Nothing says festive like a bottle of sparkling wine. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Festivus, or any other holiday, we all love to ring in the new year with a sparkling libation. This year, why not try Franciacorta?
So named for the proximity of the region to Champagne’s home country of France, Franciacorta offers elegance, style, and affordability from Italy’s Lombardy region.
Sparking wines are made all over the world. From the world famous Champagne region in France, to surprising sparkling Shiraz from Australia, there are delicious options everywhere. But none of my favorite classic sparklers comes from Italy. No, it’s not Prosecco, or even Asti Spumante, but rather something that is made in the Methode Classico (or champagnoise), from the Lombardy region in the north: Franciacorta.
I have been fortunate to experience the many colors and flavors of Franaciacorta with Franciacorta USA’s partnership with Balzac Communications.
We have been treated to an annual tasting of several different examples of this iconic Italian bubbly; recently, I was able to attend an informal and delicious tasting of three very special wines at A16 in San Francisco.
Frst up, one of my favorite producers from previous tastings, the Contadi Castalidi Franciacorta Brut Rosé NV, which is a blend of 35% Pinot Noir and 65% Chardonnay. This budget friendly pink is a great example of why you should pay attention to this region. With light fruity flavors, brioche notes, and velvety plum notes, you will love the holiday wallet friend price point of under $25.
The next selection was a gorgeous 2012 Le Marchesine Saten, which in the DOGCG of Franciacorta, must be a Blanc de Blanc from Chardonnay and or Pinot Bianco (Blanc). Slightly more expensive than the the other two at $30, it’s still a very friendly price point for sparkling of this quality. With spicy white flowers and bright notes of citrus layered over fresh cream, this is the perfect mid point in this lovely trio of wines.
Finally, the all-star of the evening was the Biondelli Franciacorta Brut, an elegant 100% Chardonnay start hat is bottled aged no less than 2 years. Officially certified organic since 2014, the 8 hectare vineyard is hand harvested and gently pressed and fermented in stainless steel barrels. The gorgeous floral notes of this sexy sipper give way to peach blossom, toasted almonds, hazelnuts, and just a hint of citrus. This is my top pick and even at an average price of $20 (if you can find it) you should be buying it by the case.
Franciacorta is not the poor man’s Champange, but rather a rival sparkling wine and a step above Prosecco.
Despite the user friendly price points on many of these fine wines, the quality and flavor profiles are world class. Franciacorta wines are widely available at better wine shops as well as online. Experiment, try a few, and enjoy this holiday season!
Special thanks to Franciacorta USA for sharing these delights!