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  • Writer's picturePatricia Novo

A Courtship with Franciacorta

It's New Year's Eve. For many of you, this is one of the few evenings that you indulge in the bubbles. And, why not? Bubbles are fun...bubbles are festive...bubbles make you giggle. What's not to love about that? You already know what Champagne is...Prosecco? Been there...guzzled that.

I am here to introduce you to a sparkler that you may not be familiar with...and to tell you why you should seek it out. Friends? Meet Franciacorta (Fran-chee-ahh-cort-ahh). Franciacorta? Meet my friends. They will soon learn to love you as I do.

Hailing from the Lombardy region of Northern Italy, Franciacorta is one of Italy's best kept secrets. I hope to change that.

Franciacorta has all the elegant effervescence of Champagne and Cava, and is, in fact, made in the classic or traditional method, just as Champagne and Cava are. That is, the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. And, like Champagne, Franciacorta is limited to a very specific geographic location. Franciacorta is tiny when compared to Champagne, with only approximately 5,400 vineyard acres. Champagne, by comparison, boasts a mighty 80,000. And, Franciacorta exports also pale in comparison to The Mighty Queen. But, the pride in terroir and winemaking philosophies held by the best producers of Franciacorta take a back seat to no one.

Franciacorta experiences great diurnal temperature changes...which grapes LOVE. This helps to maintaion the critical balance between the ripeness level of the grapes and the acidity level in them. Franciacorta is mainly planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir), and Pinot Bianco varieties and it is these grapes, in varying degrees, that make up Franciacorta. The greatest plantings are to Chardonnay and, indeed, just like Champagne, some of the finest Franciacortas are "Blanc de Blancs", or white from whites, and are crafted entirely from white grapes. Some are 100% Chardonnay and some are also crafted in the "pink", containing at least 15% Pinot Nero in the cuvée. Champagne...Franciacorta has varying sweetness levels, depending on the dosage.

What the best Franciacortas don't typically have? The astronomical prices. No, they aren't "cheap", but when compared to the top Champagnes, they are a delicious, bubbly bargain. Our wine list will feature several of these gems...I hope you learn to love them as much as I do. Cheers to 2018!

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