Franciacorta – Italy’s Best Kept Secret

Most sparkling wine lovers know the merits of Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco, but Franciacorta just might be Italy’s best kept secret.

Both a geographical region and a wine itself, Franciacorta is made up of just over 100 producers that only span 5400 acres of vineyards, and produces some of the finest Italian sparkling wines.

Copyright © 2017 – Consorzio per la tutela del Franciacorta
Film by Massimo Zanichelli, Watch the full length film

Distinctly Terroir Driven

franciacorta ronco calino vineyardsPhoto Courtesy of Ronco Calino

Prosecco is certainly Italy’s more widespread sparkling wine, but Franciacorta is actually more similar to Champagne & Cava. Franciacorta is made using the méthode Champenoise, like Champagne, giving it an elegant effervescence and producing a drier and more yeasty wine than the Charmat method used to make Prosecco. It also uses the same grapes traditionally used in Champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir, where Prosecco mainly uses Glera.

But, Franciacorta still has its own Italian identity separate from Champagne that is distinctly terroir driven. It is a warmer region than the Champagne region, resulting in riper and fuller grapes. This gives its wines a bit more fruity flavor than Champagne, with a little less minerality than is normally found in its French counterpart. Franciacorta wines are hand harvested and fermented in wooden casks, and then undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle in line with the méthode Champenoise. Even the lowest tier spends a minimum of 18 months on the lees and cannot be released until 25 months after harvest, a stricter process than even Champagne.  These delicious sparkling wines aren’t just for celebrations either; they’re for everyday consumption and enjoying with food.

A region of wine and gastronomy

franciacorta villagePhoto courtesy of www.francaicorta.net

The idyllic region of Franciacorta is as notable as the wines it produces.  It is a pastoral, picturesque region bordered by the Oglio river featuring exquisite vineyards, wineries, castles, bike paths and walking trails. Franciacorta has much to offer in terms of gastronomy as well; its surrounding franciacortatowns bustle with Michelin-starred restaurants, and it’s also one of the largest producers of caviar in the world. It is a tight-knit community of winemakers that all boast small production and estate-grown fruit. Maurizio Zanella, president of the Consortzio per la Tutela del Franciacorta, says, “In just 50 years we have reached a standard of quality that no one else in the world has been able to achieve.” The winemakers focus on quality over yield, and only 11% of Franciacorta’s production is exported.

 

Franciacorta in America

franciacorta ronco calino winePhoto Courtesy of Ronco Calino

Here at Kindred Vines, we are lucky enough to contribute to that 11%. We import three beautiful Franciacorta wines from a remarkable producer, Ronco Calino. It all started in 1996, when Paolo Radici came across an unexpected opportunity. “In the very beginning,” Radici says, “I just meant to produce a ‘good family wine’, then my passion got the better of me.” Ronco Calino’s philosophy is characterized by an ongoing strive for excellence, and the result is apparent in the bottle. Ronco Calino’s wines are striking for their aromatic complexity and subtle elegance. They reflect the drive of a man who produces extraordinary wines while respecting the land, the vineyard, and the most demanding wine-taster.

Lara Radici, co-owner of Ronco Calino, is in town for just one day this week, so to celebrate her presence here and showcase Ronco Calino’s amazing wines, there will be a trade-only seminar at The Conserva in Ferndale, Michigan on March 9, 2017 from 11:30-1:00. The Conserva ranked number 9 on Detroit Free Press’ Best New Restaurants of 2017. Chef Matthew Baldrige and bar director Jarrod Kassis specialize in creative New American cuisine, amazing cocktails, and a growing wine program.  Come experience Franciacorta firsthand with the co-owner of Ronco Calino!

Learn more about these wines here:

Rosé Radijan
Satèn
Brut

 


Written by

Emily Jane Coffman
Emily is the Marketing & Sales Support Manager of Kindred Vines Import Co, and loves all things wine, food, and travel. At any given point you can find her with a glass of wine in her hand and her nose stuck in a book.

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