Today’s post is about another Lombard city under siege, Brescia. Many people have not visited Brescia but know it for the great wines it produces, Franciacorta. Franciacorta became a DOC wine in 1967 but the Consorzio was created in 1990 by 29 producers. It became a DOCG in 1995. Today they have 200 producers and three denominations, Franciacorta DOCG, Curtefranca DOC, and Sebino IGT. 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 good 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. So many wonderful producers to mention here but I will just link to posts that I have written in the past about the area.
Brescia is a city that is surprisingly interesting and rich in art, culture. As Lombardy’s second largest city after Milan, it is often thought of as a small industrial town in Northern Italy, perhaps worth a few hours to see the Duomo, have lunch and then continue on its more well known neighboring cities. On closer inspection however, Brescia reveals it exciting and varied history as well as numerous treasures. Brescia is known throughout Italy for its steel industry and precision instruments. The city is quite well to do and this wealth and prosperity is clearly evident in the high quality shops, stores and restaurants. These last are even more expensive than those of its larger neighbor, Milan. An itinerary through the city can be created around various themes such as Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and 17th century architecture. The city can be well navigated on foot from the central station, by bus, car or on bikes. Like Bergamo, Brescia is a great side trip if you are in Milan and one to consider when this is firmly in the past. As you might have guessed, I wrote a long travel article on Brescia for a magazine some years ago. I have spent less time in Brescia than in Bergamo but have drunk loads of Franciacorta through the years and therefore feel linked to the area in profound ways. I received my Italian Sommelier Certificate at Guido Berlucchi winery in 2004, one of the highlights of my wine life.