In the heart of Lombardy, between the shores of Lake Iseo and the wooded hills, lies one of the most prestigious wine regions in Italy: Franciacorta. This land, blessed with a mild climate and fertile soils, is the cradle of some of the best Italian sparkling wines, produced through a method that reflects tradition and excellence. But what makes Franciacorta wines so special?
The history of Franciacorta is a mix of tradition and innovation. Originally known for the production of still wines, the region underwent a radical transformation in the 1960s, when a group of visionary producers began experimenting with the production of sparkling wines. Franciacorta was recognized as a DOC in 1967, and subsequently promoted to DOCG in 1995, becoming the first Italian DOCG exclusively for sparkling wines. This recognition marked a turning point, elevating Franciacorta to an international level and making it synonymous with quality and refinement.
The magic of Franciacorta is also the result of its unique terroir. The soils are a mixture of clay, sand and limestone, providing ideal conditions for growing grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. The influence of the nearby Lake Iseo creates a microclimate that mitigates temperatures and favors a balanced ripening of the grapes. This natural environment, combined with sustainable cultivation methods, helps create wines of extraordinary complexity and elegance.
Production Method and Vines
Franciacorta is produced using the "Franciacorta Method", a rigorous process that requires a second fermentation in the bottle and a period of aging on the yeasts that can vary from 18 to 60 months. This method, similar to the Champenoise Method used in Champagne, is what gives Franciacorta wines their delicate effervescence and complex flavors. The predominant grape varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc, each contributing unique characteristics to the final blend. While Chardonnay brings elegance and acidity, Pinot Noir adds structure and depth, and Pinot Blanc offers freshness and aroma.
Ricci Curbastro: An Example of Sustainability
In the panorama of Franciacorta, the Ricci Curbastro winery stands out for its commitment to sustainability. Certified as a "Sustainable Winery" according to the Equalitas standard, Ricci Curbastro is a clear example of how innovation and environmental responsibility can go hand in hand with the production of high quality wines. With a history dating back to the 19th century, this winery has been able to combine tradition and modernity, becoming a point of reference not only for Franciacorta but for the entire Italian wine sector.
But what are the types of Franciacorta that you should absolutely try? Here is a short guide to help you discover 5 fantastic Franciacortas, carefully selected by us, to let you experience the different expressions of this extraordinary DOCG. Each bottle is a journey through the terroir, tradition and innovation that make Franciacorta one of a kind. Absolutely not to be missed!
The Non-Vintage (NV) Brut is perhaps the most versatile of the Franciacortas. Produced primarily from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, this wine offers a perfect balance between acidity and sweetness, making it ideal for a wide variety of food pairings.
With a straw color and a bouquet of apple, almond and lemon, this Franciacorta offers a clean and fresh olfactory experience. On the palate, it stands out for its medium structure and notes of lime and salinity, making it extremely drinkable. It is a versatile wine that pairs well with aperitifs and freshwater fish, ideal for any occasion.
Saten is an exclusively Brut version of Franciacorta, characterized by a lower pressure which gives a more silky and enveloping effervescence. It is an elegant wine, often produced only from Chardonnay grapes, perfect for special occasions.
Franciacorta Satèn Brut by Ricci Curbastro is an award-winning wine, made entirely from Chardonnay grapes. After fermentation in oak barrels and maturation in the bottle for at least 40 months, the wine stands out for its complex and refined bouquet. With a straw yellow color and fruity, spicy and yeasty notes, it offers an elegant and well-structured tasting experience. Its light acidity makes it extremely versatile, ideal for accompanying aperitifs, cheeses, fish and white meats.
Nature or Zero Dosage
For lovers of purity and minerality, Franciacorta Nature or Dosaggio Zero is the right choice. Without the addition of sugar in the dosage, this wine best expresses the terroir from which it comes, offering a drier and more complex taste profile.
Franciacorta Natura - I Barisèi is a complex and elegant wine, made mainly from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It has a brilliant golden color and a rich bouquet of ripe fruit and white flowers, enriched by notes of bread crust and noble yeasts. In the mouth it is well balanced, with a defined minerality and a pleasant acidity. This wine is versatile and is suitable for both immediate consumption and long-term aging. It is the perfect match for fish-based starters, white meats and fried foods.
Franciacorta Rosè is a sparkling wine that enchants with its pink tones and its aromas of red fruits. Produced mainly from Pinot Noir, it offers a more robust structure and light tannins, making it perfect for pairing with white meats and fish.
Franciacorta Rosè Brut - Ricci Curbastro
Ricci Curbastro's Franciacorta Rosé Brut is an elegant and refined wine, composed of a mix of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. It comes from selected vineyards in Capriolo and Iseo and matures for at least 36 months after a double fermentation. It stands out for its salmon pink color and a bouquet rich in berries, herbs and flowers. On the palate, it is a wine with character, balanced between freshness and body. It is an extremely versatile wine in pairings, ideal for a wide range of dishes, from fish to meat and cheese but is also excellent with ethnic cuisine.
Finally, for those seeking excellence and complexity, the Riserva category represents the top of Franciacorta production. With an aging period that can exceed 60 months, these wines show a depth and complexity of flavors that make them true wine jewels.
Franciacorta Riserva Francesco Battista I Barisei is a high-class sparkling wine, made mainly from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes aged on yeasts for over 90 months. With its bright golden color and a complex bouquet mixing ripe fruit, white flowers and bready notes, it is an elegant and well-balanced wine. Its structure is remarkable, with a well-defined minerality and a pleasant acidity that enhances its freshness. It is a versatile wine that pairs beautifully with fish-based starters, white meats and mature cheeses. Ideal for special occasions, it represents the excellence of the Franciacorta wine scene.