Stylish, Italian Franciacorta

Stylish, Italian Franciacorta: If you were asked ‘What’s the best known sparkling wine in Italy?’ Franciacorta may not yet be the first name to spring to mind. The region in north Italy, near Milan, is a relatively new player on the global wine scene.

As in Champagne, the UK and other high quality wine regions, the wines are made by traditional method and use the classic ‘Champagne’ grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The main categories of wine style are: Brut (dry), Saten (softer) and Riserva (aged longer) and Pas Dosé (no sugar). Rosé is very popular, with most producers making lovely, dry examples. Taste wise, the profile of Franciacorta is comparable to English Sparkling wine rather than Champagne.

Franciacorta is a great place to visit, being close to Milan and Bergamo airports. Walking and cycling are very popular, with clear routes to suit all levels. The wine tourism road is well established. See the Strada del Franciacorta website for info.

Art and wine is another strong link in the Franciacorta region. For example, boutique winery Ca del Vent has a peaceful garden where artists come each year to create sculpture to sit in the vineyard landscape. Famous artist Christo is making a floating piers installation on Lake Iseo next year (2016) – see Christo website.

As with all of Italy, wine is mainly consumed with food. Regional specialities include risotto, polenta, charcuterie and sweet almond biscuits. Franciacorta sparkling wines pair very well with food: Pas Dosé or Brut as aperitivo, Rosé with cold meats, Riserva with risottos and fish and sweet, Passito style wine with desserts and chocolate.

The visit to Franciacorta this week was organised by the Franciacorta DOCG Cosorzio for Circle of Wine Writers members – many thanks to all and to Georgina at Proven Communication for leading so excellently.

Favourite producers and wines were Ferghettina – available in the UK via importer Boutinot and Ca del Vent – available in the UK at Winemakers Club shop and bar, in Farringdon, London.