Oh, the elegance of it!
A recent evening at the Rapallo Yacht Club featured the wines of Bellavista, best known for its fabulous Franciacorta. While everyone and their brother seems to know Prosecco, why is Franciacorta Italy’s best-kept bubbly secret?
What is in a name? Franciacorta is no ordinary bubbly (and of course, we are talking DOCG). It is one of the 3 types of Italian wine that needs no other qualifier: the European Union said so. Along with Asti and Marsala, Franciacorta goes by its own name. It isn’t called ‘spumante,’ just Franciacorta. Dante isn’t called ‘Alighieri’ and Leonardo isn’t called ‘Da Vinci’ (sorry, Dan Brown!)
The terroir is located in the area of Brescia, that is, Lombardy. The grapes are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc (no Pinot Meunier, like in the Champagne region!) Types are white, rosé and Satèn. The latter uses only white grapes — out, out damned Pinot Noir! — and has a silken or satiny smoothness. It’s the reduced pressure, too — less than 5 atmospheres — that makes it so velvety.
We do know that Franciacorta is made using the metodo classico which means méthode Champenoise — it is not quite the same thing as the Charmat method (metodo Martinotti in Italian), which is how they make Prosecco. Some of the big names in Franciacorta are Ca’ del Bosco and Berlucchi.
This evening, hosted by Bellavista, featured three wines: Cuvée Brut, Satèn 2009 and a 2010 Petra, a new entry. Produced in Tuscany in the area of Suvereto, this big IGT red is a cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend. Full bodied and tannic, it is certainly something one would expect of Tuscany.
But nothing can compare to Franciacorta, the true star of the evening!