Franciacorta: six top producers to know
Six Franciacorta producers to know and the wines to buy...
In association with Consorzio Franciacorta
Franciacorta is in the heart of Lombardy, bordering Lake Iseo and just a short distance from Milan. The region spans roughly 200 sq km and includes 19 municipalities in the province of Brescia.
The history of Franciacorta has been strongly influenced by the presence of monastic orders, who were responsible for the introduction of grapevines.
Franciacorta is also a great place for nature lovers, with its dense forests, olive groves, parks and beautiful landscapes, including the Ome Botanical Gardens and the Monticelli Brusati Waterfalls.
The softly rounded hills, bounded to the west by the Oglio river and to the northeast by the farthest reaches of the Rhaetian Alps, owe their ancient origins to glaciers which, over 10,000 years ago, formed the amphitheatre in which Franciacorta is nestled.
The glacial origin of the region gives the soil a rich mineral content that, together with the microclimate, determines the key factors for high quality viticulture. In fact, more than 70% of Franciacorta’s vineyards are certified organic – a trend that continues to grow.
Franciacorta is made using Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco grapes, with the latter permitted up to 50%. Erbamat, an old white grape variety, indigenous to the province of Brescia, is also permitted up to 10% for all styles except Satèn.
The key styles are Franciacorta, Franciacorta Satèn, Franciacorta Rosé, Franciacorta Vintage and Franciacorta Riserva. The wines come in a range of styles, from dosaggio zero to demi sec.
Production is characterised by the use of noble vines, hand-picked grapes, natural secondary fermentation in the bottle and subsequent slow maturation and ageing on the lees.
Franciacorta at a glance
DOCG since 1995
DOCG area under vine: 2,902ha
DOCG planting: 81% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Nero, 3% Pinot Bianco and 1% Erbamat
Total Franciacorta DO under vine: 3,299ha