Prosecco dominates the conversation when it comes to Italian sparkling wine. But if you’re looking for more complexity, check out Franciacorta. Located in Lombardy, its northernly location puts it in the vicinity of Veneto (home of the aforementioned Prosecco), and Trento, where you’ll find landmark producer Ferrari. (Listen to my podcast with Ferrari’s US Ambassador, Jamie Stewart.)
I was recently sent four bottles of sparkling wine from Franciacorta to sample. The lineup:
- Contadi Castalida Brut ($23)
- Antica Fratta “Essence” Rosé 2009 ($35)
- Monte Rossa Cabochon ($55)
- Fratelli Berlucchi Azienda Agricola Brut 25 ($NA)
The common thread running through all of these wines can be summed up in one word: richness. These are some seriously hefty sparkling wines. In a good way, not in an excess baggage kind of way. The nice thing about wines with this much power is that their sparkling nature counterbalances that brawn.
My two favorites were the Fratelli Berlucchi (a blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Bianco) and the very serious Antica Fratta rosé (a Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend). The former reminded me of a very fine and substantial Chardonnay from Burgundy: weighty, attention-grabbing, lingering. (Note: a wine-searcher.com query for the Fratelli Berlucchi came up empty. Guessing that’s why the price is not available. Maybe Wine Yelp [Welp?] it and start a five-star movement to get it to the fair shores of America.)
Franciacorta helps paint a complete picture of the rich sparkling wine scene in Northern Italy. It deserves a place at not just your New Year’s Eve celebration, but also at your Tuesday dinner table.
Speaking of the end of the year, thank YOU for reading my blog in 2014. After ten-plus (!) years, I still love doing it. –Jameson
Image courtesy Franciacorta USA Facebook page.