Book of Brescia in 1277. Guido Berlucchi produced the first Franciacorta in 1961, and during 1995 the sparkling wines of Franciacorta were awarded DOCG status. This tells you that Franciacorta has some history but it’s is a very young wine appellation and it has some serious merit.

Franciacorta’s layered geological formations boast complex microclimates. The wines are defined by both a sub-Alpine and Mediterranean-type climate due to the proximity of Lake Iseo. 

The wines are produced using the Méthode Champenoise, or ‘Traditional Method’, in which the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, using a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco grapes This gives the wine more yeast contact, and results in a drier wine with biscuit and brioche notes creating a long finish.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful wine region and here is an overview.

I visited Ca’ del Bosco and was fortunate to see the harvest and quality control taking place.

Founded in 1969, is an icon of Italy’s Franciacorta region. The winery’s state-of-the-art cellar, unique in Franciacorta, has allowed the winemaking team to produce the best wines possible and with the highest quality. Their wines have collectively earned 41 “Tre Bicchieri” awards by Italy’s Gambero Rosso, since 1998, the second-highest awarded winery in history by the publication.

Here is my video of what we saw on our tour.

Wines Tasted:

Vintage Collection Saten
Tasting Notes: silky smooth, soft, and well-rounded

Cuvee Prestige
Tasting Notes:  a well-balanced wine, fresh and crisp

Vintage Collection Brut
Tasting Notes: structured, full-bodied, intense and persistent.  

Other Wines In The Region

On my second day, I visited the co-op of  Cantine La Pergola. This winery is certified organic and uses a small percentage of sulfite.

Founded in 1979, Cantine La Pergola is made up of 45 members, 30 of which confer grapes, and control 80 hectares of vineyards, 90% of which are organic: with the annual production reaching 300,000 bottles (50% certified organic).

Wines Tasted:

VALTÈNESI DOC CHIARETTO – SELENE (2016)
Note: This wine is known as the “wine of the first night” because it is literally produced in one night.

Tasting Notes: beautiful floral notes; well balanced; light elegant wine

La Pergola Lugana
Tasting Notes: soft floral notes, excellent balance some hints of jasmine

La Pergola – Eos (2012)
Note: autochthonous grape varietal Groppello (cultivated 1300) with small percentages of Marzemino, Barbera and Sangiovese.

Tasting Notes:  bright ruby red; aroma and taste recall spices, herbaceous notes, and minerals and persistent almond aftertaste

La Pergola – Brol (2010)
Notes: Aged 18 month in second-hand oak barrels; limited production (5000
liters per year)
Tasting Notes: Red fruits with some spice notes; high acidity

In addition to producing delicious local wines, Cantine La Pergola also produces olive oil and organizes bike tours.

 Azienda Agricola Ricci Curbastro. This winery is quite historical with a history of 17 generations. The owner, Mr Cubastro introduced me to the soon-to-be 18th generation, his eldest son.

The most impressive aspect of this vineyard is that it is one of the few family-owned in the region. I also toured their museum which incorporated historic winemaking tools. Cubastro winery owns 32 hectares of vineyards and has created solar energy panels that help run and maintain the winery. The next step for this winery is to convert all of their production to organic.

 

 

 

Wines Tasted:

Franciacorta Brut
Note: blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Nero
Tasting Notes: Light, easy to drink, hints of floral notes

Franciacorta Rose Brut
Note: This salmon pink wine is perfect for the nice warm summer day
Tasting Notes: Light; refreshing, hints of floral note

Sebino IGT Bianco ZeroNote: No preservatives or chemical treatment
Tasting Notes: Nice minerality and freshness; good balance

I also visited Azienda Barone Pizzini, the first organic winery in the Franciacorta region. Silvano Brescianini, General Manager and Vice President of the Consortium provided us with a tour and details about the winery.

We started our session watching a video about the historical aspect of the winery. The video can be viewed here. The most impressive aspect of this winery is how organized it is and how the facilities are arranged. Is it no surprise that this winery is a Biodiversity award winner! They produce 70-80 different types of wines.  

 

 

Wines Tasted:

Golf 1927 Franciacorta Docg
Tasting Notes:  Nice mineral and floral notes with delicate notes of honey; elegant,
creamy and fresh – well-balanced

 Satèn Franciacorta DOCG Edition 2014
Note: name familiar to the word “silk”
Tasting Notes: Some nice citrus notes, with pressing minerality

Rosé Franciacorta DOCG 2013 Edition
Tasting Notes: Pinot Noir is transformed into hints of rose petals in the glass; The structure and balance of this wine are interwoven in a lingering tension between its rich flavor and acidity.

I had lunch at Agriturismo Corte Lantieri with a menu dedicated to Franciacorta Festival and the area’s traditional food.

Thereafter I went to Azienda Guido Berlucchi , a beautiful medieval-looking vineyard. Berlucchi has been producing certified organic wine since 2016. It took the winery about four years to fully convert to organic wine. And today, it is known as the largest producer of wine in the region I was happy to learn that the sparkling Berlucchi 61 Brut Franciacorta wine that I tried can be found at LCBO / Vintages (Ontario, Canada). 

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/berlucchi-61-brut-franciacorta/514323#.WsK1ErYrIWo

VINTAGES#: 514323 

Wines Tasted:

Palazzo Lana Saten (2008)
Tasting Notes: refined notes of apple and pear, with an appealing acidity and firm structure, along with delicious, crisp notes of fruit.

Berlucchi ‘61 Brut
Tasting Notes: fragrant notes, crisp with hints of apple and pear and citrus, with a long finish

Berlucchi ‘61 Saten
Note: 100% Chardonnay
Tasting Notes: hints of citrus fruit, some tangy acidity, full and firm structure

The last winery I visited was Azienda Agricola Mosnel which was located in the open and fresh area of Franciacorta where the grapes are exposed to a lot of breezes coming off of the alps. The grapes will ripen a week earlier here than other areas. In this vineyard, 20% pinot blanc is harvest more than other regions and wineries due to climate region.

If you are ever in the Franciacorta region, visit the vineyards mentioned and also check out the Franciacorta Festival September 2018.

Shadi Yazdan and Liz Palmer

 

 

 

2014 Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon “Vintner’s Reserve”

“This lush, round and rich vintage is back by popular demand!”

Vintage: 2014

Varietal: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Merlot & 1% Malbec

Bottle size: 750 ml

Region: Sonoma County

State or country: CA/USA

Price: $27.95 [Canadian]

Available: In Ontario, Vintages # 331603

Review date: March 17, 2018

Review:

This dark ruby wine has aromas of lush black cherry and cassis with some vanilla and dried herb notes; on the palate, there is a nice balance with soft tannins with some hints of mocha following through on a long finish.

Score: 89

 

About Kendall-Jackson

Kendall-Jackson is one of America’s well known and loved family-owned and operated wineries. Along with their children, Kendall-Jackson is based in Sonoma County and offers a range of acclaimed wines grown on the family’s estate vineyards along the coastal ridges of California. A leader in sustainable vineyard and winery practices, including water and energy conservation and natural pest control, 100 percent of Kendall-Jackson’s vineyards in California are third-party certified by SIP (Sustainable in Practice) and CCSW (Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing). Kendall-Jackson was recently named 2017 winery of the year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, recognized as a benchmark in the California wine industry. Learn more online at www.kj.com, and follow Kendall-Jackson on social at Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Champagne Review Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Brut Rosé Champagne


 

 

 

 

Varietal:     100% Pinot Noir
Region:      Champagne
Producer:   Laurent-Perrier Group
Style:         Rich and Complex
Alcohol:     12%

The maceration on the skins for three days provides this glorious pink color with tinges of orange; displays aromas of raspberry, red currant, cherry and citrus; on the palate – intense fruit flavors, fresh; it opens up providing an impression of plunging into a basket of freshly picked strawberries, Morello cherries and raspberries; beautifully rounded and long finish – it’s truly a gastronomic Champagne!

Notes:

  • Vintage Number: 158550
  • Ten-grands curs villages
  • Saigneé Method
  • The #1-selling rosé Champagne in the world

 

Food Pairing: 

I recommend a rack of lamb, pork, salmon, tuna, shellfish, mild and soft cheese, and dark chocolate

Rating: 93 Points

Wine Review: La Crema Sonoma Coast 2015 Pinot Noir 

 

Varietal:        Pinot Noir (100%?
Region:          Sonoma Coast
Producer:      La Crema Winery
Alcohol:         13.9%

This wine exhibits a deep ruby color with promising aromas of red cherry, blackberry and red pepper with some hints of spice; in the mouth, it offers multi-layers flavors of berries, plums, cherries with hints of blood orange and exotic spice; nicely focused finish.


Suggested Food Pairing

Beef, Veal, Game, Poultry

liz-palmer.com – October 1, 2017
Rating:  91points

Notes
Vintages#: 719435

Champagne Review: J. de Telmont Grand Rose Brut

J. de Telmont

This Champagne is produced in Damery in the Marne Valley by J. de Telmont, one of the last Champagne houses to be family-owned and operated.

Currently the House is headed by Bertrand Lhopital. With his sister Pascale, and his brother-in-law Philippe, the fourth Lhopital generation is working to keep J. de Telmont’s rank among the 20th most important Champagne Houses in France.

Grape Varieties

85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier

Alcohol

12%

Tasting Notes:

Raspberry pink hue with some light salmon reflections; long-lasting mousse with fine bubbles. The initial nose reveals citrus notes of grapefruit and lemon; on the initial swirl strawberry, raspberry notes emerge; in the mouth exceptional balance and finesse; long finish with hints of cherry.

Aging Potential

3+ years

Gastronomic suggestions

Aperitif, light entry of fish or crustaceans, light cheeses, desserts with red fruits
Score
90/100