Today is an Italian national holiday known as la Festa della Repubblica. It celebrates theday in 1946 when Italians voted to become a republic. In Italy, most people go on holiday for a long weekend, affectionately known as il ponte or the bridge. Most take tomorrow off to make it a four
day affair. Today is a day to toast and raise a glass to il Bel Paese. I like to toast with bubbly and that brings me to an area in Lombardy that has been much discussed of late, even in the US, Franciacorta. Franciacorta became a DOC wine in 1967 but the Consorzio was created in 1990 by 29 producers. It became a DOCG in 1995. These wonderful sparklers are made in the traditional method, secondary fermentation in the bottle, with three grape varieties permitted: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco
The soils in Franciacorta are rich in sand and limestone, and are known for their drainage. The area is located on what was a moraine that formed as a glacier withdrew many centuries ago. As in many areas of this type of geological origin, numerous minerals, stones and rocks were left to create rich soils where the vine can flourish. The soils in Franciacorta vary with the zones but overall they have these characteristics.The area is also attentive to sustainability issues and to being carbon neutral. I know a number of producers in the area who strive to be carbon zero. The Italians are smart and are drinking 90% of it themselves. So many wonderful producers to mention here but I think I will mention just one Berlucchi.
Berlucchi is really classic Franciacorta, infact, in Italy at most bars they ask you if you want Berlucchi for Franciacorta and Ferrari for Trento DOC rather than saying the names of the type of wine they mention these specific wineries. Somewhat like saying kleenex in terms of brands. I first visited the Berlucchi winery when I received my diploma from the Associazione Italiana Sommelier. It was very exciting.
I love all of their wines and recently had the Cellarius. I had the opportunity to meet Cristina Zilani from the founding family last year. She was a very rigorous and exciting woman. Very committed to promoting Franciacorta throughout the world. I have always been a Franciacorta fan and for years have wished to see more brands on the market. Let’s hope this is the year when this wonderful Italian sparkling wine graces most tables. Cin-Cin.