To make it through Vinitaly, you need a kit per la sopravivenza (life saving)…All kidding aside, Vinitaly is an intense experience with so many wines to try and so little time. This year, I am relatively well organized and start my days in Franciacorta tasting bubbly. Yesterday, I tried some new wines that really impressed me. One winery in particular was Silvana Fracchetti Moraschi. I tried two of their wines, Donna Elisabetta and their Saten. Saten is a trademark name of Franciacorta and has less pressure than a regular Franciacorta. It is kept at 5 atm or less and is creamy on the palate and softer than Franciacorta, somewhat like a Cremant from France. Both of these wines were kept on their lees for 60 months. Both were made from 100% Chardonnay. Three grapes are allowed to be used in Franciacorta, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero but 85% of the plantings are Chardonnay. The nutty wonderful aromas that emanated from the wine were very appealing. Fracchetti Moraschi is a small winery and speaking with the owners, their passion for their wines and joy at being able to participate in Vinitaly was palpable. I will upload photos later on.
I also went to a seminar on Saten lead by an interesting teacher from ONAV, one of the Italian wine institutes. We tried 5 different Saten from different wineries to see the styles used. The wines were all lemon gold and most had that delicious yeasty, bread crust note that you get with Franciacorta. The area has grown immeasurably in the last 30 years from 11 producers to about 120-130 producers. Most use stainless steel when making their wines but some are also experimenting with wood aging. I prefer the stainless steel ones in general but have had others with a touch of oak that has been pleasing if it is not overwhelming. Most Franciacorta is called Brut but they also make other styles, including Pas Dosage, Extra Brut, Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-Sec as well as Rose.
Saten is a style which I really enjoy and it can be paired with an entire meal. It is less aggressive than some of the other styles and is more similar to a still white wine. In fact, the concept was developed in order to appeal to a wider audience and to be more competitive. Italians tend to drink Franciacorta and other sparkling wines only at birthday parties, Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. Only 10,000 bottles of Franciacorta are sold while Champagne sells more than 330,000 bottles a year.
I very much liked the Saten from Antica Fratta, La Spaviere and Ca del Bosco, all well known names. Today, I am going to try a few that I don’t know.